Category: Vacation Rental


5 Steps to Implementing Hybrid Floor Plan Tours for Vacation Rental Managers

TruPlace’s new Hybrid Floor Plan Tour is quickly becoming a favorite among our clients. If you’re ready to join them, we have budgets and implementation plans for any property manager. We’ll work together to create a plan that works best for you and guide you through every step of the process. Here’s what to expect.

1. Conduct a Needs Analysis

The first step to implementing Hybrid Floor Plan Tours is to note what you need – and what you don’t. Most of our clients choose to have TruPlace take care of everything – the floor plans, the professional photography, the image management, the resizing and uploading, the hosting – everything. Or, we can use your floor plans or photos. There are a lot of options – all designed to make it easy on you and your budget. We’ll walk you through customized Do It Yourself (DIY), Do It With You (DWY), and Do It For You (DFY) full-service options. What we can do for you:

TruFusion Photography: TruPlace provides its clients with a massive network of professional property photographers and top-end camera equipment, all backed by our proprietary processing technology. This means you get premium photos with vivid colors, brighter details and a better experience for the viewer. Image size matters too, so we’ll make sure all of your images are properly formatted for your website, OTAs, and every other use. We can also help with bulk projects and train your photographer for ongoing needs.

Floor Plans: If you have existing floor plans drawn from other sources, we can use those to convert into TruPlace. We can also train your staff to measure for them, or we can schedule our professional photographers to measure the property while onsite for photos.

TruFusion 3D Spins: These 360o images are the only element of the Hybrid Floor Plan Tour that must be completed by our trained TruPlace staff. This addition is what makes the hybrid tour the best of 2D and 3D combined for the most ideal user experience (but if you prefer the signature floor plan tour, that’s an option too!)

2. Determine Your Desired ROI and Budget

Your project budget will be determined by the DIY, DWY, and DFY options mentioned above, as well as the elements you already have on hand and the number of properties receiving the tour. No matter the budget, a popular way to offset the costs is to share the costs with (or pass them on to) homeowners. (If this works best for your company, let us know. We have existing communication programs to support the strategy.)

Some property managers also spread the investment across multiple departments, such as using TruPlace visual tools as a contract signing bonus for recruiters, or implementing the tours in stages, such as focusing on luxury properties first before deploying them across other groups.

In short, we have options for every budget. And no matter what it is, your tours will deliver company-wide ROI in reservations and saved staff time. We’ll work together with you to calculate an ROI and build a plan and budget to meet your goals.

3. Scheduling to Meet Your Timeline with Convenience and Efficiency

Depending on the level of service you choose, property availability and completion goals, we’ll help you with the project timeline. We’ll work with you to plan the most efficient scheduling possible, including batching property visits and completing all tour elements in one appointment. Large projects or short time frames are not a problem, as we have trained teams who can travel to meet your needs.

4. Creation and Delivery of Hybrid Floor Plan Tours

Once photos and floor plans are completed, TruPlace will create and deliver the tours to you the next business day. You and your staff will have immediate access to a client portal to the view photos, tour links, analytics and more.

TruPlace has an API with many major property management software platforms. If your PMS is one of our partners, all photos will automatically flow to your software. If not, we are happy to discuss this possibility with your PMS.

5. Maximizing Your Tours

TruPlace and your dedicated client advocate will work together with your website company to integrate your Hybrid Floor Plan Tours with your website to maximize their exposure and benefits. We have partnerships with most VR website companies with existing bests practices already in place.

We will also provide training and resources for you to leverage the full benefit of the tours across social media, guest planning emails, and owner acquisition and retention, not to mention other industry partner uses such as Key Data Dashboard and inspection software. Through this process and beyond, your client advocate will periodically review analytics, upgrades and feedback.

 

To get started with our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tours, email our Team at Solutions@TruPlace.com or give us a call at 301-972-3201


Why Floor Plan Tours Are No Longer Optional

Our guests appreciate the rich experience the TruPlace interactive floor plans and photos provide. Even more exciting, our reservation agents love that they are spending less time on calls describing the layout of the property, which frees them up to take more calls and book more reservations.

– Russell Whitt, Pinnacle Lodging

Property managers book more nights faster and at higher rates

We couldn’t be more proud to hear about experiences like Pinnacle Lodging’s. For them and more than 300 other property managers, delivering ROI multiple times over is what drives the TruPlace team every day for all of our visual marketing tools. In fact, a 2014 study we conducted with VRM Intel found that property managers with our flagship visuals filled 18% more nights, booked 22 days faster, and earned 55% higher rates.

In the years since, competition in the vacation rental industry has only grown fiercer, compressing margins to razor-thin levels. The ability to fill more nights faster and generate higher rates is no longer optional; Today, it can make or break your business.

This ever-critical need has kept TruPlace sharply focused on creating what works, which means delivering what your guests want and need. “It seems the industry is changing so much and yet some very basic principles remain the same,” said Suzi Cusack, TruPlace’s founder and president. “The guest/consumer behavior still drives the decisions we should be making today.”

Guests want speed, ease, and accuracy

Our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tour is a direct result of guest behavior changes in recent years along with the rise of virtual tours. Virtual tours are undoubtedly eye-catching, so we’ve made sure ours are of top image quality, ease of use, and value to our clients. Still, we have found ourselves asking Is it absolutely necessary for guests to have to walk through a house, click by click, to find the answers to their critical questions? Do they need a 360o look at a hallway or laundry room? Time (and the end-user) will tell whether virtual tours become essential in vacation rental marketing.

For now, what we have found is that guests want a quick, easy, appealing, and accurate way to explore a property. This makes sense when guests are looking at an average of 19 properties before making a choice, as Phocuswright found. With that in mind, our new Hybrid Floor Plan tour combines the convenience and ease of 2D with the engaging immersion of 3D. Our signature smart-touch layout tool with beautiful photos guests love now has added TruFusion 3D spins in the rooms where 360o matters most, like kitchens and backyards. This saves property managers the cost of a full virtual tour while still giving guests the quick, quality inside look they want.

As VRMs know, guests often need to understand a property’s layout before they have the confidence to book it. Many call in to ask these very questions of reservation agents. But by providing this information in an online listing with the right balance of convenience and detail, floor plan tours can save your agents an average of 8 minutes per pre-booking call.

For a deep dive into how our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tours can generate return company-wide, read last week’s article 4 Surprising Ways Hybrid Floor Plan Tours Streamline Operations >

Homeowners want to know you’re invested in their success

Property managers can also see a return in their inventory growth and retention when they invest strategically in powerful listing visuals. Homeowners want to know you’re committed to their property’s success and providing their listing with a Hybrid Floor Plan Tour demonstrates exactly that. Often of equal or greater importance, homeowners want to know their property is well taken care of. As we outline in the operations article, field staff including maintenance technicians and housekeepers use these visuals as training manuals, staging guides, item catalogs, and other tools that make it easier, faster, and more cost-effective to handle everything vacation rental guests throw a property’s way.

Hybrid Floor Plan Tours start at just $328, not including volume discounts for property managers. Contact us today for a custom quote.

 

 


4 Surprising Ways Hybrid Floor Plan Tours Streamline Operations

When TruPlace set out 16 years ago to create a floor plan tool, our focus was on guest use and marketing. It didn’t take long for our vacation rental manager clients to share with us additional ways they were using our signature product in their internal operations. These added benefits have since become a valued part of our product development in today’s vacation rental climate of ever-shrinking margins where every operational minute count. We made sure our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tour took this to heart. The resulting combination of our signature 2D floor plans and professional photos with strategically placed 3D spins delivers instant returns not just in better booking conversions but in time and cost savings for back-of-the-house teams.

And as any experienced vacation rental manager will tell you, better operations lead to happier guests, which in turn generate more five-star reviews and repeat bookings over the long term. Homeowners, too, value efficient and effective operations when deciding to contract or renew with a property manager. Here are four surprising ways our new tour will help streamline your operations for immediate and long-term benefits.

Shorter Call Times for Reservations

Vacation rental managers who have been using our Hybrid Floor Plan Tours or even our signature floor plans may not be as surprised by this one. Reservationists spend an average of eight minutes per pre-booking call answering questions about a property and its surroundings. Hybrid Floor Plan Tours help significantly cut down or eliminate this time by giving guests answers to their common layout questions, things like “Which bedrooms are on which floors?” and other information they need to have the confidence to book. This saves your reservationists’ valuable call time to focus on conversions and other guest service needs.

Quicker Response and Reduced Property Visits for Maintenance and Repairs

We have heard from countless property managers how their maintenance teams use floor plan tours to help triage issues without a separate trip to a property. Technicians and other staff use floor plans and images to pinpoint where problems are occurring or to identify parts or equipment they’ll need to bring to the property. The addition of 3D spins in our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tours lets staff investigate in even greater detail in the areas repair needs are reported most, like living rooms and kitchens.

Faster Orientation and Quick Reference Guides for Housekeeping and Inspecting

Similarly, we’ve heard from many clients about how their housekeeping teams use floor plan tours as training tools and property standards references for cleanliness, inventory, and staging. This is made even more detailed and thorough with 360o images in the most critical property spaces. Orientation is quick and easy for new cleaners and new properties, as is identifying specific replacement items when guests call for extras or backups.

Easier Insurance Claim Submissions

We hope no homeowner or property manager has to submit an insurance claim, but when they do, our Hybrid Floor Plan Tours make the process faster and less painful. Floor plans with image tags serve as a ready-made catalog for insurance adjusters of a property’s pre-claim state. Coincidentally, our strategically located 360o spins provide even more detailed coverage of areas likely to have more expensive claims, such as decks with pools or hot tubs.

 

What are other surprising ways your teams have used Hybrid Floor Plan Tours? Let us know in the comments below!


NEW: The Hybrid Floor Plan Tour from TruPlace

The best of 2D and 3D in one

Here at TruPlace, what matters to us most is what truly moves our clients’ businesses forward by giving their end customers exactly what they’re looking for. This means user-friendly, affordable, and effective visuals – rather than simply the latest shiny marketing penny. That’s why we’ve created the Hybrid Floor Plan Tour, our signature layout tool with the beautiful photos and easy navigation clients love plus newly added TruFusion 3D spins in the rooms they care about most.

About the Hybrid Floor Plan Tour

Our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tour combines the convenience of 2D and the immersion of 3D:

  1. Beautiful Property Photos: Your TruPlace photographers capture your properties’ interiors, exteriors, and amenities in sharp detail and vivid colors with our TruFusion technology.
  2. Precisely Measured Floor Plan: While there, the photographers also measure the property for a detailed floor plan that includes windows, doors, stairs, and other key features. We then tag the floor plan for easy smart-touch navigation across all devices.
  3. Immersive 3D Spins: Now, your TruPlace photographers also take TruFusion 360o images in the areas guests or buyers most often want to see in more detail or have more questions about, such as kitchens, living rooms, or decks and views.

The Hybrid Floor Plan Tour is quickly becoming a favorite among our early adopter clients, and for good reason: users can easily jump into a property in 3D in important spaces without all the steps (and cost) of a virtual tour. Plus, our professional imaging captures all 360 degrees in unbeatable clarity from the spacious waterfront backyard to the sparkle of a granite countertop.

TAKE A TOUR >

For Vacation Rental Property Managers

For professional vacation rental property managers, robust and effective online property listings are no longer optional. Guests often need to understand property layouts to be sure it will meet their dynamic needs and have the confidence to book. The Hybrid Floor Plan Tour lets guests imagine themselves on vacation with strategically placed 360o views and TruFusion 2D images in every room, all a single click away on a smart-touch floor plan. The tour acts almost like a virtual assistant, helping to answer common pre-booking questions like “What is the view like from this room?” or “Can all of us sit together for dinner between the table and breakfast bar?” This saves reservationists’ valuable call time so they can focus on converting bookings.

For Real Estate Agents

The Hybrid Floor Plan Tour is perfect for large brokerages that need professional visuals at scale, for individual agents looking for the brand power of a national firm, and growing teams in between. Two-thirds of home buyers cite floor plans as important factors in deciding which homes to consider, and property sellers want to know you have what it takes to get those eyes – and offers – on their homes. We created the Hybrid Floor Plan Tour to serve agents, sellers, and buyers collectively. Agents and brokerages can win more listings with an effective, professional visual tool that impresses sellers. Those listings, in turn, can drive higher-quality leads by answering many of buyers’ make-or-break questions in minutes, deepening interest when a home looks like a good fit and saving the time of a showing when it’s not.

 

To learn more about our new Hybrid Floor Plan Tours, email discovermore@truplace.com or call 301-972-3201.


April 2019 Newsletter – Next Generation 3D Virtual Tours!

“Quality is the best business plan” – John Lasseter

As technology evolves, the expectation for quality increases. The experts at TruPlace created the Next Generation 3D Virtual Tour – TruFusion 3D, the highest quality 3D tour on the market. Our clients were requesting better quality virtual tours and a hybrid tour, where the end user can choose how they view a property. Our 360 spins integrate seamlessly into our Floor Plan Tours, allowing potential buyers to dive deeper into the rooms that matter. Don’t worry about the lighting, waiting for the tour to load, or spending hours at the property with a photographer. Better yet, don’t stress over doing it yourself. We are here to take the headache away!

Why virtual tours? Buyers, more than ever, are searching for homes online. Virtual tours serve as a 24/7 open house, allowing potential buyers to become quickly engaged.

Explore a Demo


It’s Here! Virtual Twilight Catalog

Dramatic Virtual Twilight Comparison

Are you looking for the perfect attention grabber for your properties but don’t want to spend the extra time onsite with a photographer? Our team of experts can take an exterior image that was shot during the day and digitally transform into a stunning dusk image.

 

Simulated Clear Skies

 

You now have options. Our brand new Virtual Twilight Skies catalog gives you 14 options of dramatic or subtle skies to make a lasting first impression.

 

Simulated Nightime for House

 

Did you know? According to Inman.com, the click-on rate is nearly quadrupled when the “hero” shot contains a virtual twilight enhancement.

 

Question for the reader: Have you used Virtual Twilight on one of your listings?


Wow! 10 Million Photographs

All of us at TruPlace are proud to have achieved an amazing milestone. We have processed our 10 millionth photograph. Yes, 10 million! To our national network of photographers, to our incredible staff, and especially to our amazing clients, we say thank you – 10 million thank you’s.

We have no idea how many other photography companies have achieved this milestone, but we want to think there aren’t that many. What it says is that we must be doing something right – providing great quality photography and interactive floor plan tours at a great value.

Now it’s on to 20 million. Our shutter fingers are growing blisters just thinking about it.


Don’t You Love That New Tour Smell?

It’s hot off the production line and coming to a screen near you – the BIGGER, BETTER, BOLDER TruPlace Tour. We made the photos BIGGER so that they fill your desktop and mobile screens. With more and more people using their smart phones to access everything, a BIGGER mobile view is really important.

We made the tours BETTER by making the floor plan fade out and movable, giving the viewer more control over what they see. And the slide show is more intuitive and BETTER than ever.

All of this makes for a BOLDER experience for people viewing a property. And did we mention that there’s no extra charge for this update? That’s the new smell we all love!

You can check it out HERE.


5 Reasons Professional Property Photography Is Better Than Amateur Property Photography

1. Professionals use better camera equipment.
Yes, your iPhone takes good photos of your kids and pets, but it just can’t compare to today’s advanced DSLR cameras. DSLRs have larger sensors with more pixels, better controls and interchangeable lenses. With a DSLR, you’re going to get better white balance that is more visually appealing. And the 3:2 aspect ratio of a DSLR makes for better compositions. But then, you can’t order a pizza using your DSLR.

2. Professionals know how to capture the best angles.
Amateurs typically just walk into a room and shoot. Professionals take into account the entire frame – from left to right, front to back, top to bottom. Does the angle of the bed look appealing? Is the entry to the bathroom in the frame? Is the camera height sufficient to capture the entire counter top? Does the selected lens capture the entire room without distorting the image? Professionals see all of this and more, plus know when to shoot multiple angles when necessary to capture everything a room has to offer.

3. Professionals understand lighting.
An amateur will usually close the drapes so that the sunlight coming in doesn’t “blow out” the detail in the room. This typically results in a shot that is too dark or too light.

A professional with the right equipment can capture the image in a room the way your eye sees it – with details inside the room, and window views of the outside. With today’s modern equipment in the hands of a professional, more detail is captured, colors are more vibrant, and lighting is perfectly balanced.

4. Professionals can enhance the image after the shot.
Images on TVs, fires in fireplaces and anything else that is moving do not photograph very well. This is why most professionals will turn those things off when shooting. But using post-production technology, images can be added to TVs, fires can be added to fireplaces, pool water can be made more inviting, grass greener, and the sky can be transformed to blue, even though it was cloudy the day of the shoot. While not appropriate for cosmetic enhancements that “fool” the viewer, this technology is very useful (and ethical) for enhancing things that come and go.

5. Professional photographs outperform amateur photographs.
Home buyers spend 60% of their time looking at photos and only 20% on descriptions (Wall Street Journal). Pro photos produce 7% more demand for vacation rentals than amateur photos (Airbnb). Homes with professionally photographed pictures can sell for up to $19,000 more (marketleader.com). Homes with high quality photos receive 47% higher asking price per square foot (cbsnews.com). With so much riding on photos, why go the amateur route?

 


Moving Day(s)

Moving into new digs isn’t always a fun experience, but all of us at TruPlace are SO looking forward to having more office space. Even though we’re only a couple of miles from our old Executive Park Terrace location, it feels so much different. We are all looking forward to getting settled in and continuing to help our clients with their visual marketing.

Of course, it will take a few days for our muscles to stop aching.

Here’s our new address:
TruPlace
20680 Seneca Meadows Parkway
Suite 210
Germantown MD 20876