(From left to right) Bob Cusack, Suzi Cusack, Mary Beth Albertini (newcomer), and Brianne (Pope) Murphy – the TruPlace booth squad at the VRMA International Conference in New Orleans, LA.
Observations from the Exhibit Hall Floor and Beyond
This is my inaugural blog post with TruPlace. I joined the company’s marketing department a week prior to VRMA International Conference 2019. Jetting off to New Orleans on week two was not a bad way to start a new job in a new industry (for me). I came to VR from cable, where I’ve attended my share of conferences over the years. I’m guessing that I may have been the brand-newest member attending the VRMA conference, among a record-setting 2,000 attendees. More than one person I met remarked that I’d be “drinking from the firehose!”, which was ideal because I was thirsty for knowledge. And VRMA 2019 did not disappoint.
I thought I’d share a perspective through a set of fresh eyes and ears that were there to absorb information and learn as much as possible. My approach was that of a journalist – to observe and ask questions that would answer the “who, what, where, why and how” about the Vacation Rental Management industry.
These shoes were made for walking all over the VRMA International Conference. The TruPlace booth squad could be easily identified by our red Converse sneakers.
Three days spent on the exhibit hall floor, attending keynotes, general and breakout sessions, and flitting about a multitude of parties was unquestionably the best initiation one could hope for.
Following are some of my decidedly industry-newbie takeaways:
The industry is changing. Fast. New players have emerged in the past year while some have scaled up or down in market share, and still, others have appeared in a new iteration under a different brand umbrella. This seems especially so among the technology partners. And there is no indication that the tides of change will soon cease. So, we all ought to buckle up and enjoy (or endure) the ride.
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:
Beautiful Property Photos: Your TruPlace photographers capture your properties’ interiors, exteriors, and amenities in sharp detail and vivid colors with our TruFusion technology.
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.
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.
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.
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?