Tag: virtual tours


Agents Using Virtual Open Houses to Market Listings Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

 

 

 
Adapting to Change
These are challenging times for all of us. Federal mandates are in place limiting person-to-person interactions, which we at TruPlace understand must feel excruciating to most agents. The health reasons are clear and the business implications are nerve-wracking. But there are practical things that can be done to serve our clients, just like there are practical ways to serve yours.

 

 
Health First

For starters, TruPlace is complying with CDC and WHO guidelines to monitor the recent travel and health of our photographers and the agents they might interact with. We are also making sure any relevant expenses, such as medical gloves or hand sanitizer, are covered. Our entire office headquarters in Germantown, MD will be teleworking for at least the next two weeks so there is no interruption in customer service.  

Listing agents are facing a unique set of circumstances: they must sell their client’s home without inviting heavy foot traffic. Our clients are finding that 3D products are a safe way to market a home amid Coronavirus concerns. Specifically, TruPlace’s immersive visuals for buyers are a great way to experience the property without having to physically be there.

Work Smarter

The 3D Virtual Tour is the new Open House. It’s viewable from a web link sent by the agent to potential buyers. A floor plan image shows the viewer where they “are” inside the house. The 3D “spin” technology lets viewers turn in any direction and view that area closer up or further back by simply pinching the screen like they would with almost any online image.

TruPlace’s “Virtual Open Houses” enable potential buyers to explore every nook and cranny of a property from the safety of their own laptops or iPads. Our signature smart-touch layout tool with beautiful photos viewers love now has added 3D spins in the rooms where 360o matters most, like kitchens and backyards.

This solution can save on the cost of a full virtual tour while still giving guests the quick, quality inside look they want. These “user-controlled experiences” allow the buyer to move in and out of rooms, hallways, and stairs in addition to being able to spin around the room to see all the details.

For buyers looking to be guided through a property visually, TruPlace has Walkthrough Videos that escort viewers to each room. These video products are available at varying lengths from 1-minute to 4-minutes long, regardless of property size.

The 3D tours, Walkthrough Videos and Slideshow Videos designed by TruPlace provide the most comprehensive and realistic experience of a home’s layout, giving viewers a totally clear and immersive experience.

Stay Safe

The well being of our clients, employees, and neighbors are taking a front-row seat, driving our decision making, which seems to get tougher by the hour. We encourage everyone to stay safe and healthy.  

 


A Guest’s Perfect Travel Companion: Floor Plan Tours with Professional Photos

TruPlace Floor Plan with Professional Image
Visit our gallery to see examples.

Planning a vacation is stressful and often falls squarely on the shoulders of one person arranging everything for a group. Massive OTAs and countless direct booking sites provide a paralyzing number of choices for where to stay. And even when those choices are narrowed down by filters, the nature of each vacation rental’s uniqueness makes it tough to know if a property will truly meet each guest’s needs and expectations. Once a property is booked, there’s then the pre-arrival planning and coordination, followed by overseeing vacation to-dos and timelines during the stay. The cycle of overwhelm starts all over again after checkout.

There must be a better way, right? Vacations should be relaxing, fun, and simple! What if every traveler in charge of booking, planning, and running their group’s trip had a digital travel companion that could help remove stress from the process? With TruPlace’s Signature Floor Plan Tours with professional photos, they do!

Pre-booking: Search > Find > Book

The average guest is rich in choices and poor in time when it comes to finding the right place to stay on vacation. They spend less than a minute on a single booking site but ultimately view at least nineteen properties before choosing one. A good travel companion like a Floor Plan Tour with professional photos makes this process much easier. It helps guests:

  • Narrow down properties to consider faster
  • Remain on your site longer to visualize themselves in a home through its photos and layout
  • Trust a property manager as one who is willing to invest in quality photography and helpful tools and, therefore, more likely to be one invested in the entire guest experience
  • Gain reassurance that a property will work for all the guests in their group

In fact, these technological virtual assistants are great companions to reservation agents, too, saving them an average of eight minutes per pre-booking call.

Pre-Arrival: Plan

Travel planning doesn’t end with the booking confirmation email. Once an accommodation has been booked, the primary travel planner for a group must spend several additional hours arranging transportation, planning meals and grocery shopping, booking excursions, coordinating fellow travelers and their schedules, planning in-home activities and outlining packing lists. One activity booking company once tallied this at 30 hours of work!

Floor plan tours with professional photos help the planner reclaim some time by clearly showing what is and isn’t in a property, along with key areas of interest. For example, a detailed floor plan with pictures of bedrooms helps with room selection and sleeping arrangements — prior to arrival (thus, avoiding the problem of whoever arrives first picks the best bedroom!). The location of stairs can help parents of a toddler identify how many baby gates they might need. Professionally taken photos show all the kitchen amenities available for the family chef to use for meals, and exterior layouts with photos of parking note how many vehicles guests can bring.

In Stay: Love

Nearly two-thirds of customers say their standards for good experiences are higher than ever, and half say companies aren’t meeting their expectations. This is a quick way to a subpar review. Instead, a good travel companion like a floor plan tour and quality photos show prospective guests if a property will meet their high standards before they book, so they arrive to a vacation rental with the right expectations. (This gives property managers the opportunity to surprise, delight, and exceed those expectations!)

Post-Stay: Share > Rebook

Easier travel planning and properly set expectations make for happy guests, and happy guests are more likely to book again — if not the exact same property, from the property manager who delivered a positive experience. Once a guest has experienced the benefit of a floor plan tour in their planning, they’ll appreciate (and expect) this feature when searching for the property that meets their needs on their next visit. This can have a significant business impact: retaining an existing guest costs one-fifth as much as it does to attract a new one. But winning new guests can be made easier as well. Happy guests are also more likely to write positive reviews and refer their friends — nine in 10 of whom trust their reviews over ads.

That doesn’t mean a good travel companion’s job is over. Texas Tech University found 83% of consumers are willing to refer others after a positive experience, but only 29% actually do. TruPlace’s floor plan tours lend a hand and make it easy to share a favorite property from a social and direct share button embedded into the tour view.

92% of travelers say that they trust reviews of their friends over commercial advertising. (vroomres)

To learn more about our Signature Floor Plan Tours, professional photography services, or other visual marketing tools, visit us at www.truplace.com.


An Industry Newcomer’s Take on the VRMA International Conference 2019

(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:

  1. 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.

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.