The “new normal” is a phrase that has been constantly thrown around since the pandemic started, referring to anything from quarantining our families to avoiding handshakes. Gestures that once seemed disrespectful if not extended are now obsolete. Face coverings that would’ve previously seemed bizarre to wear in public are now the norm. The environment in which we live today is completely different than it was just a few short months ago, and the shift has pushed property management groups like ours to think outside-the-box in order to continue to thrive in an industry that has always relied heavily on person-to-person contact. With the world ordered to stay home, it was time to find our new normal – to rethink the way we marketed apartments. We had to figure out how to bring the excitement and energy of our PEG properties to prospective customers from the comfort of their phone screens.
Enter the virtual tour.
Virtual tours are not necessarily a new concept in the property management industry; however, in the past, virtual tours have been catered more toward showcasing floor plans and less on the property experience. But when the sudden events of COVID-19 hit, our company wanted to create a different kind of virtual experience – one that struck an emotional chord with people and made anyone who watched feel a real connection with the property and staff.
We immediately deployed FaceTime and Skype tours, allowing us to continue to directly interact with prospects. Many of our management teams also invested in Gimbal Stabilizers for their phones to do high quality social content and to be able to produce videos to send to interested renters. But the real “virtual tour home run” took a little more creativity: We began producing lifestyle videos that cultivated an entirely different virtual rental experience than anything we had done before. With the help of a professional storyteller and 4K videographer, we were able to create a very unique narrative that showcased each asset on a new level, giving them individual personalities of their own.
Through social distancing, teams are learning how to be more innovative and adapt to the ever-changing environment of COVID-19. The way multifamily teams connect with their communities has changed in a matter of months, but I believe the change is here to stay. We’ve acquired new tools and new skills and created new opportunities to reach new audiences. Fears were set aside, and teams came together to solve the COVID-19 equation. By creating our own virtual tour strategy unique to our company, we have been able to create a better sense of community and strengthen our lease-up strategy as a result.
Check out the video below for an example of how we approach the new and improved virtual tour experience.