Virtual Sales Tours

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Using Virtual Sales Tours

Virtual tours of properties are becoming more popular with the development of cheap virtual reality headsets and streaming video. Below is a selection of five companies using virtual tours to either replace or supplement in person tours for sales or marketing purposes.

Halstead Property

  • Halstead Property began using virtual touring in 2016.
  • Halstead uses a combination of online video tours and even virtual reality headset tours to provide ways for clients to view properties remotely.
  • One of their goals for having virtual tours was to help show of properties that had not yet been built in the hope of gaining potential buyers. This would help ensure the project completes by removing some risk for buyers by being able to see sample buildings before completion, and also allowing them to invest earlier to help with some construction costs. One article described this happening with a project in Astoria, Queens.
  • At the moment, Halstead Property is using virtual tours to prevent Covid-19 spread by having large groups together in open houses.

Berga and Gonzalez Architects

  • Global architectural firm Berga & Gonzalez advertises itself as focusing on providing advanced ways to view their architectural designs.
  • Their overall process for designing new sites emphasizes the need for doing virtual work up front to reduce the risk of changes to the project after build begins.
  • The firm offers different ways to conduct virtual tours of potential sites, including animated walkthroughs, 360 degree panorama tours, and virtual reality tours.
  • Their website cites their use of virtual touring on properties to help reduce concerns from potential buyers and speed up the time to sale after a property is built.

Texas A&M University

  • Texas A&M University implemented virtual tours in 2017.
  • They developed these tours on video and in virtual reality and first presented their work on them at the South by Southwest festival.
  • Cited reasons for moving to a virtual tour of a college campus are for potential students see far away campuses and even with in-person tours be able to remember what the campus looked like. This in turn opens up more recruitment opportunities for the school.
  • The technology also has virtual tours of future buildings so all members of the campus community can tour them before opening.
  • Another reason for developing the virtual tour was to provide a service for alumni to assist in fundraising.

Redfin

  • In 2014, Redfin began using virtual tours for its home selling site.
  • Redfin virtual tours are mostly 360 degree panoramic shots of rooms.
  • Redfin's motivations for entering the virtual tour market were to help potential home buyers have greater access and information to homes; virtual tours help buyers see a house at their convenience.
  • Redfin also mentioned that virtual tours help sellers as it minimizes the time they have to be away from their house for buyers to view.
  • Redfin cites that virtual tours help a home sell 10 days faster and for $5,100 more than other similarly priced homes.

IR Architects

  • IR Architects makes use of virtual tours to help finalize project plans from their clients.
  • IR Architects developed virtual reality headset technology to let clients view full designs and interact with doors and furniture in the buildings they were interested in having developed. IR Architects described using this technology with one client to ensure features such as counter top style.
  • They found efficiencies in using the virtual reality tour with the client to have them describe what they were seeing and wanted to be changed in real-time to ensure they accurately captured all the details of the project. This in turn helped limit the amount of rework to be done once build began.

Research Strategy

We began by looking for companies that provided virtual tours, and looking for their reference case clients to then further dive into what those particular clients had done. We also did a broad search for virtual property tours and came upon some news articles supporting general trends in the area, which we included as appropriate.
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