In an age of improved technology and reduced human-to-human contact, the multi-family rental industry has countless opportunities for increasing operational efficiency — particularly when it comes to offering in-unit tours. Although a contactless approach is rapidly growing in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, self-guided tours are expected to continue far beyond the current recommendations of social distancing. Earlier this year, RentCafe conducted a survey of 3,500 American renters to gauge their interest in self-guided tour options. Among the results:
- 83% of respondents said they would prefer to use self-guided tours over the virtual tour options available
- 63% said they would take a self-guided tour in order to view apartments at their own pace
- 43% said they would prefer the option to visit after business hours or on weekends
- 33% said they would feel more comfortable during self-guided tours if the property offered keyless entry
But for property managers and owners, implementing an effective booking system while sourcing the right technology to maintain it can seem like a hefty undertaking. By understanding the options available and exploring the benefits of each, you can be sure your multi-family property is positioned for long-term success. Here are three steps and solutions to consider to ensure your self-guided tours lead to greater sales — and satisfied tenants.
1. Upgrade your booking process
How many monthly hours does your property management team spend coordinating apartment tours? Phone calls, email threads, walk-ins: Although a personal touch can go a long way in providing a memorable human experience, it can place an unwanted burden on your teams — especially in peak moving season — and result in hectic and disjointed processes. (There’s still potential for adding thoughtful touches in self-guided tours; we’ll address that shortly.) Additionally, 88% of renters want to tour a property before signing a lease, but 40% of the time during which a prospect wants to tour, the leasing office is closed. Self-guided tours help solve each of these challenges: They alleviate the stress placed on your teams from managing and conducting in-person tours, and more importantly, they demonstrate to your prospects that your team values their time and their investment. Consider developing a portal that lives on a separate landing page or on your existing website that allows renters to provide their information and choose a tour time most convenient for them. Alternatively, third-party services such as Tour24 offer a one-stop-shop for booking, touring, and leasing follow-up for ultimate simplicity. Within the app, tenants are led through the entire space in true museum fashion, with clickable on-screen features and optional audio. From there, managing tenant access and communication is the next step, which can be implemented easily using the RemoteLock platform.
2. Improve your access control system
Implementing a seamless booking platform is only half the battle. Once your potential tenant arrives for his or her tour, your job is to maintain the simplicity, convenience, and enjoyment of the process throughout the entire experience. Having your team exchange keys or open units for prospects not only diminishes the most appealing aspects of a contactless tour, but it also creates an unnecessary risk of lost, damaged, or stolen keys. Instead, consider automating the experience by using an access control system, like RemoteLock, in tandem with smart locks to allow remote access to not just the entire building — but individual units as well. New users can receive a personalized email with their unique credentials, and adding and revoking access is a walk in the park with self-expiring codes to main entrances, elevators, unit doors, and even parking garages. While your tenant enjoys his or her tour, you can rest easy with access history and time-stamped reports of all doors in your building, and without fear of lost or stolen keys. A robust and intuitive access control system is key to successful implementation and maintenance of self-guided tours at your property, and it addresses the level of comfort and security that potential renters desire in their apartment search.
3. Surprise & delight your prospects
If you’ve successfully executed a seamless booking and access experience, you’ve likely sold your tenant on your property’s technological capabilities. But what about that warm, fuzzy feeling that only a human touch can deliver? Make your prospects feel at home on their self-guided tour by going the extra mile: Leave a handwritten welcome note from the team in the model unit, or consider leaving a small care package thanking the prospect for his or her interest. If your tenant is from out of town — a detail you can gather in the initial booking form — offer a few goodies from local hotspots, or leave a teaser with regular discounts for residents if you’re affiliated with local businesses (pizza delivery, movie theaters, etc.). Even the smallest gesture can leave a lasting impression and convey that you truly care about the wellbeing of your residents, which may be the final factor in securing a new tenant.
Need an access management system to make offering self-guided apartment tours even easier? Contact RemoteLock today to see how our powerful solution can help enable more sales and improve your vacancy rate.