3 Myths About Self Guided Apartment Tours Debunked
Self guided apartment tours have caught on faster than a leasing professional can say “Sign here, please.” And while COVID may have spurred the initial adoption of self guided tours in multifamily, renter demand and post-tour conversions have cemented them into the standard operating procedures of many apartment communities.
Despite the relatively speedy adoption of this new touring technique, some questions and misconceptions still remain around self guided apartment tours. Here, I quash a few common myths.
Myth #1: It isn’t safe!
Some property managers may have worries that bad actors will pose as prospective renters to gain access to properties with self guided apartment tours. Two of the self touring softwares that integrate with RemoteLock—Power Pro Leasing and Pynwheel—combat this with driver’s license validation. Pynwheel also requires prospective renters to enter a credit card when they’re scheduling the tour online. Plus, they upload an image of their photo ID and also take a picture of themselves once they’re at the property. Power Pro Leasing approaches this slightly differently having the on-site property manager as a touchpoint who verifies the ID before the prospect starts the tour.
Furthermore, because RemoteLock integrates with these two popular self-touring apps, you gain other safeguards. First, you see a real-time access history. You’ll be able to monitor and revoke access when needed, and gain full visibility into who entered which space when. Plus, unique PINs are automatically generated and valid only within the windows you set.
There are no keys to handoff or worry about falling into the wrong hands, and the door automatically locks behind the prospect.
Myth #2: There’s too much technology today. Leasing needs to have the human touch.
I would agree that most people like to interact and speak with a real, live human before signing a lease. But there are many steps leading up to that point where technology can step in. I think self guided apartment tours are great examples.
Here’s a basic rundown of the time-consuming tasks that this kind of software handles for you:
- Allows prospective residents to schedule a tour during a time that’s most convenient for them
- 44% of all interactions are actually taking place outside standard hours of operation?1
- 64% of tours are same-day tours and 24% happen within 15 minutes of scheduling2
- Sends notifications with tour reminders, directions to where to start on the property, and prompts to download and launch the app when they arrive
- Requests an image of photo ID for verification
- Via the RemoteLock integration: delivers self-expiring access codes for certain spaces or model units that are shared during the tour
- Guides prospects through the property with interactive maps, media galleries and descriptions of public spaces
Depending on each software solution, you can opt for more bells and whistles. For instance, Pynwheel gives you interactive maps with wayfinding to make it extra easy for visitors to figure out where they are going during self guided apartment tours. Better yet, the prospect can take notes and photos on the tour, which property managers can view on the portal. These details are also recorded in the PMS, which is a great feature to boost renewals. For example, a prospect-now-resident noted that they loved the pool view on their tour, but no units were available with that view at the time. Knowing this, a property manager has an edge on renewal when such a unit does become vacant.
Power Pro gives you the ability to be hyper-specific about features for each unit. And not just a floorplan, but noting things like south-facing windows in unit 112 or unit 533 overlooks a community garden.
All that said, there’s still plenty of room for human interaction even when employing self guided apartment tours. Now, your leasing agents have the time to answer questions that really need the human touch like about the community’s culture or the surrounding neighborhood, or about the finer details in a lease. They’re also freed up to conduct thorough follow-up with each prospect.
Myth #3: It’s too expensive.
Yes, implementing new technology like self guided apartment tours comes with upfront costs. But savvy property managers and operators will weigh any hardware and/or software investments against two compelling forces: 1.) the significant savings in time and labor as compared to traditional touring and 2.) more tours mean more lease-ups.
Today, everyone expects there to “be an app for that.” The convenience of using our smartphones for pretty much anything has become commonplace. And it’s no different in the multifamily industry with 46% of renters submitting their rental applications via their mobile devices.
Finally, you really don’t have to make a major investment from the get-go when implementing self guided apartment tours. Test out one smart solution on one model unit with the self touring solution you prefer. I’d be surprised if you didn’t immediately notice how easy self-touring is and how it makes a big bottom-line difference.
Leann has spent the last eight years in product development, leveraging her extensive market knowledge to drive improvements for a wide range of SaaS products. She has a keen sense for identifying and analyzing the needs of our customers to evolve product strategies.