AAOA – Using Self-Guided Tours To Help With Today’s New Leasing Challenges
In our post-pandemic world, traditional ways of doing things have become obsolete, seemingly overnight. Operators need to find ways to manage their assets more efficiently and meet evolving renter preferences. Everyone will be looking for smarter and quicker ways to rent apartments, which presents its own set of challenges.
HERE ARE THREE TIPS FOR HOW SELF-GUIDED TOURS CAN HELP SOLVE TODAY’S NEW LEASING CHALLENGES:
CHALLENGE #1 Pandemic Renters’ Expectations Have Changed
Today’s renters expect to have self-serve and flexible options. They want to tour when they want and not during the limited dates and times made available by communities. They expect a self-service solution and want to interact with as few people as possible to find their next home.
TIP #1: ProvideSelf-Serve andFlexible Options
Offering flexible touring options outside of standard business hours makes it easy for renters to tour when it is most convenient for them. But how do youstart? Try a self-guided touring solution.
Best practices for self-guided tours include grouping all the touring options together so a renter can easily find and choose their preference and schedule a tour. Setexpectations for thetour and have a clearlydefined tour path toeasily access and locatebuildings, amenities,and show units.
On the leasing side, the self-guided tour process collects and integrates guest card data intoCRM/lead management tools or property management systems.It also incorporates actionable next steps for reviewing availability, pricing, or starting an online application while on the tour.
A survey by Tour24found that nearly 40percent of self-guided tours are taken outside of standard business hours when leasing offices are closed.Self-guided tours are no longer an emerging technology – they are an essential technology.If you are not offering flexible touring solutions for renters, you are missing out on valuable prospects and losing leases.
CHALLENGE #2 Management coordinating leasing coverage after hours, weekends, holidays
Coordinating leasing coverage after hours and on weekends and holidays is tough enough.Now add in post-pandemic issues and it becomes a huge management challenge. Plus, these times are exactly when people want to tour apartments! If an agent is busy or the officeis closed, it results in lost leads…and leases!
TIP #2: Increase the Numberof Tours Without IncreasingLeasing Agent Headcount
The use of technology solutions makes it possible to always have leasing coverage (after-hours, weekends, holidays) without trying to coordinate schedules. Using self-guided tours provides operators the tools to manage more effectively by increasing the number of tours without adding headcount. It also improves efficiencies for busy agents during the day who can now be freed up to focus on other priorities.
Tour24 research found that
31 percent of future renters on self-guided tours commit to leasing immediately after touring. These renters credit their decision to having an opportunity to tour how they want. The high conversion ratios on self-guided tours lead to better ROI. Communities are now considering self-guided tours an operating expense and not a marketing expense.
CHALLENGE #3 High Leasing Team Turnover and High Costs
There is a high turnover rate for leasing agents. Going forward, it will be harder to attract agents and it will cost more. Communities are having to increase hourly wages and payroll budgets. Plus, with so much turnover and limited time for training, the quality and consistency of tour information is unknown, which could also be a potential risk for fair housing violations.
TIP #3: Change the Leasing Process for Improved Efficiencies
Let self-guided tours give the tours. Let leasing agents do what they do best. They can focus on other high priorities such as renewals, follow-ups, residents, and marketing. This saves money by increasing the number of tours without increasing head count.
A self-guided tour provides high quality, consistent information to every renter, which showcases the community optimally as well as helping with Fair Housing Act compliance. There is no training needed to start offering tours, and a community can even use the self-guided tour as a training tool to onboard the team about the community. You put your best foot forward every time.
The tour itself may be contactless, but the renter still wants to feel connected. Provide curated tour content that guides the renter as if your finest leasing agent is by their side. Make it easy for renters to ask a question at any time and capture feedback along the way. Tour24’s data shows that whereas 31% are ready to lease right away, 60% are thinking about leasing. Realtime data collected during the tour helps the agent tailor the communication to the renter’s preferences and focus on a successful follow-up. Engagement with the renter throughout their leasing journey will maximize opportunities to close the lease.
The Bottom Line
People are looking for smarter and quicker ways to rent apartments, which presents leasing challenges:
1. Post-pandemic renters’ expectations have changed
2. Management coordinating leasing coverage after hours, weekends, holidays
3. High leasing team turnover
Self-guided tours can help solve these leasing challenges:
TIP #1: Provide Self-Serve and Flexible Options
TIP #2: Increase the Number of Tours Without Increasing Headcount
TIP #3: Change the Leasing Process for Improved Efficiencies
Self-guided tours are becoming the preferred choice over in-person tours. Tour24 found that 78 percent of renters said they would rather take a self-guided tour than tour with a live agent. They want to do everything on their own terms and don’t like being pressured.
Leasing automation is a must-have. We are not going back to old ways. Embracing these new technologies and processes will improve the customer experience, maximize efficiencies for all, decrease operating expenses and increase revenue. Self-guided tours can help you quickly start solving these new challenges.
SOURCE: AAOA – RENT MAGAZINE – Link