Joanna Hackney, our EVP of Client Success, recently moderated a discussion at the digital AIM Reconnect conference with leaders in the multifamily industry that have successfully implemented self-guided tours.

We live in a world dominated by self-service culture – we check in for flights from our phones, we order clothing online and we access entertainment from our couches. Today’s renter expects a self-service solution and, the fact is, they want to interact with as few people as possible to find their next home. How do we know?  A recent survey found that 83 percent of renters would rather take a self-guided tour if it is available and 43 percent would rather tour after hours. Properties that aren’t offering flexible timing and touring options are missing out on prospects and losing leases.

The pandemic accelerated the need for self-service options across virtually every industry and multifamily housing is no exception. COVID-19 led to rapid adoption of self-guided tours out of necessity, but the industry quickly learned that self-guided tours deliver better service to prospective renters that want to tour alone and after hours. 

Our esteemed panel of leaders in the multifamily space shared best practices for making the most out of self-guided tours:

Choose the right partner

It’s no secret that when it comes to proptech, the industry is teeming with options so choosing the right service provider is beyond critical for success. Joe Melton, VP of Marketing and Management Support Services for The Morgan Group, noted that the implementation phase with their partner (us!) was crucial in getting the tours set-up correctly – testing, re-testing and optimizing the tours for maximum effectiveness.

Focus on the holistic customer experience

Katie Manley, VP of Operations for Bell Partners noted that self-guided tours aren’t a separate faction of the customer experience, but rather a piece of the puzzle that fits into the total experience and gives the future resident what they need. Part of that is allowing them to find you in the way that makes the most sense for them. By making self-guided tours part of your larger business strategy, and something that fits in as a piece of the holistic customer experience, you’re set up for success.

Make sure you have full team buy-in

The benefits of self-guided tours during the social distancing measures of COVID were obvious, but the demand for them continues to grow. Scott Villani, Chief Strategy Officer for The NRP Group, shared that although they wondered what would happen after COVID, and if there would be any issues between leasing agents giving in-person tours versus the self-guided tours, the on-site team has fully embraced self-guided tours. They see it as an extra set of hands that can be where they can’t be – whether it’s after hours, over a lunch break or any time that doesn’t work with their schedule. And having that buy-in has been a key to their success.

While COVID created a surge of demand for this technology, self-guided tours are here to stay. The demand for self-guided tours has significantly increased this year, even as the pandemic is winding down, because renters have gotten used to the benefit of these tours fitting into their lives rather than vice-versa and that convenience is hard to take away. 

Self-guided tours have proven their worth as a critical tool in the leasing toolkit, and are a valuable part of every property’s strategy for continued growth and success – during the pandemic and beyond.