By Kieran McQuilkin – March 29, 2019

Few things grind gears like the struggle of scheduling an apartment tour, especially when you and the leasing agent work the same hours.

New-to-market app Tour24 looks to make that hassle obsolete by launching self-guided apartment tours with a pilot project in D.C.

The product, which is a division of Gibraltar Industries and run by CEO Georgianna Oliver, aims to automate apartment hunting by removing the agent from property tours. Using the app, potential tenants can schedule a tour, access model units and amenities and begin the leasing process. It uses smart-home technology like app-connected locks and lights to facilitate the visit via mobile phone.

“It’s all about convenience,” Oliver said in an interview. “So property management might be offsite for training or an event or PTO, but while they’re gone, they can turn on self-guided tours. They can also allow tours on Saturdays and Sundays when leasing offices are traditionally closed.”

So far, one District property has the technology fully integrated: South Cathedral Mansions, a 165-unit apartment community in the Woodley Park neighborhood owned by Oculus Realty.

Tour24 soon plans to deploy the app at more area apartments, including The Metropolitan and 925 Apartments. It has pilots underway at 20 properties nationwide.

Oliver said that so far, leasing rates from after-hours tours have averaged 30 percent, compared to the industry lease rate average of 20-25 percent. The app has about 22 properties in the system, she said, and expects to have 50-60 live this summer.

The Tour24 app allows leasing agents to offer appointment times for prospective renters either during busy days or after-hours. Prior to and during the tours, the app sends real-time feedback based on location data to property managers to analyze where prospective tenants are spending the most time.

That play for user data might prove to be the company’s most valuable asset.

“Properties invest a lot in the amenities, and they’ll put in a movie theater or game room and find out the demographic isn’t really using it. It’s really important to them to understand if renters care about them,” Oliver said. “Nobody’s been able to track amenity interest like we are. There’s serious value in the data.”