Case Study
Oculus Realty

Early self-guided tour adopters reflect on growth

Case Study Results

same day tours
outside business hours
weekend hours
within 60 minutes

South Cathedral Mansions Today (January thru July 2023)

This idea of self-guided tours was absolutely perfect for my portfolio, and that's why we were early adopters. It was ideal for our small property concept where you didn't have site staff.”

David Meit, President and CEO, Oculus Realty


Washington, D.C., and Frederick, Maryland

# of Units


Property Type


Tour24 Launch

2017 (Beta)


Oculus Realty is a real estate developer, advisory firm, and property management company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Oculus is the developer behind numerous residential apartment complexes in the Washington, D.C. area, including South Cathedral Mansions, a luxury apartment building located in the vibrant Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Originally built between 1922 and 1924 as part of a three-building complex, the property in 2014 underwent extensive renovation and modernization, reopening in 2017 with 165 market-rate units. Featuring high-end amenities, including a resort-style swimming pool, a spa-inspired fitness center, an expansive dog run, and on-site concierge service, South Cathedral offers a variety of floorplans ranging from three-bedroom apartments to studio units.

In March 2020, Oculus opened The Bottling Plant, an 86-unit luxury apartment complex in Downtown Frederick, Maryland. True to its name, the building began its life as a Coca-Cola bottling plant before being converted for residential and retail use.


165 mid-rise luxury units
3 months for full rollout

South Cathedral Mansions Today (January thru July 2023)
– Same Day Tours: 67%
– Outside Business Hours: 68%
– Weekend Hours: 45%
– Within 60 minutes: 49%


Oculus Realty has built its success on effectively managing the idiosyncrasies of the Washington, D.C. multifamily housing market. Founded 2010 with a focus on boutique properties in the District of Columbia, the company has distinguished itself with its ability to cost-effectively manage smaller properties — a necessity in a city where most multifamily properties range from 50-125 units in size. An early adopter of mobile PropTech, Oculus has been using digital technologies to boost efficiencies since its inception. Nevertheless, as of 2018 the nature of managing smaller properties meant Oculus leasing agents were still constantly moving from property to property to take prospects on tours.

“At our height, we had some 3,000 units under management, but a lot of those properties were 30 and 40-unit buildings,” Oculus president and CEO David Meit explains. “For efficiency’s sake, we’d locate all the leasing and office staff at one building, and they’d be responsible for 5-10 properties in that neighborhood. But whenever they needed to give a tour, leasing staff would have to get in the car and go meet people at all these buildings.”


When rumblings about a new self-guided property tour solution called “Tour24” began to make waves in the PropTech community around 2017, Meit was intrigued. He jumped at the opportunity, and in 2018, the newly reopened South Cathedral Mansions became the very first beta property for Tour24. “This idea of self-guided tours was absolutely perfect for my portfolio, and that’s why we were early adopters,” Meit recalls. “It was ideal for our small property concept where you didn’t have site staff.”

Over the course of several months, the South Cathedral staff customized the Tour24 solution to fit the specific needs of the property. For instance, the app’s two-way authentication feature, whereby prospects must provide a selfie along with their credit card information and government-issued ID to verify their identity, wasn’t a match for South Cathedral’s demographic, recalls Ellease Gibson-White, property manager. “Because D.C. is such a transitional market, we have a lot of folks with out-of-state driver’s licenses,” Gibson White explains. “Many states don’t require updates to driver’s licenses for 15 or 20 years, and the selfie sometimes wouldn’t match the identification picture. So, people were having difficulty booking the tour.”

The Tour24 team quickly updated the app for South Cathedral to allow prospective residents to verify with their credit card only. Instead of supplying an ID, prospects could place a small deposit that would be refunded after the tour. Tour24 also worked with South Cathedral to implement interactive functionalities that would help engage prospects during the tour, such as popups that would prompt the user to imagine their own furniture in the space.

“They were very responsive to our feedback,” Gibson-White says of the Tour24 team. “And not just to my feedback as the property manager being on-site, but also to the feedback that we received from prospects who were directly engaging with Tour24 by booking tours on the website and then coming to the property.”


Coming off the success the South Cathedral team had with the beta, Oculus became a Tour24 customer on Day 1 of the alpha release, rolling out the solution across its portfolio. This move put Oculus in a better place than most when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. The developer had just cut the ribbon on The Bottling Plant, its new luxury apartment building in Frederick, Maryland, when lockdown orders and mandatory social distancing came into effect.

Tour24 was “invaluable” during those early months of the pandemic, recalls Linda Mayo, director of administration at Oculus and property manager for The Bottling Plant. But the value wasn’t limited to a public health emergency scenario, Mayo observes. As restrictions eased and The Bottling Plant reached lease-up, Tour24 allowed Mayo to manage take over leasing entirely while the dedicated leasing agent moved on to the next property.

“It was great during lease-up and the pandemic and it was great support for the leasing agent,” Mayo reports. “But now that she’s left, Tour24 has continued to be indispensable. I’m only at The Bottling Plant physically once per week, so we have very limited leasing hours available for guided tours. Tour24 lets prospects conveniently tour our property on demand and on their own schedule.”

Given her numerous responsibilities, Mayo also appreciates the minimal effort that’s required to manage the Tour24 tool. “The time that I have to spend managing it is almost zero,” she notes. “It truly takes care of itself. I just take an apartment on or off the availability list here and there, but that takes maybe five minutes — if that.”

Crucially, the time Tour24 saves Mayo frees her up to focus on work that adds the most value. “Using Tour24 I don’t spend even close to as much time with in-person tours as I would normally have to. I do maybe one or two tours in person per week. It really frees up my time to take care of other things that really contribute to the overall resident experience.”