Apartment Leasing

Self-Touring: A Distant Procedure That Must Remain Personal

by Brent Steiner

Self-touring already had been considered the wave of the future in the apartment world. Then the pandemic arrived and left no doubt. 

But while self-guided tours might imply a distant, do-it-yourself atmosphere, they are not as detached as they sound. Self-touring prospects might not want the direct side-by-side assistance of a leasing agent, but they still crave a customized experience created solely for their journey.

Often referred to as the snowflake of the multifamily industry for that reason, property management teams have clamored to find the best platform to offer that personalized DIY experience. But therein exists the dichotomy for onsite teams: While every self-tour must be truly unique and catered to the needs of the prospect—all while contemplating property type, local submarket market and renter demographic—the tech behind it should be a one-size-fits-all solution. 

While various self-tour options are on the market, clunky technology won’t cut it. Any solution that doesn’t integrate with a property management system has the propensity to cause more headaches than convert leases. Without software and hardware compatibility, the prospect experience could end up disjointed rather than customized. 

Why is it so important for the backend to be properly integrated? Here are a few self-tour capabilities that can be created:

  • The ability to self-schedule. Prospects who prefer a self-guided tour typically want to schedule it themselves. If they cannot do so through your website, they might choose to move along.
  • Property access. Many communities are gated and have controlled access to amenity spaces. A prospect will not have access to these spaces on their visit. With an integrated self-tour system, a remote agent can digitally unlock these entryways as the prospect moves about the community.
  • Maps and recordings. In addition to remote agents, communities sometimes offer a recorded tour for self-tour prospects. Others forego the recording but provide an interactive map to help the prospect navigate the property. Prospects need access to the recordings and maps, and will have no difficulties finding them if they’re integrated through the self-tour platform. 
  • Instant leasing options. Some prospects might be enamored with the community and want to start the application process immediately. It would serve as a buzz kill if they were able to self-tour, but had to call or visit the leasing office to get started. Make sure the option to apply while touring is incorporated into the self-tour platform. 

A self-tour platform essentially serves the role of an airplane when heading to a destination. While all the passengers have a personal experience planned for the destination, the medium to get there is all the same. Any problems with the plane can disrupt the journey for everyone, underscoring the importance to make sure everything is smooth on the backend.

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