Apartment Leasing

The Power of Self-Guided Tours, Prospects “Trade in Their Own Currency”

by Todd Katler

Self-guided tours were inching their way towards the multifamily mainstream before the coronavirus hit.

Now, with the need for social distancing still here, they’re much more common across the apartment industry. And when you see the impact they have on leasing, I think you’ll realize this is a solution that is here to stay. 

Consider the case of an apartment operator that implemented SGTs early in Q2 of this year. During that quarter – granted, this is only three months of data – the management company experienced some pretty staggering results: 

  • Prospects who completed a self-guided tour at any point in the leasing process had a 54% higher conversion rate compared to those who only took an agent-led tour. 
  • One out of every four prospects who used an SGT leased.
  • 67% of prospects who leased after self-touring completed an SGT as their first tour. 
  • 33% of prospects who leased after self-touring completed an SGT as a subsequent tour. 
  • The average prospect completed 1.5 tours.

The Big Picture

Clearly, SGTs can have a tremendously beneficial impact on a community’s leasing efforts. But while some prospects prefer to self-tour, some still want to go the traditional, agent-led route. 

Prospects need to be able to “trade in their own currency,” by which I mean an operator has to enable a lead to interact with a community in the way the prospect wants to. 

Think Baskin-Robbins: they have 31 flavors because different people want different stuff! Another company to consider is Zappos – anyone who’s ever done business with them knows they are perhaps the example in how to create customer satisfaction. That’s because they are completely agnostic in how customers interact with them, whether it’s by phone, text, email or chat.

Some apartment prospects will want a completely self-serve experience. Others will want a tour that is led by an agent. Many prospects will want to communicate via SMS or web chat, while others will want to talk to a live person 24/7. Whatever people want, offer it! 

That’s how you beat your competition – by allowing prospects to engage with you how they want, when they want. And lots of today’s prospects want to take SGTs!

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