Residential real estate agencies have been using virtual tours of their properties for a while now and finding that they are popular with buyers who can visit homes at their leisure. Commercial agencies, however, are catching up with an estimated 75% of commercial real estate professionals already use virtual tours — and 90% of them will do so within the next two years. Those numbers come from a research report from Resonai, a computer vision and augmented reality company.
The rapid adoption of virtual tours within the real estate industry is being driven by the technology’s impact on the bottom line, as 90% of adopters report increased revenue. Based on a survey of 300 real estate professionals, the “State of Virtual Tours in Commercial Real Estate” report explores the impact this new technology is having on the industry.
Virtual tours are interactive experiences delivered using the web on mobile, or desktop applications that simulate the experience of navigating a physical property. Commercial real estate professionals use the technology to improve performance across their sales and marketing endeavors, from improving prospect qualification to providing employee training. While virtual tours were growing in popularity before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed significant adoption within the space.
Surveying the Pros
In July of 2022, Resonai surveyed hundreds of industry professionals — 49% of whom were senior management — to better understand virtual tours’ impact on commercial real estate. The survey’s key findings suggest:
- Widespread perception of value: Nearly all (91%) of real estate professionals believe virtual tours provide value, whether they have already implemented the tech or not.
- Marketing impact driving adoption: Enhanced marketing efficacy is the top motivation driving adoption, as mentioned by 62% of those who’ve implemented the technology. Other leading motivations include improved prospect viewing experiences (55%), lead generation (39%), and prospect filtering (29%).
- Significant real-world benefits: Along with boosting revenue, adopters say virtual tours enhance brand perception (95%), prospect viewing experiences (92%), prospect qualification (85%), employee training (82%), and qualified prospect volume (92%).
Commercial real estate developers can also use AR (augmented reality) to show future properties to potential tenants. AR can help reduce the obstacles prospects face when trying to see themselves in a space; unfinished rooms can become fully realized, storage areas filled, furniture moved around to make the space an office. With the ability to resolve deal-breakers, developers leveraging AR are at a distinct advantage to those who don’t.
AR’s advanced visualization capabilities allow developers and architects to iterate on design choices rapidly. It also can help builders spot construction problems earlier, ensuring that projects stay on track. Finally, landlords can use AR as a management tool to quickly address repairs, reducing the time it can take to resolve their tenant’s concerns.
When it comes to reaching untapped markets, AR opens-up a world of possibilities. Because the technology supports remote property touring, international clientele can feel at home even from afar. Locals can discover and explore nearby rentals via AR-enabled apps: just holding a smartphone near an intriguing property could activate a virtual visit.
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