Think about the last time you used your smartphone to order delivery from your favorite local restaurant—how easy was it? How about reading reviews and making a purchasing decision for that hair dye you want? There’s something about social distancing that makes us all want a new hairdo for some reason. But the process was simple, right? The retail and hospitality industries have made it easy for their customers to interact and purchase from them with the help of technology.
The multifamily industry is catching on. More than ever before, property managers and owners are embracing technology. With so many new solutions available to help decrease vacancy, engage with prospects, and better serve residents, creating a “virtual leasing office” can bring huge value to your properties.
Here are just a few ways that you can digitize your leasing office, so you can increase your virtual leasing game:
Self-guided tours make it easier and faster, for both leasing staff and prospects, to rent an apartment. It offers a no pressure, on-demand experience that renters can appreciate. Plus, it is a touch-less experience that allows your leasing staff to maintain social distancing. In most cases, prospects must share their identification and credit card up front before starting their self-guided tour. This allows you to securely grant them access to view your property’s model units and amenities. Using smart locks and camera systems that integrate with your self-tour can help your leasing staff keep an eye on the action. Don’t have smart locks? Simply leaving the show unit open for securely monitored, two-hour window could suffice. Be sure to properly sanitize the unit after each self-guided tour.
Virtual reality tours are a great solution if your property can no longer show physical units. You can quickly set up a tour using Google’s Tour Creator right from your computer. If your prospects already have a VR viewer, they may use it to take the tour on their own. If they do not, the Google Cardboard VR viewer can be purchased for just $15 bucks and can be shipped to more serious prospects as a small gift. Another alternative is a 3D apartment tour. This type of tour can be available on your property website or advertisement listing. It allows prospects to click and drag their mouse through a series of panoramic and 3D photos, so they can instantly navigate the features and layout of a unit.
Giving your prospects the option to tour an apartment from the comfort of their own home is a must-have right now. Plus, with video conferencing like FaceTime and Zoom, it’s very easy to accomplish. Leasing agents can create a video tour in two ways: a live video tour or pre-recorded video tour. A live video tour is beneficial as the leasing agent can still make a personal connection with the prospect, answer any questions they have, and speed up or slow down the tour as needed. With a pre-recorded video tour, it offers an on-demand tour that can be easily sent to prospects at any time.
When doing a video tour, whether it be a recording or live with a prospect, agents may need to slightly adjust their selling techniques. Be sure to point out things that may not be obvious in video, as they would be in person. Things like quality of materials or whether or not furniture can fit into the room.
Many leasing offices are understaffed right now, and are overwhelmed with questions regarding rent, maintenance, and more. According to LeaseHawk data, in the last 30 days (3/15/20 – 4/14/20) it is taking agents upwards of 23.5 hours to return a phone call, and 20.8 hours to respond to an email. With response times like this, it’s no question that leads will move on the next option and you miss your opportunity to close a lease.
Virtual leasing assistants, or chatbots, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help your team answer the phone and chat on your website—whether it be after-hours or when they’re just simply unavailable. ACE, the virtual leasing assistant from LeaseHawk, answers calls, chats on your website, and sends text messages. It gives prospects the information they need on unit pricing, availability and amenities, and will even attempt to convert the prospect to a virtual tour. Having a virtual leasing assistant is like having another member of the leasing team and is more consistent and cost-effective than a call center.
Give your residents what they need without having to leave your property with a smart vending machine or “robotic convenience store”. The machines are stocked with everyday items your renters will love, from laundry detergent to Le Croix to lunch on the go. It learns what’s selling and what type of items it should stock depending on the demographic of your property.
According to Property Management Insider, one Texas multifamily property is generating about $2,500 a week from their Stockwell robotic convenience store.
There’s a lot of paperwork that can go into signing a lease. Minimize the amount of paper that your leasing team has to fill out by using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
CRM software can create paperless guest cards, organize all of your prospect communications, and allow your team to answer calls, send texts and email from their laptop or smartphone—no need to be in a physical leasing office.
When your properties use technology to improve customer service, you’ll find that your leasing process can become easier and faster. The elements of a virtual leasing office are no longer a nice-to-have, they’re a necessity. Millennials and Gen Z are the largest cohort of renters in the U.S. and they expect for their rental experience to be just as easy as getting a delivery.
Are you up to the challenge to fulfill that? LeaseHawk can help. Get in touch with us to learn about the technology available today to get your virtual leasing office up-and-running.
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LeaseHawk’s ACE is the industry leader in this evolving virtual leasing assistant technology, as one of the first to make NLP a reality for its clients. NLP-enabled chatbots create prospect interactions that are more valuable to rental prospects and leasing professionals than other systems.
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