How Will Virtual Reality Change Leasing?
Let’s be honest here…virtual reality is not for everyone, specifically virtual reality headsets. If you’re like my wife who gets carsick from driving straight down a regular road in the passenger seat (I promise it’s not my driving ability that is the problem), then it’s probably not a smart idea to try out something like the International Space Station app on the Oculus Quest. Nonetheless, virtual reality technology can be beyond useful for leasing apartments, even in situations where VR headsets are not involved.
Customer service in leasing is possibly the most important piece of the apartment puzzle. Serving a prospective resident could include attracting, touring and signing a lease, and keeping those residents leased and renewed long term means…cha-ching. And we know it’s crucial to have a well-oiled operation to maintain happy residents. In any case, operators are always looking to improve the process of customer service and getting the most out of its on-site leasing staff. This began with contact submission forms on a website, offering a phone number to call leasing staff, call center services, and then chatbots. Chatbots have been the industry standard for several years now, but there is still one problem. It always feels like a non-human interaction…which of course is true, it’s not human. But, there are ways to make it feel more like a human conversation. This is where Virtual Reality/Artificial Intelligence comes in. Humanizing a chatbot to converse with users gives a realistic view and more positive assistance. We’ve talked a little bit about this more on a past blog, “How Human Should Your Chatbot Be?”.
360 cameras have come a long way, like a loooooooong way. My first exposure to a 360 came from a small cube with about 10 GoPros mounted to it. This was also before any internal stabilization like GoPro’s HyperSmooth, so anytime you used the device it had to be on a tripod with no movement. I remember seeing a video of a guy wearing a helmet with a similar 10 GoPro setup having to walk with his head as still as possible, any small shaky movement and the video would give you a headache just watching it. Luckily, now we have many consumer and professional grade 360 cameras that are much easier to use, have much better quality, and best yet…internal camera stabilization. Anyways, how does this translate to leasing? Companies like Peek and Matterport, and many other freelancers who choose to invest in similar technology, can take 360 photos inside apartments and make full scans of apartments so prospects have the best possible view without actually seeing it in person. View it on a computer by clicking around or even through a VR headset and interact with the apartment as if you are actually walking around. Other camera makers like Apple have also introduced LiDAR technology into their phone cameras. LiDAR is super beneficial for faster autofocus, especially in low light, but it also gives consumers a chance to scan an entire room, house, or building with a phone, and view it back. All of this tech introduces ways for prospective residents to have the best possible ways of viewing your property and units.
Creating Floor Plans
One of the most stressful parts about moving into a new place is moving and fitting furniture. Depending on how similar a former home is to a new home, residents typically don’t know how they will set up furniture until after they move in. Luckily, there are now lots of apps and technology that can help take your measurements and place them into a setting where you can create a floor plan with your furniture. While this may not directly relate to virtual reality, it’s still important to note the innovative ideas and tech that go along with prospects viewing and imaging themselves within a space.
Virtual Reality is going to play a huge part in leasing apartments in the future…mark my word. Us here at Quext are already utilizing AI and virtual reality in our Digital Human. Check it out!