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How to offer Self-guided Tours at Your Apartment Community

How to offer Self-guided Tours at Your Apartment Community

What you need to offer self-guided apartment tours: (1.) Technology platform (2.) Browser-based application (3.) Smart locks (4.) Building Access Control (5.) CRM Integration.

Why you should offer self-guided tours

As an owner or manager of an apartment community, offering self-guided tours can be a game-changer for your business. In today’s fast-paced world, potential renters value flexibility and convenience. Self-guided tours can offer just that, allowing renters to tour your community at their own pace and on their own schedule. When a prospect requests a self-guided tour they are signaling that they are truly interested in your community – not just window shopping.

What are self-guided-apartment tours?

Self-guided apartment tours are a modern way for renters to tour an apartment community on their own, without the presence of a leasing agent. These tours are typically facilitated by technology such as a mobile app. Renters are able to explore the community on their own, viewing amenities, floor plans, and other important features at their own pace.

Offering self-guided tours has numerous benefits for apartment communities. First and foremost, it allows potential renters to tour your community at their own convenience. With self-guided tours, renters can schedule a tour outside of normal business hours, or on a weekend when leasing agents may not be available.

Additionally, self-guided tours can help reduce the workload for your leasing agents. While renters to take a self-guided tour, you can free up your leasing agents’ time to focus on more complex tasks, such as answering questions or closing deals.

Self-guided apartment tour industry data

The multifamily industry has seen significant growth in self-guided tours in recent years. According to a survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council, 37% of apartment operators currently offer self-guided tours, with an additional 31% planning to offer them in the future.

In addition, a survey by Zillow found that 40% of renters prefer self-guided tours over in-person tours, and 82% of renters who take a self-guided tour end up leasing a unit.

Benefits of self-guided apartment tours:

Self-guided apartment tours have numerous benefits for apartment communities. Here are some of the most notable benefits:

  1. Increased Flexibility: Self-guided tours allow renters to tour your community on their own schedule, without a leasing agent present.
  2. Wider Audience: By offering self-guided tours, you can attract renters who may not be able visit during normal business hours.
  3. Reduced Workload: Self-guided tours can help free up your leasing agents’ time, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.
  4. Improved Conversion Rates: According to a survey by Zillow, 82% of renters who take a self-guided tour end up leasing a unit.
  5. Cost Savings: By reducing the workload for your leasing agents, you can potentially reduce staffing costs.

A technology platform provides a dashboard captures the data from prospect renters that book a self-guided tour tour. This data is also integrated with your CRM and with access control systems like Openpath.

Tours are booked and scheduled through a browser-based application that offers wayfinding to assist the prospect tenant as they walk the property.

Technologies needed for self-guided tours of your apartments

Self-guided tours requires some initial investment in technology. At a minimum, you will need a technology platform coupled with a mobile app. The technology platform is needed to tie everything together – the mobile app, IoT hardware, integrations, and your existing property management system. The mobile app should be browser-based and easy to use, allowing renters to book a tour, access community information, and view floor plans and amenities as well.

Self-guided touring solution should include:

  1. Technology platform with a dashboard to manage tours settings and preferences.
  2. Browser-based application to schedule tours, provide tour wayfinding, and share data with your leasing team.
  3. Smart locks to provide keyless access to vacant apartment units.
  4. Optional integration with building access control devices so prospects can enter buildings and amenities.
  5. Integration to your CRM so that prospect profile information is shared with your leasing team.

The benefit of using a browser-based application as opposed to an app downloaded to a phone is that prospects will resist downloading an app just to take a tour of your property. After all the goal is to make it as easy as possible for a prospect to explore your property.

Self-guided tours are different than virtual tours

There are many options on the market today that offer various solutions, but not all of them are the same. Some are virtual tour systems, and some are called “touchless” self-guided tour solutions. The word “touchless” is used because the prospective renter is physically present during the tour, but they do not need a leasing agent on hand to guide them.

A virtual apartment tour is an off-site experience where a prospect is viewing video and images of the property and resident units on their computer, maybe at home or the office. On the other hand, a self-guided tour allows the prospect to physically walk the property, enter buildings, and see vacant units for themselves.

How the self-guided tour process works

Requesting a tour is easy and can scheduled from comfort of their home or while on premises. Begin by scanning a QR code that is placed on your property’s website or on a nearby sign outside the leasing office. The QR code links to a browser-based touring application that is optimized for mobile and branded to your property.

Requesting an apartment tour

Next, select from your inventory of apartment units available to rent – one, two, or three bedroom. Then choose the date and time to tour – you can tour one or multiple units. The beauty is that your leasing team can enable tours of vacant units or model units, plus they have full control over tour schedules.

Self-guided apartment tours are scheduled online. View available apartments to tour, select a convenient day and time, then request a tour.

Prospects enter profile information, upload their drivers liscense to varify idenity, and submit a facial scan from thier mobile device.

These features should be top of mind

Make your self-guided tour experience safe and helpful as possible by offering features that address security, assisted navigation, and keyless access to the apartment.

Identity verification

It’s important to have confidence that welcomed visitors are here for the right reasons. Guest submit contact information and a valid government ID, as well as a biometric selfie scan. Verification is accepted or denied on the spot. If accepted, a passcode is issued via text so the guest can access buildings and the apartment unit.

Wayfinding helps them explore the property

Let prospects see more of your property. A self-touring solution with wayfinding ensures your prospect is seeing the most desired aspects of your community. Amenities like the gym, pool, and common areas like a roof top lounge are among the top areas to visit. Additionally, you can grant secure access to these areas by integrating smart building access readers. This type of controlled access will provide a seamless tour experience and improve overall security of your building as well.

Use the Smart Lock to grant access to vacant units

Now that the future renter has seen the best features of your property, it’s time to give them access to the apartment. The temporary passcode is used to unlock the smart lock on the apartment door. After exploring the apartment, the smart lock can automatically lock the door on their way out.

Wayfinding helps guide the prospect and highlights popular ammenities. Enter the door to the gym by tapping “unlock” on your smartphone.

Guests enter the apartment by entering a temporary PIN on the smark lock keypad.

Actionable data sent to your leasing team

Finally, as the tour is completed, your leasing team is automatically notified. Then prospect profile data is automatically sent to your (CRM) customer relationship management system. As a result, you have contact information, type of lease term they are interested in, and a target mov-in date. Next, follow up and close the lease!

A dashboard notifies leasing teams when a self-guided tour is schduled, the requested move-in date, lease term duration, and more.

Self-guided apartment tours with iApartments

iApartments self-guided tours are available for all multifamily communities. Let your prospects see themselves in your community by giving them the opportunity to tour your property on their own schedule.

We have streamlined the entire apartment self-touring process – from scheduling and identity verification, to temporary access into buildings and the apartment itself – it’s all automated.

As a full-service self-guided tour solution, we provide the software, smart locks, and integrations to make apartment tours easy for everyone.

Learn More About iApartments Industry Leading Smart Apartments Platform. 

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Tips on Self-guided Tours for Apartments

Tips on Self-guided Tours for Apartments

5 Tips to make your self-guided tours a success

Offering self-guided tours at an apartment community can be a great way to provide prospective renters with flexibility and convenience, especially during times when in-person tours may not be possible or desirable.

Recommended Read: How to offer Self-guided Tours at Your Apartment Community.

Here are some tips to consider when offering self-guided tours:

  1. Determine the best technology to use: There are a variety of technology options available for self-guided tours, including lockboxes, smart locks, and mobile apps. Consider a solution that prioritizes identity varification for security purposes and way-finding that guides the prospect to featured amenities and the model unit itself. In lieu of physical keys, that are too easy to copy, ask about smart locks for easy and secure access to the apartment unit.
  2. Communicate the option: Make sure that prospective renters are aware that self-guided tours are an option. This could be through your website, social media, or free standing signs that display a QR code to schedule the tour.
  3. Verify for safety: Make sure all touring guests are there for the right reasons. Any reputable self-guided tour solution should require guests to submit a valid drivers liscense and biometric selfie scan.
  4. Access to top amenities: Make sure the prospect sees the amenities that differenciate your property from the rest. Let them spend time alone to imagine their own living experience.
  5. CMS Integration: A best-in-class self-guided tour solution should offer seamless integration with to your customer management system (CMS) so important data is passed to your system.

Self-guided apartment tours with iApartments

With iApartments self-guided tours, apartment tours are easier than ever for prospective residents. Because the entire process is automated, prospects no longer need a leasing agent to guide them. Our self-guided tour solution takes care of the details from online tour scheduling and turn-by-turn way-finding to keyless access to the apartment unit itself.

Instead of limiting tour to normal business hours, communities can expand tour hours from early mornings to later in the eavening. Leasing teams no longer need to manage the labor intensive process of scheduling tours and guiding prospect around the property. Studies show, if given the option, 36 percent of prospects choose a self-guided tour when given the option. And self-guided apartment tours increase lease coversions rates by 86 percent.

iApartments self-guided tours help you sign more leases and save money by:

  • Automating the tour scheduling process
  • Increase the number of tours per month
  • Enabling you to expend apartment tour hours
  • Capturing prospect profile infomation
  • Reporting prospect move-in date and desired lease term
  • Reducing the staff overhead to manage tours
  • Removes the need for expensive key track systems

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Smart Building Insights for a Successful Rollout

Smart Building Insights for a Successful Rollout

Lay the groundwork for a successful rollout

As more and more multifamily owner operators look to partner with smart apartment technology providers, it’s important to understand how to implement smart apartment technology in order to lay the groundwork for a successful rollout. iApartments Chief Product Officer, Steve Fiske, offers valuable smart building insights to consider.

About Steve Fiske: Steve is a smart home and IoT veteran with over 15 years of experience designing smart products for the masses. He is one of the co-inventors of the world’s first smart lock. Steve and his co-founders launched iApartments, an enterprise-level smart apartment platform that automates asset protection, access control, and operational efficiencies for multifamily property owners, managers.

Set your team up for success

The first consideration is ongoing training and collaboration, for management, maintenance teams, and residents. It is important for tech providers to offer an introduction to the technology. A hands-on experience really helps them see the added value that comes with smart technology.

“Labor shortages within multifamily have produced gaps in operational procedures. Often, property staff and maintenance capabilities are stretched thin. Therefore, ongoing training will keep existing employees knowledgeable and will help new hires get up to speed on the technology and hardware.” said Steve Fiske. iApartments policy is to have a project manager on-site over a month in advance of installation. They train and educate community success managers so they can teach new team members.

Secondly, owner operators should consider which integrations are required, and will it integrate seamlessly with existing software. They should find out exactly who will handle these integrations.

“Will the smart apartment technology integrate with your property management system? When integrated properly, many manual tasks can be automated. For example, when a new resident is added to a property management system, credentials can automatically synchronize with the smart technology platform. As a result, the resident is able to seamlessly move in upon signing a lease.” Look for a smart technology platform that can integrate with multiple PMS systems. Above and beyond all else, a seamless integration should simplify the workday of your team.

Thirdly, take advantage of an enterprise-level smart technology platform. Preferably, one that can handle device updates seamlessly in the background. If your team or residents are manually having to update devices, it complicates workflow and resident’s lives.

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Smart Apartment Technology Integrations

Smart Apartment Technology Integrations

Integrations that simplify your team’s workday

Technology integrations are an important and effective way to add new features to the apartment living experience. One specific integration that is popular within multifamily is smart building access control. 

In multifamily buildings, access control systems are crucial for ensuring the safety and security of the residents and their property. By limiting access to only authorized individuals. Additionally, residents feel a sense of safety and security, which can improve their quality of life.

This system uses smart technology hardware that allows residents, vendors, and property teams to securely enter buildings.

Smart apartment integrations with property management systems like Yardi, Realpage, or Entrata should be included. When smart apartment platforms seamlessly integrate with a PMS, many manual tasks can be automated.

Apartment owner operators should consider which integrations are required and will these systems seamlessly integrate with existing software. You should always ask who will handle these integrations? Will the property technology team be responsible? When you partner with an enterprise level smart apartment provider, many times they will be able to handle the integration for you.

Connectivity is important for smart apartment integrations

Ideally, the smart apartment system should offer full-time connectivity through a Smart Hub. Cellular connectivity eliminates the need for community wide Wi-Fi or DAS infrastructure, which can cost from $100 to $1,000 per unit. The system is integrated through the Cloud, which eliminates a significant potential cost. This makes owners happy.

Greystar’s Executive Managing Director Andrew Livingstone said of smart-home products, “We need to find platforms that integrate best with the various components (thermostats, lights, window blinds, etc. What kind of battery do life these systems have; what kind of after-hours service we can provide; and most importantly, how this technology can facilitate greater convenience for prospects wanting self-guided tours?”

iApartments checked all of those boxes for Greystar, which operates its 2Bayshore apartment community in Tampa., Fla., with this technology.

Integrations that improve efficiency

Smart apartment technology packages must be integrated with a community’s property management software. For example, when a new resident is added in the property management software, credentials can automatically synchronize with the smart locks. This automation allows the new resident to enjoy all of the feature of their smart apartment right away and it removes one more task for leasing teams.

Lifestyle Integrations

Look for smart apartment technology platforms that integrate best with various components. For the resident who prefers voice control, find systems that integrate with Alexa and Google Home, so they can command their in-unit IoT devices that way, just to their liking.

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6 Ways a Smart Technology System Helps Apartment Owners

6 Ways a Smart Technology System Helps Apartment Owners

Smart Apartment System

Today, multifamily owners are looking to improve resident lives with a smart apartment system that offers access control, a better way to manage energy costs, and asset protection. However, there are only few smart apartment platforms that built specifically for multifamily properties. If you speak to leading apartment property owners, many will tell you smart technology is an “absolute must have” not a “nice to have.”  This article will introduce first-hand accounts and considerations apartment operators are using to make decisions.

Holly Collins-Garcia, President, Wire Development

Wire Development installed smart apartment technology at a 222-unit property called Ayla on Krog, in Atlanta. Built in 2016 (five years old). Home to a younger demographic of residents ages from the low 20s to high 30s. It’s in the Fourth Ward trendy neighborhood along the Beltline that features trails; and where retail and other commercial property is being added.

Competitive Advantage

We looked to see which smart technology system was being used in apartment buildings around our area. Surprisingly, none of our competitors had a system installed. Today’s residents are looking for a smart connected community. So we needed a system that could easily retro-fit into our existing buildings. We also wanted an all-in-one smart technology package that included smart home devices for our residents. The iApartments’ smart apartment system allows our residents to use a single app to control all of their smart devices – smart lock, smart thermostat, and smart lights. It also integrates with our property management system. Now we can automatically reset smart lock access codes when we add or remove residents. That is is a game-changer for us and a competitive advantage.

Reducing Energy

We also want a way to reducing energy cost in vacant units. Energy usage is one of our largest expenses. With iApartments, they have a feature that allows us to reset vacant unit temperatures automatically once a resident moves out. With a couple clicks in the dashbaord we control the temperature of all vacant units. That’s powerful.

Residents Love the Convenience of Smart Locks

Smart locks are such a convenience to renters. If they need to give a friend or family member access to their apartment, they can simply send a limited time access code. This is especially useful for residents that use dog walkers. Once it was installed, our onsite team was assigned a service representative. Other smart apartment companies don’t do that. They ship the products, they show up without a property interface, and you’re left with that. It is important to choose a provider that checks all the boxes – provides an easy retrofit solution, powerful smart lock connectivity, and white glove installation and support.

Smart Locks Improve Property Operations

Property managers are seeing the benefits when it comes to going keyless. Smart locks end the need to walk back and forth from apartment unit to front office dozens of times per day. A 350-unit property, for example, cam save over 36 team hours per month by using smart locks. Plus, smart locks offer better security as there is no physical key that can be copied.

Smart Apartments Dashboard for Managers

Smart property dashboard allows property managers to assign temporary access to vacant units. This is especially useful when painters and carpet vendor need to access a unit for a limited amount of time. Sometimes vendors tend crank down the apartment temperature and leave it that way. This can cause energy cost to skyrocket. That’s where smart technology comes in to help manage energy costs. Managers can automatically adjust vacant unit temperature right in the smart property dashboard. These energy management tools are a game changer for multifamiliy owners looking to control energy costs.

Protect Apartment Property Assets with Smart Sensor Alerts

Smart Leak sensors is something that’s attractive to property owners and maintenance teams. It is recommended to place smart leak sensors in high-risk areas of each apartment, especially around the HVAC unit. Management can detect water and humidity alerts 24/7. Now you can fix the problem before the it becomes an expensive issue. Why risk tens-of-thousands of dollars in water damage when today’s smart technology can mitigate the risk? It’s a no brainer for us. We are even looking to save on our insurance premiums as well.

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