INMAN – Tour24’s self-guided apartment tours are catching on — is residential next?
By Craig C. Rowe
April 10, 2019
With facial recognition, carefully managed tour schedules and beacons that provide data to managers, the company is helping renters see apartments on their own.
Tour24 is an app for facilitating agent-less apartment tours.
Platforms: iOS and Android; browser
Ideal for: Leasing agents, new condo sales, model home tours, accommodating “drive-by” tours
Top selling points
-Lease close rate on par with agent-led tours
-Consumer-driven, intuitive UI
-In-tour audio and text alerts
As with all self-tour apps, security of the unit and identity of the individual are an issue.
What you should know
There’s almost no way to be 100 percent certain that the person touring a home or apartment is who they say they are.
However, in agentless tours, at least the risk to a person is ameliorated. Additionally, security devices, cameras and other forms of verification can do enough to at least identify a suspect should something go missing.
All that said, Tour24 does a very thorough job of identifying potential renters interested in using the app to visit a property. It requires a selfie and a valid credit card before a tour will be approved, and individual property managers can decide to activate facial recognition at the entry point, based on the selfie.
Property managers can use Tour24 during busy times or on weekends, when leasing offices are often closed. The company stated in a demonstration with Inman that 75 percent of its users have been on weekends and that the close rate on visits using the app is 25 percent.
The app has been active for four months with communities in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.
In the D.C. area, self-guided tours can be conducted at South Cathedral Mansions, a 165-unit luxury apartment community, owned and operated by Oculus Realty in the Woodley Park neighborhood.
A property in San Luis Obispo, California, will come online later this month.
Tour24 isn’t literal, as the leasing office can determine the hours the app allows, monitor time-in and out, and set the schedules for the validity of the smart lock’s access code.
Beacons, or “smart-motion sensors” communicate with an administrative dashboard to record times spent in each room and general apartment traffic, which could in turn to be used to make better marketing decisions about staging or areas of the space that should be highlighted.
The beacons and alerts combine to share with the renter points of interest about the apartment and surrounding amenities.
Tour24 labels can be published on an apartment community’s website, and clicking it starts the process for the consumer.
When a tour is completed, prospective renters can offer immediate feedback on the unit, and be presented with a “lease now” option that launches into the community’s online transaction tools.
At this time the product is targeted toward amenity-rich apartment communities, but the overlap for condominium developments, urban high-rise sales environments and even new construction is quite evident.
But given Tour24’s current startup period, it’s likely that if it was approached to provide its product for a sales environment, they would quickly acquiesce.
In summary, Tour24 can extend the hours of a property’s leasing activity and assist over-burdened office staff with the same degree of transaction efficacy.
Overall, it’s a good looking product with the user experience chops and marketing timing to make an impact.