10 reasons why today’s real estate agents gotta say NO to traditional virtual tours

Just say NO to traditional virtual tour for real estateBefore we get into the reasons, lets make sure we are on the same page with the definition of – “Traditional Virtual Tour” for the real estate. By “Traditional Virtual Tour” I mean that your virtual tour satisfies one or more of the following conditions –

  • Virtual tour uses flash to display the content
  • Virtual tour can support images only
  • Virtual tour shows images in a slideshow manner on the service provider’s website
  • Virtual tour shows like a panoramic view on service provide’s website

There are more angles to look at the traditional virtual tours but lets just go ahead with these and see what kind of problems traditional virtual tours poses and why today’s real estate agents should say NO to this solution.

One last thing before we dive into the list is that during my RETechSouth trip, I learnt that the video-geek and one of the smartest agents I know – Amy S Harris – also believes that video tours are much better than traditional virtual tours. If you really want to learn more tips and tricks on real estate video – please follow Amy @amyoutloud on twitter

Ok, the list –

  1. Not using technology in the right way

    Technology is general is in very nascent stage and is evolving very fast. In my opinion, it is evolving faster than it is being adopted by masses. There are some early adopters in every industry that see the value of a new technology and figure out a way to use it to their advantage to gain a lead over their competition. There is no need to say that internet and technology has changed the way business is done in real estate industry. Photos and videos are so critical to a listing these days and there was a time when the best we could do was a flash-based-slideshow-looking-type virtual tour but with the options available now, this is just plain old technology. If you are still using traditional virtual tours, you are running the serious risk of delayed adoption of the newer technology – video, which basically means your prospects may end up working with your competitors.

  2. Your virtual tour is just another among several others

    If you are using traditional virtual tours, you are not alone. There are many others who are just afraid of change or simply do not know how to adopt video. However, it is not in your best interest and don’t be among the last to adopt the new and better technology. The mantra today in any business is to think outside of the box and to stay ahead of the curve. It takes effort but if you can provide better service to your customers than you are not just one of the many others who don’t.

    We believe that if it was simpler to adopt video, then more and more agents would go for it and that is why our goal at Tourzilla is to create a product that anyone can use with ease.

  3. Does not adjust according to the device view

    There is no need for me to say this because you probably already know that number of mobile users surpassed the number of internet user sometime back (year or two). As far as real estate market is concerned, the trend these days is that people browse homes in real world and virtual world, at the same time. The online traffic from mobile devices goes up significantly over the weekend when prospective buyers are just driving by their target neighborhood. Traditional virtual tours do not adjust the content to display the tour in a user friendly manner on a small screen, that is if it works on the mobile device. Not being able to display the content on user device in a manner that can convert them into leads is just a lost opportunity.

  4. (Usually) Does not work with iPhone

    iPhone is so important and unique in a way that this had to be a separate point in my list. As you probably already know that iPhone does not support flash and as I mentioned before that most of the traditional virtual tours use flash program to render the images in browser, which works for a PC but simply does not work on iPhone. As an alternative some virtual tour service providers just display the images in a slideshow manner within browser which again is a problem because of the small sized image that does not provide a pleasant user experience.

  5. Does not work across sites – Not portable

    Traditional virtual tours once created basically stay at one place – which is the service provider’s website. There is no direct portability of the tour which means if you need to include the tour on your own website, you basically end up giving link to the virtual tour service provide’s website and user need to click on the link to view the tour. I disagree with this approach. The agent should be able to take the tour wherever they want according to their marketing strategy.

  6. Does not support video

    Remember – “Picture is worth a thousand words” ? A video is basically a series of pictures put together in a container (video file) and a 10 seconds video could have somewhere between 150 to 200 pictures. So that means a 10 second video is basically worth 200 thousand words. Thats a lot to say in 10 seconds ;) The point here is that if you can showcase a house with video, than why use pictures and created the weird looking panoramic view. Traditional virtual tours do not allow agents to include videos in the tour and thats a big problem right there.

  7. Cannot leverage the social power

    This is a big one. How many times have you come across a real estate session on “using social media marketing”. If you cannot even share the tour directly on facebook as embedded content, it does not pass the litmus test as a fit product for me. Yes, you can share the link to the tour on facebook alright but that means a user who is interested in looking at the tour will have to click on the link to get to the tour. One extra step, one extra point of possible failure in lost opportunity.

  8. Cannot leverage youtube to improve search engine ranking

    Youtube is the second biggest search engine on the planet. Not only that Google organic searches now include results from Youtube. So after going through all the hard work of gathering all the pictures and creating the tours, at least I would like to be able to post the tour on youtube with the description that has a link back to my website. The primary goal with each tour from the agent’s standpoint is to sell the property but whats the harm in getting some SEO juice for your website to improve your search engine ranking? Well – the bad news is that it is not possible with traditional virtual tours, since its not a video most of the traditional virtual tour providers do not have the ability to post the tour on Youtube. Bad for them and bad for you.

  9. Does not give you the edge over other agents

    These last couple of points should be self-explanatory by now. Using traditional virtual tours does not put you ahead of other agents and does not provide a service to your clients that is at par with the best that technology has to offer.

  10. Not cool anymore – Videos are cooler

    You agree with this, don’t you? Videos are cool. If they weren’t cool, youtube would not be the third most used website in the world with millions and millions of videos uploaded everyday. As per a survey done by a third party agency, 85% of the customers said they would work with real estate agents who provide video. That is because people love video. They are cool and traditional virtual tours are not. Be cool, use video :)

  11. To see how Tourzilla help you overcome all the above listed issues, click here -Learn More

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