Tackling Trends: Why You Need to Add Online Tour Scheduling to Your Apartment Website Today

by | May 2, 2019 | Apartment Marketing

“If we can get them to tour the property, my leasing team will close the deal.”

This line, which is often expressed by apartment marketers, not only speaks to the value of great leasing professionals but also the critical role property tours play in the leasing process.

However, the physical tour is only part of the experience tied to booking and getting a prospect to show up for a visit.

Here at 30 Lines, we often talk about the importance of putting yourself in the renter’s shoes and then walking around for a bit. If you were shopping for an apartment today, you would want the experience to be as frictionless, or free from hurdles encountered during the leasing process, as possible.

You also expect a similar frictionless experience when you book a hotel reservation or schedule a dentist appointment online.

As an apartment marketer, your goal is to make it as easy as possible for apartment shoppers to do business with you.

Automating your tour calendar to let apartment shoppers see available times and schedule their appointment can have an impact – not only for the prospect but also your leasing team.

Multifamily pros using a tour scheduler with 30 Lines see that 89% of prospects who schedule their appointment online are showing up for their tour. And out of those individuals who do tour, nearly 40% go on to rent.

Yardi and other multifamily service providers also report seeing a 30% lift in conversion rates when incorporating a tour scheduler into the marketing stack.

If you don’t currently have a tour scheduler on your property website, it’s time to take action and help your leasing team get more prospects in the door, so they can close more leases.

Allow apartment shoppers to book a tour at the height of their interest

How many steps and how much time does it take a prospect to set an appointment with your team, or schedule a tour? Do they have to call your leasing office? Do they have to complete an online form and wait for a response?

From our research, we see about 40-60% of leads collected through our clients’ websites come in after hours.

Keep that experience in mind and consider these metrics from Social Media Today:

54% of customers have stopped purchasing from a website because it was too difficult to find or choose the right product, while 71% have switched to a different site because they made the buying process more manageable.

You want to make it as easy as possible for a prospect to book a tour at the height of their interest – whether that’s during or after business hours.

If the prospect is convinced they’re ready to view your apartments, don’t make it harder for them to do that. When you force them to call or email and then wait, it just gives them more time to check out your competitors.

And there is no need to do any of this work manually. Appointment scheduling tools can manage this portion of the tour experience for you, and they can do it with more ease and fewer headaches.

With a tour scheduler in place, you can allow prospects to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments all from your apartment website. Prospects can choose the date and time that works best for them – just like when you go online to book a hotel or schedule a dentist appointment.

So why not steal a page from your favorite hotel chain or even your local dentist, and offer an easy way for prospects to schedule their tours straight from your apartment website?

3 ways an online scheduler eases the burden on your team and improves customer experience

Installing an online tour schedule may seem like a simple solution, but it can have an enormous impact – both for your leasing team and prospects. Here are three big ways this eases the burden on your team and creates an easy, remarkable experience for your prospects:

 

1. It reduces back-and-forth communication between leasing agents and prospects
Let’s go back to the number of steps it takes a prospect to schedule a tour. Consider the number of back-and-forth emails on average your team facilitates before confirming a date and time with a prospect.

You know the typical process. A prospect submits a contact form through your property website. A leasing agent responds when the lead comes through. The prospect lets the leasing agent know they’re interested in a tour. The leasing agent sends an email reminder as the day approaches –  if they remember and don’t get pulled away by something else.

It’s a tedious process for all parties involved.

Compare that email volley to an online scheduler, like this one on Current at the Banks’ website, which allows a prospect to view available tour times and make appointments for themselves. Plus, they can add the appointment to their personal Google Calendar with just one click.

Additionally, prospects automatically receive confirmation and reminder emails, which help boost tour attendance. The property staff gets a notification that a new tour has been added to their schedule, too.

2. Apartment shoppers can set up a tour when it’s convenient for them
As previously mentioned, we’ve seen that at least 40% of website leads come in after office hours. Prospects don’t want to wait until your leasing office opens to receive a response from your team. With an online tour scheduler in place, there’s no need to wait until the next day to get a reply from your leasing staff.

Plus, it makes it just as easy for a prospect to schedule a tour from their mobile device as from their computer.

3. It makes it easier to manage your team’s availability
When a prospect schedules a tour, that time slot is automatically pulled from the list of available times on your website. And it works the other way, too. Your leasing team can lock down particular time slots and only allow for a specific number of appointments. That makes it easier for your team to account for walk-in traffic and eliminates the potential for double booking.

You can also manage when each agent is available for tours, and set exceptions to the schedule (which is especially handy around the holidays).

 

Make it easier for apartment shoppers to do business with you

Today, apartment hunters expect to have the ability to schedule a tour directly from your property website. If your site isn’t meeting this expectation, they’ll quickly move on to a competing property website that allows them to easily book a tour.

We previously covered the six expectations your property website should meet. An online tour scheduler connects with all of these expectations in some way.

Self-service scheduling is a low-cost investment with a high potential for improving customer experience and streamlining the leasing process. That way, your leasing team can focus on building stronger relationships with the prospects who are walking in the door to tour and current residents.

If online tour scheduling is something you’d like to add to your apartment website, let’s connect.

Originally written by Melanie McIntyre and published in 2014, the article was updated in 2019.

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