Filling an empty unit in a multifamily property can be a time-consuming process, requiring communication, scheduling, and tours with interested renters. And those renters are often left wishing for more convenience and privacy. It can be difficult to imagine an empty unit as your next home with a stranger following you from room to room. 

That’s why more and more multifamily properties are opting for self-guided tours, giving prospects the independence and privacy to experience the space as they choose—and empowering management to fill units fast. 

Recently, social distancing measures have made apartment tours even more complicated for leasing staff and prospects. For some properties, the requirements of social distancing have halted new leases entirely. But self-guided tours allow for business as usual. Especially now, this contactless option makes everyone feel more comfortable and secure.

Prospects Want the Independence of Self-guided Tours 

A self-guided tour is a big perk for potential renters. They can book a tour through an app or through the property website, just like they would order food delivery or book a ride to the airport on their phone. This type of technology-enabled independence is what consumers are growing accustomed to—and it’s something that more of them expect in the apartment shopping process, too. 

The availability and convenience for booking a tour can be the deciding factor for seeing one property over another.

When a property offers self-guided tours, prospects don’t have to call and leave a voicemail with the leasing office, or follow-up with phone tag. They don’t have to notify anyone if they’re running late. And without a leasing agent or broker, prospects have the privacy to discuss the space amongst family members or roommates. There is no risk of feeling rushed or pressured. And should they have questions, it’s easy to follow-up with an agent after their tour. 

Self-Guided Tours Fill Units Faster 

Self-guided tours are great for prospects—but the benefits are even greater for multi-unit property owners looking to fill units fast, reducing the time that units are empty and increasing revenue for the building. 

The most time-intensive step of this process is often scheduling and providing tours. 

When leasing staff must be present for all tours, they’re limited in how many tours they can offer each day—especially if they’re traveling between properties. If a prospect can’t reach someone at the office, or can’t easily coordinate a time to meet someone for a tour, they can quickly be lost to a property with options that match their needs. 

“The implementation of self-guided showings has increased the conversion of leads to showings by approximately 2x,” says Tina Mortera, Vice President of Marketing and Training, Progress Residential, in a report for the National Apartment Association

Self-guided tours make it easier to offer more tours with more flexible options for everyone. And more tours mean faster signings. Prospects can choose a tour from a window of available times, and leasing staff don’t have to reschedule their day around multiple tours, missed appointments, or late arrivals. Meanwhile, leasing staff are free to use that time on more efficient steps in the sales process, like following up with interested parties, answering questions, and providing better service to their current residents. 

Data from The National Multifamily Housing Council show that lease conversion rates increase by 86% when prospects are allowed to independently tour a unit. 

Smart Home Technology Makes for Seamless Transition to Self-Guided Tours 

The key to success for self-guided tours is simplicity. Before self-guided tours can be an effective tour for a property, the tools must all be in place.

Some properties opt for low-tech versions of self-guided tours, with lockbox access to empty units. But more and more properties are incorporating smart home technology to better facilitate the self-guided tour experience—automating every step from scheduling to locking the doors when prospects leave. 

Advancements in smart home technology are making it easier to offer self-guided tours that run smoothly. 

The new Prospect tour feature from IOTAS allows owners to integrate self-guided tours through the IOTAS app. When prospects arrive and use the smart lock to enter, IOTAS smart home technology enhances the entire experience, prompting lights to turn on and temperatures to be set for energy efficiency and a comfortable environment. 

Self-guided tours make sense now more than ever—and multifamily units that adopt them are getting ahead of the game. With more and more properties adopting self-guided tours along with the technology for seamless integration, it will become a necessity instead of a perk. 

Learn more about Prospect Tour