Enhancing User Engagement Through Interactive, Virtual Real-Estate Tours

October 23, 2023

Virtual tours have become increasingly popular for entertainment, education, and a variety of practical purposes. People can take virtual tours of Ancient Greece, stroll through the Smithsonian, and even scuba dive in the Maldives—all without leaving the comfort of their couch. Virtual tours let shoppers experience real estate in a very engaging way.

In post-pandemic times, virtual tours have become incredibly useful to people shopping for real estate—whether for first-time buyers looking for a starter home or an expanding law firm in need of more office space. Plus, for people working in real estate, virtual tours provide a convenient, effective way of listing properties that maximizes their exposure.

For a virtual tour to be effective, it must be well-designed, engaging, and easy to reach for the people who are currently seeking the type of property for sale or lease. At first glance, this might seem to be all about the visual, but in this article, I’ll highlight the importance of search-engine optimization (SEO), outbound marketing, and having the right strategy, all which can enhance virtual real-estate tours.

Champion Advertisement
Continue Reading…

Benefits of Virtual Real-Estate Tours

Whether you are a private seller looking to sell a single property or a real-estate agent who is listing many properties, there are numerous benefits to using virtual tours as a pillar of your sales tactics. Let’s consider some key factors that make virtual real-estate tours valuable.

Instant Engagement of Potential Buyers

Just using photographs to sell a property doesn’t typically evoke instant engagement in potential buyers. They simply serve as a precursor to an in-person showing for shoppers who want to see more.

In contrast, a virtual tour gives the user a first-person perspective of what it’s like to walk through the property, navigating the virtual premises by moving from one room to another using a series of well-designed buttons. At the same time, there could be some interactive points that users could click to learn more about exclusive features and get construction information. For instance, if a fireplace is made out of Italian marble, why not add an information bubble about it?

Virtual tours can also include floor plans of the property, as well as information about the overall area, including the school district, nearby parks, and locations of medical and emergency services. Providing all of this information in a well-designed virtual tour is an effective way of eliciting instant engagement from potential buyers and inspiring them to imagine not only their new home but their entire new life experience within it.

Attracting Only Seriously Interested Buyers

By creating a virtual tour of a property and making it available to shoppers, you can provide all the information that potential buyers might need to determine whether they are seriously interested in the property. This can help you weed out people who are in the just-looking phase and could take up a lot of the real-estate agent’s time asking questions and scheduling showings for those who is only mildly interested in the property.

Time and Cost Effectiveness

Creating a virtual tour of a property is simple and inexpensive. It is also an efficient way of showing a property to as many potential buyers as possible, without their even having to visit the property. Scheduling showings takes time, so limiting actual walkthroughs to only seriously interested buyers saves time and money. Plus, with interactive property tours, you could easily change a space’s staging to match the potential buyer’s taste or special needs.

What Makes a Virtual Tour Effective?

You could construct a virtual real-estate tour in a virtual-reality (VR) environment or simply create one using wide-angle photography and one of the many helpful virtual-tour apps currently on the market. Since the idea of creating virtual real-estate tours is to reach as many potential buyers as possible, it would be best to avoid using a VR construct that requires the use of a VR headset to view it. Therefore, augmented reality (AR) might be a better solution.

At the core of any effective virtual tour is great UX design. The user interface for a virtual tour should be logical and easy to understand. Plus, you should carefully plan your photo shoot to ensure that you capture all the necessary photos to create a seamless navigation experience. Take the photos using high-quality lighting and photographic equipment. Don’t forget to remove personal effects from the property to make it easier for the people viewing the tour to envision themselves in the space. If it’s not possible to do real-world staging, consider using a virtual staging company that can digitally add and remove furniture, change colors, and add decor to create a more appealing virtual tour.

In addition to staging the space, then taking well-lit, high-quality photographs, any real-estate tour should provide an incredible user experience, complete with easy navigation and interactive features. Plus, an effective virtual tour should be accessible from both desktop and mobile devices. When people are shopping for a new home or other type of property, they enjoy being able to browse listings while watching television at night or during their lunch break at work. Providing a virtual tour that is compatible with mobile devices is essential to attract as many potential buyers as possible.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Virtual Tours for Real-Estate Professionals

While the allure of cutting-edge technology and high-quality visuals is undeniable, the planning stage for creating an interactive virtual tour should begin by focusing on business objectives. Real-estate professionals ought to consider key performance indicators (KPIs)that can provide a quantitative measure of the tour’s success.

Useful metrics might include user-engagement time, click-through rates, bounce rates, or even the number of completed tour views. Such KPIs not only offer valuable insights into users' behaviors but also serve as a guide when making design decisions—from navigational cues to the overall experience of virtual-reality home tours.

KPIs offer a quantitative glimpse into the effectiveness of a virtual tour, but you can also measure the qualitative effectiveness of a tour by taking note of changes in the way your real-estate business is operating. Are you noticing a lot fewer inquiries regarding general questions about the property and the surrounding area? Are you scheduling fewer showings with uninterested buyers? You can measure the qualitative effectiveness of a virtual tour by assessing the quality of your leads.

Beyond the Tour: Amplifying Your Online Presence as a Real-Estate Agent

While an interactive virtual tour serves as the cornerstone of the engagement of potential buyers, you can amplify its reach by making it part of a broader online strategy. Toward this end, SEO seems to be the best pairing, especially some of its more unseen aspects such as white-label link building.

Rather than splurging on points-per-click (PPC) ads on Google or Meta, you should collaborate with authoritative Web sites in the real-estate niche. If you’re a successful realtor who uses advanced technology, why not pitch your ideas and become a guest-post contributor? This would let you expand your link network and legitimately boost your SEO in a white-label manner.

Fully utilizing virtual real-estate tours also means mixing pre-tour SEO with the post-tour experience. Make sure you provide a feedback page with straightforward buttons and clear calls to action (CTAs), ensuring a smooth user experience from start to finish. Most importantly, be sure to work with your UX design and development teams to get the post-tour experience right. And, last but not least, use whichever tool makes the tour more immersive.

Wrapping Up

In the real-estate industry, interactive virtual tours are, without a doubt, the gold standard for what consumers now expect when looking at properties for sale and lease. Don’t focus just on creating elaborate visuals. The user experience, visibility, and integration with customer-relationship management (CRM) tools are also important. When you optimize all of these factors, they can come together to complete the puzzle that tells potential buyers the story they’ve always wanted to hear. 

Freelance Copywriter and Ecommerce SEO Specialist

New York, New York

Magnus EriksenMagnus works as an independent copywriter and ecommerce search-engine optimization (SEO) specialist. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital-marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO. Magnus holds a degree in Marketing and Brand Management.  Read More

Other Articles on User Experiences

New on UXmatters