Virtual Tours for Vacation Rentals: Can They Help Your Listings?
As the saying goes: you never have a second chance to make a great first impression. While photos can convey the look of your properties, virtual tours provide the guest an immersive experience of what it’s like to walk through your property.
Virtual tours have been the standard in the real estate and traditional hospitality industry for years. Now they are slowly making their way into the vacation rental sector thanks to improved technology and increased affordability. If you’re not familiar with virtual tours, think of them as a 360-degree, immersive view of your properties. Unlike videos, virtual tours let the guest navigate through your homes at their own pace and explore every corner of the vacation property. Guests get a much better understanding of the home’s features, amenities, layout, and other details that help them with the booking decision. New features like 3-D mapping along with the use of augmented and mixed reality make virtual tours an indispensable tool for marketing your homes to your guests.
Google recently commissioned an independent study of the effectiveness of virtual tours and this study found that virtual tours help double the business interest. People who view a listing with a virtual tour are twice as likely to be interested in booking a reservation at that property. 18-34 year-olds in particular, are 130% more likely to book a property offering a virtual tour.
This study also found that among people surveyed, 67% wanted more businesses to offer virtual tours, 26% were indifferent and 7% felt more virtual tours were unnecessary. This means that on average, two-thirds of people actively appreciate virtual tours when they land on company websites.
Until recently those virtual tours could only be used on your own website. This limited the exposure of showcasing the allure of your properties to only your own customer base. However our OTA partners have realized that the support for featuring virtual tours to their guests is essential to the conversion process and the demand is growing greater. Many of them are either beta testing, or have already rolled out the full support for featuring virtual tours.
Many Property Management Systems (PMS) haven’t upgraded to offer the distribution of virtual tours to third party partners via the API connection yet. However, we are actively working with our partners to improve the distribution of virtual tours via automated connection. Until a connection is established, we support our clients by loading the virtual tours directly into the partner channel. If you have virtual tours for your properties and would like to distribute them via our partner channels, please contact your Client Success Manager or email email@example.com.