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3D Virtual Tours: Fab or Fad

About 5 years ago, we decided to invest in a 3D Matterport camera so that we could offer 3D virtual tours to our clients. We watched the service bloom over east, so in true Crib fashion with wanting to keep ahead of the game, we splashed the cash on getting one of our own. It seemed like a sure thing. People being able to virtually guide themselves though a home from their phone or computer in their own time seemed too good to be true. With busier schedules and busier lives, being able to get a good sense of a property without so much as stepping through its doors seemed like the perfect modern-day solution. However, five years later and we had found it to be one of our least successful products ever. Despite the new technology, the convenience and the custom control of the product, video still seems to be the prevailing winner and a much more popular product. That was until COVID-19 struck. And with home opens no longer allowed and social distancing in place, suddenly the wildly unpopular product became one in high demand. So will this shift be a permanent one even as life returns to normal, or is it just a fad that will only hang around as long as the COVID-19 restrictions are in place? Only time will tell! But as things start to re-open and restrictions are lifted, the odds that the demand for this product will do a total 180 yet again seem high. After being so isolated, people will crave human interaction again. People will want to be out and about and experiencing things in real life rather than virtually. That being said, Matterport Tours still have plenty of benefits - especially for international and interstate buyers who can’t visit the property. They can also give you a sense of the flow of a property and a better grasp on the floorplan. This, in turn, can cause problems of its own as most people need to gauge the actual feel of a property to fall in love with it – something that can only be done in person. A virtual tour gives tangible information but neglects to show the feel and fit of a property. This can lead people to write off properties that they don’t like virtually but would have connected with had they seen it in person. In regard to video marketing, we have seen a shift rather than a drop. But unlike 3D tours which seem to be hot or cold, our video products have just made a slight sidestep. Previously, videos were more like a teaser trailer. Faster and flashier and fun. Enticing people to look further and visit the property. But as the next step of visiting a property has been made much more difficult, video products haven’t been reduced so much as they have been adapted. We now find agents are preferring slower-paced videos, with a walkthrough style.

It seems that video is a true and tested marketing form that is versatile and stands the test of time. While perhaps virtual tours are simply a novelty that is the solution to a temporary problem. What are your thoughts? – We’d love to hear them!

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