According to British property portal Rightmove, 430 of its agent customers have so far signed up to use its viewing bookings tool which was introduced on the portal’s property detail pages back in November 2020. Designed to minimise no-shows and timewasters, the tool lets users book an agent-guided viewing of a rental property directly through the portal once they have filled in a field for their preferred time slot and an affordability questionnaire.
The tool is reported to be popular among the portal’s users with a reported 86% of prospective tenants interacting with the tool on Rightmove’s website. The usage figures on the other side of the fence are not so great however with the 430 agents signed up representing only around 2.3% of Rightmove’s agent customers.
The hesitancy of agents in signing up for Rightmove’s new feature is similar to the issue Zillow currently faces with its recently acquired viewing scheduler Showing Time. After acquiring the company which takes prospective buyers’ details and schedules a time to view a property with agents, agents were up in arms about what they perceived to be Zillow’s infringement on their territory with many suspecting that Zillow’s new $500 million acquisition was a front to obtain user data.
While Rightmove’s tool is only for lettings at the moment and has not yet received the same volume of acerbic comments below the line on UK agent publications as Zillow’s acquisition of Showing Time received on forums such as inman.com, the poor number of sign-ups so far reflects the same agent hesitancy.
Scheduling viewings from a property portal interface is definitely the way that things are going. Rightmove’s own user stats will make it increasingly harder for letting agents to justify not using the new tool. In America, it’s not just Zillow that wants users to book through its own platform; Realtor.com’s application already lets its users book a viewing and, in response to Zillow’s Showing Time purchase, CoStar announced that it was building a similar tool via its Homesnap brand.