Herve Parent, CEO of Real Estate & New Technologies (RENT), the eminent European real estate technology event, says four key technologies are rapidly reshaping advertising on property portals.
Until not too long ago, it took only a few words – and more or less the same words – to draft a real estate advertisement. Ads were published in newspapers and magazines that charged a per-line rate and there were no photos or other imagery.
But then the internet arrived and portals began to attract massive traffic, and the possibility of including visuals changed the nature of property ads.
At first, it was simply a matter of a few photos, often of dubious quality snapped hastily by a real estate agent. Today, however, we are witnessing a growing awareness of the importance of high-quality photography and the corresponding emergence of innovative technologies that are increasing the impact of real estate ads.
Emotion and engagement
The role of a visual in a real estate ad is not to present the property, but first of all to create an emotional connection (the well-known ‘wow factor’) and then engage prospective buyers so that their passive attitude becomes active engagement.
Powerful visuals are the key to an effective commercial relationship, not only with buyers but with sellers as well. To achieve this objective, real estate agents currently have four technologies at their disposal — photography, video, 3D and immersion.
Increasingly sophisticated property photos
For photos that stand out on the internet and get website visitors to respond and visit a property, an estate agent’s smartphone is no longer enough. This is why more and more agents are using the services of professional photographer networks, the five largest of which moreover will be present at the RENT2016 show in Paris on November 8 and 9.
In terms of technology, HDR photos and precision retouching are changing the game, and there are now websites that propose photo retouching and enhancement in 24 hours at a very reasonable price. It is even possible to ‘tidy-up’ the photo of a room by removing objects that clutter. Last but not least, virtual home staging technology can create visual environments in which potential buyers can imagine themselves living, which is something a photo of an empty room cannot do.
Are videos for luxury properties only?
Film has incomparable emotional impact, especially with the younger generations. In the US, real estate videos are veritable advertising films that are produced with professionalism and talent.
Video will certainly play a greater role in selling upscale properties, especially when a foreign clientele is targeted. How well video succeeds in the rest of the market will depend on whether or not an appropriate business model is found.
The promise of 3D
After about two years of trial and error, 3D virtual tours have come of age and can now be created at a reasonable cost, using either a dedicated solution (such as Matterport) or a tablet computer with Google’s Tango, for example.
Not only does complete digitalisation of a property’s rooms make it possible to propose realistic virtual tours that fully engage potential buyers, the digital data file enables them, for example, to change a room’s furniture, paintwork and floor covering, move partition walls, and then tour this renovated property – which is now just the way they want it.
The immersion dimension
Immersive tours, for which a headset is generally worn, constitute a breakthrough in terms of the quality of the user experience, enabling potential clients to walk through a property exactly as they would in real life. They soon forget about the headset and are ready to make a purchasing decision. This may still sound like science fiction, but it won’t for long.
Who will win the technology battle?
Will all of these four technologies survive and ultimately share the market? Will one predominate and end up marginalising the others? Obviously the key success factors will be user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and above all the capacity to turn prospects into buyers through an engaging relationship with the appropriate emotional tone.
At the RENT – Real Estate & New Technologies show in Paris, real estate professionals will be able to test, evaluate or simply discover the latest innovations and solutions of 150 high-tech exhibitors during two days of technology intelligence.