How the Real Estate Industry Can Benefit from the Shift to Virtual and Hybrid Events

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The world over, an increasing number of industries are seeing significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing mandates, shelter in place orders, and workplace shutdowns. However, as businesses continue to seek ways to uphold their revenue and persevere through this complicated time, many industries are turning towards virtual and hybrid events to stay connected and drive revenue through alternative avenues. The real estate industry is one that has been profoundly affected by the pandemic. While housing sales and new listings have not really decreased, industry workers have been forced to find creative ways to connect potential buyers, sellers, and industry professionals. Where real estate agents are hosting virtual walkthroughs, others in the industry can also take advantage of the capabilities of virtual components to promote their business, listed houses, and rental properties to different audiences.

Why Shift to Virtual and Hybrid Events

The real estate industry is largely supported by the look, feel, and aesthetic of the home or rental property that they are showing. Therefore, while it is important to get potential buyers into a home that they might enjoy, this might not always be possible. Now more than ever, homeowners are purchasing homes without ever stepping foot inside. Therefore, a real estate agent might have to do a lot more work at the outset to close the deal. By integrating more digital components, agents are providing more avenues for potential buyers to be interested in a home. One way in which the shift to virtual or hybrid events might help real estate agents and the real estate industry is the establishment of infrastructure and processes. Understandably, if you are a real estate agent and you are used to showing homes, you may find that you don’t have the time to show any homes in a virtual format. Virtual walkthroughs are tricky, so getting it right takes time! You might walk around the home with a video camera, but without proper editing and production, this will not look professional and may not be the best way to showcase your business. Additionally, you could work with a 360 mapping company to properly show the property layout. Getting all of this technology setup might be taxing. However, the current economic shutdown and pace of the pandemic are allowing more real estate agents to explore this virtual and hybrid environment. By allowing an online audience into these “physical” spaces through a digital format or an augmented or virtual reality format, you are encouraging more trans-continental and geographical relocation opportunities. A young couple may be eager to move across the country, but without seeing the space first, they may be reluctant to put in a bid. If the real estate agent is able to walk the couple through the home, pointing to benefits, opening doors, and allowing them to hear the groans and creaks of the house, the couple might more be encouraged and persuaded to take the leap and purchase the house prior to making the move across the country.

Ways The Real Estate Industry Can Benefit From This Shift

It is clear that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, so the real estate industry should take advantage of this opportunity. Not only will providing virtual and hybrid events, in general, be good for business, but real estate agents might see significant increases in revenue, lead generation avenues, and marketing funnels. One way that the real estate industry can benefit from this shift is through a digital open house. Open houses, in some locations, are a local affair, where the neighbors come by to the house to witness a live auction or meet potential new neighbors. While a physical event is no longer allowed, digital auctions, digital open houses, and digital bidding wars can promote a house on the market in many different ways. One of these ways is through exclusivity/inclusivity and also by creating scarcity. Perhaps a real estate agent or firm wants to host an open house. They do so through a virtual event platform that facilitates live video fees, live chat, polling, Q&A, and other hybrid event features. A real estate agent can walk the virtual audience through the house or hire a professional videographer to capture the layout. With a virtual component, a real estate company can provide a better opportunity to the house, rather than simply using a video conferencing platform. A virtual event platform will allow more integrations like CRM integrations and lead retrieval. In addition to this, a virtual event platform can also be brand sponsored, support integrated marketing and promotion, and allow for the creation of an integrated landing page. The virtual event platform might also create a virtual event augmented reality space, so that potential buyers and remote attendees can attend the open house (virtually) in person. There are numerous events of this type that can be hosted through a virtual event platform. One might include a real-estate agent meet-and-greet, which would be set up similar to an open-answer webinar or even a larger meet-and-greet hosted like trade shows or conferences. By walking up to real estate exhibitors in an online event, potential buyers can get to know their local real estate agents far better than just sitting at home and looking at a website.

Opportunities for Growth and Scalability

Given the scope of the pandemic and the number of industries and professions that have been adversely affected, virtual events are here to stay. It is important that industries adapt. Furthermore, this event format can easily be transitioned to a hybrid event when restrictions are eased, allowing for both in-person and virtual event elements By making this shift now, the real estate industry can begin to seek opportunities, develop new technologies, grow alongside the event technology, and scale to growing demand. To capitalize on this event technology, the real estate industry should consider hiring event professionals to help host the event and build the virtual world. The available event technology platforms are capable of connecting brands and businesses to consumers in a way that can be just as valuable as in-person communications. Things might look different in a virtual environment, but the B2B and B2C connections are still possible, and sophisticated event platforms allow for scalability as the brand and events grow. On a virtual platform, there are greater opportunities for brands than can be found at a physical event. For example, event registration and ticketing are seamless. Brands can host a free event to connect to potential customers (interested buyers), then add their contact information into an integrated CRM platform to better identify potential target audiences and connect each virtual attendee to your monthly newsletter. All of this and analytics data is available through a virtual event platform like Accelevents.A virtual event platform will also allow event organizers the ability to plan a digital event that is optimized for audience engagement, so you know that those online attendees are interested (or not) in the product that is on the screen. You can assess which houses were the most popular, which features buyers are most interested in when it comes to homes, rental properties, or real estate agents. You can also tailor the event to certain themes. For example, if the rental agency firm specializes in vacation rentals, you can host a virtual open house for vacation homes. Or, host virtual trade shows that feature a different vacation package in each session.

Finding Success in an Online Event and Hybrid Event Format

The real estate industry, like so many other industries, can benefit from the virtual or hybrid format as a way of still providing the aesthetic appeal that is available when showing a house. Use social media as a form of event marketing so that you can get the word out about your sales. Tap into the virtual experience to increase the appeal of your listings!Other perks of live events are that you can host it as “simulated live”. Film the location at one time, and then host several open house virtual events over the course of a few months (or less if it sells quickly!).While this method is not preferred over showing the house in person, real estate agents and firms are able to get the houses on the market in more ways than were possible before. Consider hiring an event organizer or team of event planners to help to facilitate this digital event. Planners can also reap the benefits of this type of partnership or sponsorship and promote their business more effectively in their area or to a wider audience. The real estate industry can make this shift with a sophisticated event planning software like Accelevents, which allows event organizers the ability to plan an agenda, host a live event video or webinar, facilitate live chat, integrate lead retrieval, and CRM software, and much more. Intuitive event software like Accelevents can create seamless connections between digital and physical spaces, allowing the real estate industry the opportunity to continue promoting houses and rentals, help them to reach a new target audience, and reap the benefits of the virtual space.

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