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Matterport's view: Virtual Reality for the UK property market
A revolution for the property industry, Virtual Reality is advanced yet accessible. The agents who are already using it in their listings are benefitting from:
- 403% more enquiries
- 95% more client calls
- 49% more qualified leads
As our clients stepped into Virtual Reality for the first time, we caught up with James Morris-Manuel, EMEA Sales Director at Matterport, to lift the veil on VR and discuss experiencing smell through a headset and removing barriers to change.
For you, what’s the ultimate goal of the Matterport 3D Showcase?
Ultimately, our aim is to allow people to be able to ‘walk’ through and experience any property, or space anywhere in the world regardless of where they are. We believe that information is key, so the more visibility we can give consumers, the more of a considered decision they can make when buying or renting a house, streamlining the process and hopefully removing some of the time consuming travel that usually goes hand in hand with viewing properties. We want to provide full transparency and access to consumers.
What kinds of properties benefit most from a Matterport 3D Showcase?
Matterport has the ability to capture any space. In fact, over 300,000 Matterport spaces have been created ranging from residential, commercial, hotels, retail, and museums to yachts and many more. Businesses tend to use Matterport to differentiate themselves and represent properties to their maximum potential. Opening up a property to the world online is a great way of interacting with a bigger audience, especially with customers who might not be able to visit in person. We have had a big take up in the residential sector with agents and landlords seeing the benefits of providing more information online.
Mike Shrubshall, MD of Martin & Co's Cardiff branch, told us:
"We brought in the tech because of the potential changes happening within the industry. We knew that the market would be getting harder so we wanted to give our clients the edge by showing off their properties and making them stand out more than the competition. I've seen lots of examples of £1m+ homes but I wanted to take the tech and roll it out across the board, from £500 rental flats to £500,000 homes. The result, from a client perspective, is that they love them! From our perspective, it has not only created more demand and enquiries, but enabled us to do more lets and sales in less time - but for more money. It's also been a useful business generation tool. Our conversion has always been good but this has just added on an extra 10%, growing from 85% to 95%."
If you could affect one change in the property industry, what would it be?
I think the main thing would be to remove the barriers to change. There is often a hesitancy or fear about change, especially where technology is concerned. The immediate conclusion is that if it is tech then it must be disruptive.
We would like to show that tech can work for agencies, often traditional in their approach to business, by increasing efficiency, driving new business, and increasing the bottom line. Matterport captures create a certain amount of transparency about the transaction process – customers no longer have to spend time on wasted viewings, or unnecessary repeat viewings. This not only builds a level of trust for the customer, but also increases an agent’s time spent on the consultative part of the job rather than the administrative part.
By lifting the veil on tech coming into the industry, we would hope that agents, developers and landlords alike will be more open to trialling new systems and products, such as Matterport, which work for them not against them.
What's next for Virtual Reality in the property industry?
There is definitely more to come on the Virtual Reality front. At the moment we are seeing its application being predominantly around true VR. However, there is the potential to build in augmented reality to enhance the user experience. For example, one could tour a new flat as it is and then again with their own furniture in situ to get an idea of how it would feel on a personal level. Or perhaps the smells, sounds, and even the air could be experienced through a headset, making the experience even more immersive as people move around a space. I’m sure we will see applications where customers can buy a new sofa or bed directly from a headset, furnishing their new home to spec as they tour around it and trial the space.
To see FocalAgent's Matterport 3D Showcase in action, visit our Virtual Reality hub.