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An Evolution of Innovation

UTour’s roots date back to 2018, growing from a collaboration between NDG Communications, a leading agency in residential real estate marketing, and one of its most forward-thinking clients.
 
NDG developed a system for unattended access tours, an idea that at the time was almost entirely in the world of rental properties. The effort was the first of its kind in the new home industry. With each success, the self-guided home tour experience grew and evolved until UTour was born, created to meet the demands of today’s modern home shopper.
 
Now UTour represents the industry’s most robust on-demand self-tour solution, bolstered by integrations and partnerships with global leaders in new home marketing, automation, security and sales. UTour is also integrating advanced AI technology to enhance the experience during and after each tour. So UTour’s homebuilder clients — including a collection of Builder 100 companies — enjoy a full, multifaceted service that ranges from setup and promotion to tour execution and follow-up nurturing.
 

In January 2020, UTour entered into a partnership with Builders Digital Experience (BDX) to provide self-guided tours to BDX Consortium builders and homebuilder clients including its new home listings service, NewHomeSource.com. UTour also entered into a partnership with Alarm.com in October 2020, making UTour the only self-guided home tour solution to offer integrated security for homebuilders.

The Team

 

Founders

Tom

Tom Nelson

Tom established NDG Communications, a nationally recognized advertising and marketing agency, in 2002 with a vision of combining his passions of branding, marketing, advertising and residential real estate to help builders and developers grow their customer bases to sell more homes. NDG is also an award-winning digital innovator developing technology solutions for homebuilders including mobile applications, CRM/CMS platforms and sales and marketing AI technologies. For years, Tom has been influential in helping shape the marketing strategies for builders and developers around the country and now he has taken his expertise in home building and is the founding partner of UTour. Tom is an active member of NAHB, NVBIA, MBIA and WMSMC.

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Jonathan Stovall

With over 25 years in the security and smart home industry, Jonathan founded Bethesda Systems in 2001, a multi-million dollar automation company based in Maryland. The company focuses on reliable and easy-to-use technology in the home and workplace specializing in high-end customization and customer service. With the advent of residential IoT products and the desire of innovative production homebuilders to add smart home features to their home designs, Stovall launched Energy Squad in 2013 to assist builders and property managers with standardization, scale and service. Since 2011, Stovall has proudly served on the Consumer Technology Association's Smart Home Division Board of Directors.

Management

Dax

Dax Eckel

Director of Operations

Having spent the last eight years in homebuilder marketing as Vice President of Operations for NDG Communications, Dax has coordinated the day-to-day operations of UTour since its inception. He is in charge of overseeing the development of technology that is used by homebuilders and incorporated into the homes, as well as managing and growing the essential integrations with industry-leading third-party vendors and partners.

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Matt Dumas

DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY

Matt leads all efforts in developing, integrating and executing essential technology for every segment of the UTour platform. He works closely with UTour’s internal team, clients and third-party vendors to ensure seamless integration that creates an ideal experience for home shoppers.

Gino

Gino Hefner

Director of Technology, Voice Operations

Gino has been making smart home integrations happen since 2007 and co-founded Energy Squad with Jonathan in 2013. Leading Energy Squad’s Builder Program including customer support and managing tech support for its smart home and access control platforms, Gino also managed Energy Squad’s portfolio with Amazon Alexa – coordinating the Amazon Roadshow and working hand-in-hand with Amazon on VIP integration projects.

Hillary

Hillary Welch

Client Success Manager

Hillary works closely with UTour clients to ensure a strong, cohesive relationship and serve as the clients guide as they integrate the UTour platform into their marketing and sales strategies. She brings years of experience serving large regional and national homebuilder clients, including K. Hovnanian Homes. Hillary is a detail-oriented partner, skilled at anticipating the needs of her clients and providing clear communication and timely solutions.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, homebuilders had to reevaluate and shift technology priorities from “nice to have” to “must have.” This included self-guided tours, which had always been on our roadmap at Mattamy, but we weren’t sure when we would be able to implement them. That’s where UTour came in.
The UTour team went above and beyond to get us onboarded, offering ample support and training for our entire team. They made sure we were fully prepared prior to launch.
UTour’s platform is very intuitive and easy to use, and UTour has also created an automated follow-up campaign to help Mattamy Homes stay closely connected with our self-touring customers.
— Brigette Fahl, Marketing Manager at Mattamy Homes
The UTour development team has been extremely responsive to our requests for updates. They’ve worked diligently to continuously enhance the platform’s functionality, making it clean and easy to use for our admins and local teams at every level.
UTour has allowed us to improve the home shopping experience and has made things easier for our internal team as well as the home shopper. And we’re already seeing results. Allowing prospective homebuyers to self-tour our homes has resulted in 33 sales so far.
Most notably, we were able to sell a multi-million dollar home that hadn’t had activity in months.
— Trish Welch at K. Hovnanian Companies, LLC
We could not be more pleased with the addition of UTour. It has quickly become a proven tool — our very first tour resulted in a sale! From the set-up process to the launch, the team was extremely responsive and helpful. The integration with our CRM and the built-in UTour follow-up has been seamless.
We chose UTour over other self-tour options because of the smart design and functionality it offered. It is clear that the developers carefully considered the needs of homebuilders, including CRM integrations, home listing integrations, security integrations and follow-up. They thought of everything!
One of the most exciting aspects of UTour has to be the reporting — it is easy to analyze and customize the tour data. UTour has been a game changer and we have seen steady tour demand outside of our normal office hours. Plus, the real-time updates make it easy for our team to stay informed and prepared for each tour.
If you make one investment in new technology this year, I would highly recommend UTour.
— Valerie Heritage, Marketing Director at Simmons Homes
Our sales process has become more streamlined and we’ve seen overall improvements since partnering with UTour. They offered a straightforward integration with Lasso, our CRM system, so our sales team was able to adapt quickly and identify key prospects.
Through self-touring, home shoppers are able to qualify us as a suitable builder for them, accelerating the traditional sales process. UTour allows us to meet the demands of modern home shoppers and create a personalized buying experience.
We’re seeing our prospects connect on an emotional level — without a salesperson present. We recently had two sales conversions where the shopper began their journey with a self-tour and later came directly to our sales team ready to purchase a similar floor plan.
UTour has supercharged sales team productivity.
— Anthony Kent, Vice President at Cothran Homes
UTour is a safe, trusted system that has increased our efficiency immensely. Especially throughout COVID-19, it’s been an essential tool that’s helped us safely accommodate social distancing protocol while continuing to serve our customers. It’s really helped control traffic in our main model.
Their platform is user-friendly for both our home shoppers and sales team to navigate. On the backend, information was pulled in directly from our website. UTour also integrated flawlessly with our CRM system to ensure all of our new leads were logged into Lasso.
With self-guided tours, it’s like we have a silent salesperson always working to capture . And our home shoppers love the additional freedom to experience our homes after hours when site agents aren’t there. It’s been a win-win.
The UTour team has answered all of our questions diligently and thoroughly — WONDERFUL customer service!
— The Sales and Marketing Team at Chesapeake Homes