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UTour Digital Media Team

UTour Digital Media Team

Recent posts by UTour Digital Media Team

2 min read

Make a Resolution to be Adaptable in 2023

By UTour Digital Media Team on Jan 20, 2023 3:06:40 PM

The conclusion of 2022 was not kind to homebuilders, and if most predictions hold true, the next 12 months look to be challenging as well. While it is natural to turn to past successes when developing your 2023 marketing plan, the current market conditions will dictate a different approach. 

While that may seem to be a negative, all is not lost. New ideas and change may be the very things your marketing plan has been in need of for some time. In fact, it is number one on our list of tips to optimize your marketing plan in the new year. Embrace change to make the new year a success.

Tips to Optimize Your 2023 Marketing Plan

  1. Embrace Change: Change is hard, but the likelihood of limited resources may force marketers like you to be more creative in your planning for the year. So be open to new ideas, different technologies and unique tactics. Embracing change offers the possibility of adopting a new and successful marketing strategy that you otherwise may not have explored. This year offers a great opportunity to be the first builder in your area to adopt a successful new marketing tactic before others do the same.

  2. Know and Understand Your Numbers: While it is important to monitor numbers like lead volumes and advertising metrics, it is just as critical to do a deeper dive to understand lead-to-tour rates, lead-to-appointment rates, appointment-to-sale rates and your local market activity. Knowing that information will only help you spend your marketing dollars and resources more efficiently.

  3. Create Content: Great content is the best way to bolster your paid advertising efforts to convert leads and meaningful sales appointments (and help your sales team overcome buyer objections). If your paid advertising budgets are cut this year, investing the time into creating compelling content should be a winning strategy.

For your marketing plan to be successful in 2023, you will have to sharpen your problem-solving skills and resourcefulness in all areas. As new home marketers, we must embrace this challenge as an opportunity, and in the famous words of Jim Rohn, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing
1 min read

UTour Welcomes Victor Furnells

By UTour Digital Media Team on Jan 19, 2023 12:11:34 PM

Victor Furnells is the latest addition to the UTour team and joins as its new Vice President of Business Development. His leadership and experience will significantly contribute to UTour’s continuing success within the new home industry. Victor received a degree in Communications from the University of Maryland and has served the production home building industry for over a decade, with various market research companies, including tenure with Meyers Research and Zonda. While at Meyers Research and Zonda, Victor led a successful team that surpassed their respective growth goals and was a frequent industry speaker at various home builder conferences and events.

“Adding a team member of Victor’s caliber in terms of experience, achievement and values is a major milestone for our company,” said Tom Nelson, CEO of UTour. “Victor’s incredible work ethic and track record of excellence in B2B sales will greatly contribute to our mission to disrupt the status quo to make new home shopping easier, smarter and more efficient while helping builders sell more homes.”

If you’re interested in meeting with Victor to discuss how self-guided tours can help you sell more homes, while saving money, pleaseschedule a conversation with Victortoday.

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing
2 min read

Helping Builders Move More Inventory Homes

By UTour Digital Media Team on Nov 30, 2022 8:56:05 AM

With economic and scheduling factors working against them, more homebuilders are turning to UTour to help them sell inventory homes. 

As we rapidly approach the end of 2022, more and more homebuilders are faced with the unpleasant reality of a high volume of inventory homes available for sale. And while lead volumes remain strong and website activity is high for these builders, ultimately, very few homebuyers are willing to commit to purchasing those homes before the end of the year.

It’s not just the calendar that’s working against homebuilders. The economy isn’t doing them any favors by dealing homebuyers a hand consisting of the highest interest rates in a generation, soaring inflation and the grim specter of a coming recession. Faced with this combination of poor economic factors and a hectic holiday season, many buyers have chosen to sit on the sidelines as they question whether now is the right time to purchase.

Fortunately for both buyers and builders, UTour is here to help. 

UTour is an on-demand interactive self-tour experience that homebuilders can implement in their inventory and model homes to provide homebuyers with the convenience they want and their sales team with the data they deserve. Our self-guided tour platform lets skeptical buyers personally explore new homes on their terms in a no-pressure sales environment. Empowering buyers to self-tour homes when they want and how they want makes it more likely that they'll fall in love with that home and make the decision to buy.

For the homebuilder’s sales team, UTour provides high-quality leads containing information, such as first name, last name, email, telephone number, address and the home(s) homebuyers toured. When a self-tour is complete, tour and buyer data will be immediately pushed to a builder’s CRM system, thanks to UTour’s numerous integrations. The immediacy and quality of this UTour data give builders an invaluable tool that helps them properly gauge a potential buyer’s interest, efficiently follow up and effectively close the sale. 

While homebuilders still face a number of economic issues that will make it challenging to move inventory homes as we enter 2023, UTour remains a powerful tool to help them close sales. Not only does it provide the critical homebuyer information builders need, but UTour also efficiently delivers this data automatically to their CRM systems. The end result? Homebuilders with fewer inventory homes on their books and homebuyers experiencing an improved life by moving into their dream homes faster than ever. 

Would you like to hear more and see how UTour can help your communities? Schedule a private demo with our team today.

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing
2 min read

Industry Problems Solved: Meeting Buyers Where They Are in an Uncertain Housing Market

By UTour Digital Media Team on Nov 2, 2022 1:29:59 PM

The Uncertainty

Starting in May of this year, rising interest rates, record-setting inflation and increased home prices have understandably made home shoppers nervous about pulling the trigger on buying a new home. However, the data tells us that home search activity remains strong despite this shift in the market. While homebuilders continue to market and advertise to meet their sales goals for the end of the year, they should consider utilizing solutions like UTour that allow their buyers to control their home shopping experience and commit when ready. 

A “No Pressure” Sales Environment

Home buyers want to tour a new home without a salesperson so they can experience the home on their terms and feel confident before taking the next step. With UTour, potential buyers can schedule a self-tour that fits their schedule and can even book numerous home tours if they choose to. If they have any questions during their self-tour of the home, they can contact a salesperson directly. UTour empowers home shoppers to start the buying process when they are ready, which is more important than ever with the current climate.

Quantity AND Quality 

When using UTour, the quality of prospective homebuyer leads that self-tour homes are much higher than traditional “eLeads” — even if home shoppers are looking more casually for a home. Traditional internet leads only provide minimal information such as a name, an email address and, occasionally, a phone number.

With UTour, when a home shopper clicks the “Schedule a Self-Tour” button on a builder's website or an integrated ILS listing such as Zillow, they are directed to a white-labeled scheduling site to select a date and time to self-tour the home. As part of the self-tour scheduling process, UTour requires each visitor to register and verify their identity with a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license) or a credit/debit card. In addition, authentication of their mobile phone number is also required. 

This visitor registration allows UTour to provide a comprehensive data record for every visitor including​​ their self-tour history and accurate contact information so your team can connect with them.

UTour also boasts an open ecosystem, meaning that the platform seamlessly integrates with many CRM software systems. When UTour integrates with a builder’s CRM system, Tour and Visitor data can be ingested directly into their CRM system in real-time.

Join the UTour Ranks

Since its inception, UTour has represented the industry’s most robust on-demand self-tour solution and builders have taken notice of this. Many of the top builders in the United States and Canada have utilized UTour to help their customers confidently, and conveniently, access their new homes and have meaningful conversations with a salesperson when they're ready to move forward. With the list of builders continuing to grow to meet the needs of homebuyers in a changing market, utilizing UTour has become a valuable, and expected, tool in the new home sales experience.

Want to hear more and see how UTour can help your communities? Schedule a private demo with our team today.

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing smart homes
2 min read

Why Self-Guided Tours Produce the Best Quality Leads

By UTour Digital Media Team on Aug 25, 2022 9:37:49 AM

As the market dramatically shifted over the past few months, a heightened focus on new lead generation is now the main topic of conversation for most home builders. While the default theme of these discussions is centered around “more leads” — and yes, we need to fill the sales funnel continuously — an assessment of lead quality is equally important.

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing
2 min read

Model Home Short-Staffed? Self-Touring Technology Can Be Your Solution.

By UTour Digital Media Team on Apr 13, 2022 11:38:10 AM

Most (if not all) homebuilder sales teams have struggled with staffing model home or community sales centers at some point. From sudden departures to unexpected sick days, keeping your model home staffed and ready for home shoppers 7 days a week is no small feat — especially during the unprecedented “Great Resignation” experienced over the past year.

Luckily, model homes no longer have to be staffed daily to cater to modern home shoppers. By enabling self-guided tour technology in your model home, visitors can independently explore without a sales representative present — even before or after normal sales center hours. 

A Positive Experience for Your Shoppers 

One of the key elements of traditional guided model home tours is having the sales representative share details about the home and community while leading the home shopper through the model. This important experience is also included in self-guided tours, although reimagined to utilize technology instead. 

During self-guided tours, your visitors can get more information in a number of ways. You can set up and integrate a virtual assistant using smart home devices in different rooms. This will allow home shoppers to interact during the tour and receive audible answers to their questions. 

Another option is utilizing the self-tour text assistant, which can conduct the same automated, builder-approved Q&A via SMS text on the visitor’s smartphone. This platform also allows home shoppers to continue engaging via text even after the self-guided tour ends. 

The A.I. voice and text technologies are able to connect the home shopper to the builder’s team as requested. And, you can personalize these messages — and see all self-tour data — directly in your UTour dashboard.

A Positive Experience for Your Sales Team

Once self-guided touring is activated in the models and inventory homes, you will also start seeing the benefits it brings to your sales team as well. And being able to utilize self-guided tours in your model home when your sales associates have the day off is only the start of what’s possible with this technology. 

You can also implement self-guided touring before and after standard model sales center hours. The reality is that 10am to 6pm doesn’t work for a lot of modern home shoppers. Increasing your hours of availability can help you cast a wider net and reach a new segment of home shoppers who otherwise may have never visited on site. 

UTour’s fully-integrated platform will also make life easier for your sales managers. They’ll have access to all of your visitor data, which can also be seamlessly connected to your CRM. Even home security will be handled through our integrations with leading security platforms such as, ADT and Resideo. The added peace of mind will be priceless for everyone on your team. 

Because of self-guided tours, your sales representatives will have more time to dedicate to top prospects looking to transact. UTour will take care of new leads entering the sales funnel by allowing them to explore the early stages of the new home sales process independently on their own schedule. When they reach your sales team, home shoppers will have already completed their initial discovery and ready to take next steps. 

Want to hear more and see how UTour can help in your communities? Schedule a private demo with our team today or download our complimentary white paper: “The Guide to Self-Guided Model Home Tours.”

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing osc smart homes
2 min read

A 3-Step Tech Framework for Today’s New Home Buyer

By UTour Digital Media Team on Mar 11, 2022 10:23:13 AM

Pre-Covid, home shopping — as was the case with essentially all consumer shopping activities — was shifting towards an on-demand, self-service experience. Roughly two-thirds of new home buyers agreed at least somewhat that it would be easier to unlock properties with their phone and tour them in-person on their own time*, 60% of online chats on homebuilder websites occurred after business hours** and home shopping activity was significant throughout all hours of the day. 

Then the pandemic happened, and this shift went into hyper-speed. 

An immersive, digital experience when shopping for a home and the ability to gather information on-demand (day or night) is no longer merely wanted; it is expected amongst today’s home buyers. They demand the freedom and flexibility to be in control of their new home shopping experience and want: 

  1. On-demand home information via multiple devices and communication methods
  2. Self-direction/self-service convenience on their schedule in a no pressure environment 
  3. A no-contact experience due to social distancing constraints, but also for reduced pressure and the ability to more fully self-evaluate new home choices
  4. A variety of ways to interact with sales staff on their terms, whether it’s in-person, virtually or via AI automation (chatbots and voice)

Not only do home buyers want this, but so do sales teams. New home sales representatives are fed up with spending countless hours in repetitive “show and tell” interactions in a limited storefront (10am-6pm) and are overwhelmed with the time required to sort out unqualified or truly unmotivated shoppers to focus on real prospects. These customer service minded professionals want to serve the buyer’s needs but can’t work around the clock or be in multiple locations at the same time. They need help with follow-up and nurture activities that can be very time-consuming and inefficient.

This is why The Real-Time New Home Sales Experience Framework is needed. This new marketing and sales framework is designed to reduce friction and address the on-demand expectations of today’s home buyers while supporting the needs of new home sale professionals. 

If you missed our presentation on this Framework at the 2022 International Builders’ Show (IBS), you can now watch the presentation virtually via IBS on-demand, watch our Framework explainer video here and be sure to request your copy of our presentation via our website.

*New Construction Consumer Housing Trends Report 2021

**AtlasRTX National Client Average

Topics: self-guided tours proptech new home marketing osc smart homes
4 min read

The 2022 International Builders’ Show: Where We’ll Be & What You Can Expect to See

By UTour Digital Media Team on Feb 3, 2022 12:47:06 PM

All the movers and shakers of the new home industry are headed to Orlando, Florida in early February for this year’s International Builders’ Show. The event is back to being held in person after a successful virtual show in 2021.
There will be countless booths and sessions to choose from over the three-day event, so attendees are sure to leave with plenty of new knowledge and connections. With so many to choose from, we want to make sure UTour is as easy to find as possible each day.
That's why we’re sharing all of our details ahead of time, to allow you to pre-plan and add UTour to your itinerary. You can find us in a few different places over the course of the event, including at our booth and presenting at select information sessions. Here’s everything we know — we hope to see you there!
Topics: self-guided tours new home marketing IBS2022
2 min read

Why Stop at One? What You Need to Know About Multi-Home Tours

By UTour Digital Media Team on Oct 11, 2021 11:52:42 AM

If you’ve been utilizing our self-guided home tours at your communities for a while now, you know that UTour is constantly working to innovate and improve the experience for both homebuilders and home shoppers. Our newest feature continues to do just that. Now, visitors can schedule a self-guided tour reservation that lets them explore multiple homes while using a single entry access code. Here are some of the biggest benefits you’ll see when you launch this feature in your communities:

Topics: self-guided tours proptech
2 min read

Tour Times Matter: How New Self-Tour Duration Options Can Make an Difference

By UTour Digital Media Team on Aug 17, 2021 12:17:33 PM

UTour’s builder partners know that the 60-minute self-guided tour has been our standard offering since launching. But just because something is tried and true doesn’t mean we’re going to stop innovating. 

Recently, we’ve been seeing more and more builders supplementing their model home staffing with self-guided tours — enabling UTour for safe, self-guided tour availability after normal sales center hours. While going fully self-service is not for everyone, it’s been a successful evolution for many homebuilders in a variety of markets. So successful in fact, that builders want to offer a greater number of tour availability each day in order to reach more home shoppers. 

So we’re introducing a new, shorter tour time that will let you maximize every minute. We just launched our 30-minute self-tour duration option. Here’s what you need to know about the new feature: 

Topics: self-guided tours proptech