VIRTUAL PROPERTY VISITS AND ONLINE BOOKING – THE NEW NORMAL
Covid-19 and the consequent global pandemic led to the shutdown that the world wasn’t prepared for. While education was considered a recession-proof sector, the social and economic uncertainties amidst the pandemic have impacted its stakeholders at varying degrees. In India, approximately 10 million migrant students who left for their homes during the mid-semester break didn’t expect to not return to colleges for the remaining semester. Most colleges and institutes switched to online classes as the learning medium.
Social distancing and interstate travel rules are a major challenge for the student housing segment which is primarily dependent on these migrant students. According to Ernst & Young report on the Impact of COVID19 on the student housing segment in India, ‘the student housing operators will see an impact, but the quantum is more manageable compared to some other real estate classes.’ Interestingly, the intended college/university choice remains unchanged for the incoming freshman students. The entrance exams and admissions are delayed and universities are expected to re-open between September-December 2020. Student housing operators need innovation to cater to the demands of the new batch. The report highlights key questions that operators will have to tackle that include maintaining social distancing rules & detecting and managing cases of infection.
The upcoming students and families will not be able to take campus and property visits. Mostly, they will search for PGs online and book via digital payment. Virtual property visits and online bookings can prove to be a blessing in disguise for both students and operators. Operators embracing the technology and its advancements will have an upper hand in this stressed time.
A virtual tour not only gets your listing noticed but lets the customer know the property well. “Offering your listings as 360 virtual tours will give your potential buyers the fullest sense of engagement with the property”, Bonnie Christian, a video lead generation expert, mentions in her LinkedIn article. Digitally personalized virtual tours augment the engaging nature of the video, adds Bonnie. She says, “Personalization appeals to your potential buyers’ story of themselves by placing them into your video, drawing them into the content more effectively than a generic video.”
The innovative digitization of the real estate sector in India is taking place and post-pandemic, it is expected to become a more technology-driven sector. Sunny Takrani, CMO of BookMyPG, India’s first broker-free PG platform, says, “Physical property visits will become the last option, whereas virtual property visits will grow to become a necessity. Virtual tours will end the need to run pillar to post while finding the right accommodation.”
Students and parents will find these online tours more accessible and affordable. Also, it will save them from falling prey to money-grubbing brokers. Online property visit followed by digital payments makes booking your perfect accommodation an easy process.
By the time we would’ve learned to live in a pandemic, these tech advancements will become the new normal in this situation. One thing that we have realized in these times is the ‘survival of the fittest’ and the one most adaptable to change is the fittest.