SINGAPORE - PropertyGuru is the latest brand to jump on the virtual reality bandwagon with the launch of a mobile showroom that is doing the rounds in Singapore.
The virtual showroom is part of PropertyGuru’s Great Singapore Sale Special, an initiative to woo prospective buyers.
According to CMO Bjorn Sprengers, the real estate portal has been looking into the idea for a while as a way to tap into the trend of crossing the lines of online and bricks and mortar. “We recently started experimenting with new technologies like drone videos and VR on different platforms and noticed that users were more engaged and in fact appreciative of such content. So we merged the concept of a pop-up store and VR,” Sprengers added.
The idea, however, isn’t new. Sotheby’s International Reality started using Samsung Gear VR last year to showcase luxury homes in Los Angeles and the Hamptons in New York City. Several other realtor companies in developed markets have been experimenting with the technology.
The origin of the campaign goes back to consumer research that showed that users wanted better quality content to help shortlist homes. VR when applied to real estate is still a relatively new thing in Singapore, but it allows a more immersive experience than virtual tours or 2D photos.
“VR is a new technology and there is a lot hype in the tech field. When at roadshows passersby were generally intrigued when they saw other people wearing their those VR glasses and came forward to try the experience. That is the advantage of VR over traditional media,” Sprengers added.
For this campaign, PropertyGuru worked with its creative agency, Brilliant, and media owner, MediaCorp. PropertyGuru will be doing more around VR in the next 12-18 months.
According to Dean Reinhard, creative technology director APAC for Iris Worldwide, PropertyGuru missed a great opportunity. Photogrammetry techniques for real estate marketing are going to completely change how people view properties without actually visiting the location. “Room scale virtual reality and photogrammetry are a match made in heaven and will completely change the real estate industry. For an on-ground event such as this, PropertyGuru would have done well to take advantage of this technology and saved the cardboard VR experiences for viewers at home.”
Another industry executive who didn’t wish to be named said it was good use of technology. “In that respect, what PropertyGuru has done is take possible properties from across Singapore to consumers’ doorstep, which is a great idea.” The person, however, warned that the overall effectiveness of the campaign has to be measured on what this activity did for conversion, which in this case maybe sign-ups for viewing or increase in searches for properties on the site.