How Renaissance Rentals Uses Gruveo for Live Property Video Tours

rritshomEric Dainton is the General Manager of Renaissance Rentals, a property management company based in Bloomington, Indiana. They own and manage around 750 apartments in the area, best known as home to one of the Big Ten schools, Indiana University.

One of Eric’s favorite roles within the company is marketing and finding ways to better reach prospective customers. Thanks to the company’s progressive and customer-focused nature they decided to launch a live video tour option. As many people viewing properties are unable to visit Bloomington before making a housing decision, it seemed the closest alternative to make prospective residents feel confident in their housing choice.

The search for an ideal video call solution took some time. Eric’s main consideration was that the application needed to be easy to use, something important for both staff and property viewers. Closely behind that was a universal solution, something that everyone could have access to. Eric said he considered many options including FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype, amongst others. However, in the end he found Gruveo to be the ideal solution for three key reasons:

  1. It is anonymous. Unlike other live video apps, no accounts or usernames are required. This is perfect for prospective residents who may not feel comfortable sharing their personal information. “Gruveo’s custom link solution is very creative and great for anonymous video chats,” says Eric.
  2. It is universal. “You don’t have to have a specific mobile platform – it works on iOS & Android, plus it works on personal computers as well,” said Eric. “FaceTime seemed to be a good solution at first, but it’s only available to iOS users.”
  3. It’s easy to use. At Renaissance Rentals they simply share a link with a prospective resident, usually via email. They set up a time and all the prospective resident needs to do to connect is click that link.
Coffee talk at BBC

Renaissance Rentals staff enjoying training

Despite Gruveo being so easy to use, it is still important to provide training for staff, says Eric. When initially launched last year, it didn’t gain much traction due to staff not feeling confident with the process.

However, following sessions early this year which included set-up role plays and access to training materials, use within the company has grown. There has also been an increased demand from Renaissance’s customers to have a live video tour service in recent months.

So how do Renaissance Rentals actually use Gruveo? The call flow works like this:

  • A live tour is suggested if they find out that a prospective resident won’t be able to visit the property in person. Prospective residents are very receptive to this idea and few ever say “no” to the video tour option.
  • They generate a custom call link using the Gruveo extension for Chrome, email it to the prospective resident and then paste it into their calendar reminder so they can refer to it on the day of the tour.
  • Once the tour is in progress, they greet the customer using the front-facing camera. Then they turn to the rear camera to show off the units. The most important thing, says Eric, “is for the prospect to get a good view of the apartment and be able to tell us what they want to see.” They often use the “Selfie Mode” feature of the Gruveo iOS app to enlarge the screen which shows what their camera is showing and shrink the one of the prospect, making it easier to see a full screen view of the apartment.

Eric feels this is a “pretty efficient process”, something which is helped by their clever use of the Gruveo Chrome extension.

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Renaissance Rentals manages around 750 apartments in the Bloomington area

The work with training within the company has definitely paid off as the user feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “Being able to give these live video tours has directly lead to prospective residents signing leases with us,” he says. It has even enabled them to shorten the sales process by weeks or even months thanks to the fact that the tours have made people feel comfortable enough to sign for an apartment they haven’t yet been able to see in person. “It’s the next best thing to being with them,” says Eric.

Renaissance Rentals has big plans for the future. “We plan to continue to grow and would like to move into other markets at some point,” says Eric. Following such great success with live tours, they plan to explore new ways to connect with prospective and current residents to create a better experience for them. They might be interested in incorporating multi-party calling which would be ideal when there are several roommates or parents involved. Another idea is live 360 VR tours. All of this as well as “continuing to provide our residents with great homes and provide the best customer service in our market,” Eric added.

Video calling has been a great success at Renaissance Rentals. As a very customer-focused company, they have found this extra service to be very valuable. “Although we are a small company, we are very progressive,” says Eric. “We are very satisfied with Gruveo and we do and will continue to recommend it.”

If you’re interested in trying out Gruveo for your business, we’re offering a 14-day trial of the Gruveo Pro. It includes unlimited group calling for up to 8 people, call recording, branding the call screen and much more. Check it out and see yourself what it can do for your business.