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Spreading the Sunshine One Tour at a Time

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By Kayla O’Brien

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2008-It takes more than innovative technologies to stand out in today’s marketplace. After all, isn’t everyone catching on by now? What is setting serious agents apart, however, is not only using the right technologies, but also getting creative and keeping the consumer in mind when it comes to their day-to-day processes.

Virtual tours, such as those provided by VisualTour, are a growing turnkey method in which industry professionals can maximize their selling potential when it comes to providing exposure for both buyers and sellers.

“We truly believe in Internet marketing and visual tours,” says Stacy Benedict, vice president of eCommerce & Marketing for Prudential Florida WCI Realty. “VisualTour has been a fantastic partner with innovative technology and is always providing the easiest-to-use and most cost effective marketing solutions.”

The sixth-largest Prudential affiliate for the second-straight year, Prudential Florida WCI Realty stresses the importance of teaming each and every listing with a virtual tour throughout its 45 office locations in Florida. To accomplish this, from the company’s inception, the VisualTour Studio software has been installed on all company PCs, and each associate has a VisualTour account upon joining the company.

“We consider VisualTour one of our preferred service partners,” says Benedict. “Our associates love looking for innovative ways to market homes and they see VisualTour as a strong partner to accomplish this.”

Agents who use the VisualTour Marketing System receive more than just software.

With the option to utilize up to 50 scenes, agents can create a virtual tour using the digital photos that they’re already accustomed to taking. These photos are then transformed into a completely interactive tour featuring panoramic views, text descriptions, voice narrations, music, and even the option to be downloaded to a CD for open house take-homes or e-mailed for additional exposure. What’s more, VisualTours can be customized with brand colors, agent contact information, photographs, links to their website, etc.

“The nice thing about VisualTour is that they allow you to have up to 50 scenes, which gives us tremendous flexibility to uniquely market each home,” says Benedict. “We can include photos of the surrounding community, the closest schools, nearby parks and shopping centers. This way, anyone looking at that property can get a really good feel of being there. This is more than just your standard virtual tour.”

With such pioneering approaches to the virtual tour, Benedict says that the company also provides outstanding support for its product and partners.

“They provide one-on-one training over the phone and with their toll-free number, it’s always easy to get a hold of a support person when questions arise,” says Benedict.

Among the benefits of choosing VisualTour is the fact that all parties involved have something to gain. Buyers are drawn to listings with virtual tours because of the visual assets available to them when it comes to getting a good feel for a property before venturing to see it.

Sellers in today’s market require that associates market their properties to the best of their ability, so properties with virtual tours stand far above those that may only have a few photos or a slideshow. VisualTour goes a step further for agents by automatically distributing the link to their tours to a number of portals such as Yahoo! Real Estate, Google, Realtor.com, and many others, generating nearly 10 million tour views per month. The agent can then track the actual number of times each tour has been viewed and provide feedback to their clients.

Another often-overlooked detail of virtual tours is a critical component in the real estate process-time. These tours serve as a sneak preview and can be a compelling advantage when it comes to luring buyers into viewing the listing in person.

“One of our offices used to go on caravans and tour the most recent listings,” says Benedict. “But because of everyone’s time constraints and the rising cost of gas, they made it an in-house virtual tour. All new listings can be shown to prospects in the comfort of our conference room.”

Above all else, Benedict says that aligning with VisualTour comes highly recommended. In a market that requires more than average technology and effort, Prudential Florida WCI Realty plans to maintain their high-ranking by staying in the forefront with the guidance of a trusted partner.

“We even use it as a recruiting tool,” adds Benedict. “All of our managers are well-versed with the VisualTour Marketing System so whenever they’re talking to a potential candidate, they tell them about our benefits and the use of VisualTours among the other elements we offer.

“For them to provide this type of product and support, it really means a lot. Today’s industry really needs to be focused on Internet marketing-consumers demand it.”

For more information, visit www.VisualTour.com.

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