News & Updates

Why Self-Guided Tours are Here to Stay in Multifamily

COVID-19 forced self-guided tours to take center stage over this past year. Here's why they have staying power.

If there’s one thing we can always be sure of, it’s change. Since the start of the pandemic, the multifamily industry has quickly adapted to overcome the challenges that came with it. One of the difficulties leasing offices faced was finding a way to continue touring apartments while social distancing. Some communities were already offering self-guided and virtual tours, but they were rapidly put into wide-spread use last year. The pandemic may have forced self-guided tours to take center stage, but as far as we can tell, they’re not going anywhere. They are, dare we say, the new norm. So what makes self-guided tours (SGT) a long-term solution?

Tours can take place outside of regular business hours

Did you know 57% of SGTs happen outside of regular Monday through Friday, 10am–6pm work schedules? Andre Jordan Sanchez, COO of Rently shared this industry survey insight at RETCON Multifamily 2020. SGTs let prospective renters schedule tours at times that best fit their lifestyles. Technologies like smart locks and virtual ID verification help to keep the process fully contactless, and you aren’t locked into running your self-guided tours one way. You have options when it comes to how you let people enter, whether you show the actual unit or a model unit, and how your leasing agents will follow up after tours.

Units can be toured in person

Of course, old-fashioned tours allow residents to see everything in person, but self-guided tours let them maintain social distance while seeing their potential future home. This gives them a personal connection with the space, and the communication your team provides enhances the experience they have as they tour.

They have a faster turnaround

According to consumer surveys provided by Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems, Inc., Vice President, 70% of people tour within two hours of booking their SGT. In the same session at OPTECH, Bonardi shared that SGT lead creation is ten days faster than agent-led tours. The challenge is to not forget the personal touch and to choose the right technology partners for offering self-guided and virtual tours.

Renters get a personal experience of the community

As potential residents walk through the community, they’re able to openly talk about what they see and how they feel about it. A self-guided tour in comparison to a virtual tour gives a greater personal feeling to the tour itself. They get to tangibly see and experience the unit, amenities, outdoor spaces, and more.

They help create a seamless community experience

When you partner with the right technology, you can make your end-to-end experience cohesive and engage with your prospects. It’s possible to still have a personal touch even with limited in-person contact.

With software like Community Boss, residents and future residents can experience your community with an interactive guide and 3D map, highlighting your community features and making your community easy to navigate. Integrate your photos and virtual tours, amenity reservations and parking parking permits, and more. Learn more about Community Boss.


Apartment tours aren’t the same run-of-the-mill experience they once were. Self-guided and virtual tours have changed the game and their adoption has come at a faster rate than anyone could have originally planned for. Industry experts don’t see them doing anything but gaining more traction, and we agree. Among the many benefits you can obtain leads faster, give prospects a personalized experience, and offer extended tour hours with self-guided tours.