CALA offers interactive guided showhome tours

CALA Homes (East) has become the first housebuilder in Scotland to offer buyers a personal virtual guided tour of its showhomes.

CALA offers interactive guided showhome tours

To create the offering, the firm has worked extensively with North Lanarkshire-based View360 Scotland Ltd to bring its homes and showhomes to life through the virtual platform called Matterport, which fully models a house using high-definition 360-degree cameras.

The technology, which also allows the involvement of sales consultants via an inbuilt video conference function, has proven so valuable it is now being offered to CALA customers Scotland wide.

The builder halted activity on its sites at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown measures, instead launching a Remote Reservations service to complement the selection of virtual tours already available on their website.

Remote Reservations, combined with Virtual Guided Tours, offers would-be buyers the opportunity and confidence to continue searching for and securing their dream home from the comfort of their current one.

Philip Hogg, sales and marketing director with CALA Homes (East), said: “Since 2008 we’ve worked with View360 on different ways to showcase all of our homes online, so that interested buyers can take a tour at any time on our website.

“Given the current situation, we feel it’s even more necessary to engage with our potential buyers personally, and as such, over the past few weeks we’ve been working with View360 to create the best remote user experience for our customers whereby they can now take a tour of more than 30 of our homes, virtually accompanied by our sales consultants.

“The end product is quite astonishing – the Virtual Guided Tours look really clear and are very high quality. They allow customers a chance to ask their questions to our team real time regarding room layouts, sizes and specification. What View360 have produced is a really valuable tool for us and to potential buyers.

“Our Virtual Guided Tours will have lasting benefits outside the pandemic, including enabling customers who live a distance away from our developments, such as in England or abroad, to remotely take a tour of one of our showhomes, or allow people to do a lot more of the leg work involved in house hunting remotely from home before visiting site.”

The service allows buyers that chance to really immerse themselves in the home they are considering making theirs, all while providing an excellent, personalised experience by CALA’s 5-star Customer Service team.

John Robinson, managing director of View360, said: “CALA Homes (East) is the first of our clients to go live with the service – we’ve refined the platform over the past couple of weeks with the team at CALA to make sure it looks and works exactly how they want it to.

“The real beauty of this is that the host, in this case the sales consultant, is navigating and guiding buyers through the home in real time – it gives you that face to face dynamic you can’t get under the current circumstances otherwise.”

To access the service, buyers agree a time and date with a sales consultant on their preferred development and gain access by clicking on a URL the sales team creates through the software. This allows guests to enjoy a face to face interaction to ensure they can ask questions in real time while viewing the home they are interested in.

The platform supports two guests at any time as well as the sales consultant, meaning buyers can invite along a family member for a second opinion as they would in person. This enables buyers to invite parents or friends who might live further away, which is not always an easy option at in person viewings.

While on the tour, buyers can also be left on their own to privately view the property and can also view the home in different ways including via an impressive dollhouse or birds-eye view of the home. All these additional tools give a further clear picture of the size and scale of the home and each of its rooms, while the tour itself brings the floorplan to life.

Philip added: “It will have far-reaching benefits even when we return to a new normality.

“For instance, should a buyer be interested in a style of home that isn’t available to view as a showhome at their preferred development, they’ll be able to visit the home through a Virtual Guided Tour. This really is a brilliant step forward for buyer experience.”

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