Commercial Investment Real Estate September/October 2013 - Page 22

TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Is Video Worth It? by Dennis LaMantia f So why hasn’t commercial real estate embraced video? Slashed marketing bud- gets are partially to blame. Less expensive options — photos, Google Maps, and text descriptions — are available, which can make it tough to justify additional spend- ing. “If you can price it like a sign we’d be interested,” was the response Daniel Dug- gan, deputy managing editor for Crain’s Detroit Business, got when he pitched his paper’s commercial property video tour service to a broker. More importantly, commercial real estate is a handshake business, and it’s dif cult to get chummy with a video viewer. But indus- try professionals contend that video can increase handshakes and business. Video’s Advantages “We’re really starting to see this shif in the commercial real estate space where people are using technology,” says Nick Romito, whose company, View T e Space, creates 20 September | October | 2013 video tours of clients’ commercial property to generate and track leads. Romito says one of the challenges his com- pany faced early on was convincing brokers that video would not marginalize them but make their role more important. “Brokers would tell us ‘there’s no way a video can sell the space better than I can,’ and we said you’re absolutely right,” he explains. “We’re not trying to replace the in-person experi- ence but improve it.” In fact, View T e Space clients actually see more in-person interaction. “We ran some numbers on spaces with videos and spaces that don’t,” Romito says. “T e ones with video have three times the number of in-person visits.” Although brokers typically want to spend less time showing space and more time closing deals, more in-person vis- its with qualif ed leads could lead to shorter sales cycles, he adds. Video also gives more detail than text and shows spatial relationships, which are dif - cult to convey in pictures. “Each building has its own personality, which is what you’re able to get across on video,” says Kevin O’Reilly, founder of Buildings On Demand, a video production company that specializes in com- mercial real estate. With video, owners or landlord reps have a controlled medium to piece a property’s characteristics together to tell a story, which is dif cult to accomplish with photos and text. Unlike print marketing, video can easily be shared and tracked. “If a sales rep sends me something in the mail, I can’t rewrap it and send it to a client,” O’Reilly says. “But if you create a high-quality video I may for- ward that in an e-mail to my client.” Video sharing is now easier for LoopNet users. T e property listing service recently added a video upload feature to premium listings. Users can now supplement the text and photo descriptions with videos that can be viewed by the site’s 4 million monthly visitors. Commercial Investment Real Estate From shoes to cars to houses, industries are embracing product videos. They give consumers a chance to view before they buy. For businesses, videos provide an opportunity to control the marketing message, are easily shared, and provide details beyond pictures and words.