Analytics Tell the Story: Prospects View 3D Floor Plans First on a Website
A property’s website is like the front door of a home. To get a prospect to step inside, you have to make it look inviting. “We only have a few seconds to captivate our audience,” says Garrett McGrew, Regional Marketing Director for Pinnacle, the third largest management company in the United States. His region alone has 115 properties, with a total of more than 30,000 units.
“Definitely, using a 3D floor plan has a huge impact. From an analytics standpoint, we see that once people have entered the home page, their next destination is the floor plans page. Most people would think it’s the gallery, but our analytics show that people go straight to the 3D floor plans,” McGrew says.
His marketing team oversees all of the region’s advertising and marketing efforts to ensure that web traffic continuously flows to the property’s website, and that every user has a good experience.
“That’s where a 3D floor plan is a big win for us, because it helps people visualize what the apartment actually looks like as opposed to an ordinary 2D floor plan,” he says. “Overall, it has improved the digital experience of our users. We’ve seen an increase in our user sessions on our websites, specifically on the 3D floor plans pages.”
Beware the hidden cost of ordinary floor plans.
McGrew’s background is in commercial real estate, where the standard procedure was to hire a graphic designer to draw flat two-dimensional floor plans based on materials provided by the architect. But the final product was decidedly lacking in visual appeal.
“It was just your standard 2D plan. Maybe a rectangle that says ‘kitchen island’ or something. There wasn’t anything special about it. So that’s frustrating when you’re trying to be competitive and you have a tight deadline, especially on a lease-up, and you’re trying to hit a certain budget and occupancy. You need something that’s going to make your assets stand out from the rest,” McGrew says.
When he joined Pinnacle, he was introduced to the 3DPlans team, which has completed more than 50 projects for his company, including 3D Floor Plans, 2D Floor Plans, Site Maps and 3D Walking Tours.
After experiencing what they can do, he would never go back to the old way and hire a graphic designer. “As you can imagine, sometimes a graphic designer doesn’t have the same attention to detail as someone working with the programs 3DPlans uses,” he says, pointing out how their team has a greater understanding of the construction process. “These people are familiar with how architecture works and the reason why, for example, this water heater is located here. Some graphic designer might not care much about those details.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, he found that switching to 3DPlans was actually more cost-efficient than hiring a graphic designer. He was able to get a higher quality finished product faster, and at a significantly lower price point.
“In all honesty, I found that it’s more expensive to use a graphic designer. 3DPlans has a great library to work with, and they’ve got a solid team, so they’ve been able to work out the best pricing structures for us,” he says.
Better branding leads to more customers.
Today, he considers 3d floor plans essential to his business.
“So often when you go to a property, you’ll get a different type of floor plan handed to you than what you saw on the website, in terms of how it is designed. With 3DPlans, they provide us with all the right file types, so we have the same high quality plans for our website, social media, and printed collateral,” he says.
Being able to use exactly the same eye-catching floor plans on all of their marketing materials is invaluable for property branding and identity. “It just makes the user experience more enjoyable from a digital perspective. When people come in and take a tour, and they see that exact same floor plan in their file, it’s just seamless,” he says.
As a direct result of using photorealistic 3d floor plans, McGrew has found that the company is able to lease more units site unseen.
“It’s a fantastic thing, especially for people who are relocating and aren’t able to actually set foot in the unit, because the plans look so realistic. They can say, ‘Hey, it’s been my dream to have a king size bed. Will it fit?’ Well, here’s the 3D floor plan that shows a king size bed in this room with two nightstands. It helps you visualize it and know whether your furniture will work out. Also, we have the measurements right on the floor plan, so people can see the exact dimensions of each room,” he says.
A proven track record of success.
To date, 3DPlans has worked with McGrew to design more than 200 different 3D floor plans.
A key part of that success is the consistent reliability and open communication. “Their way of communicating and staying on time is just super beneficial for us,” he says. “If we tell our client or the owner of a community that they will see a floor plan in a week, we know that 3DPlans is going to hit that deadline. We don’t have to chase them down for it.”
He notes how effortlessly the team handles even complex projects. “It’s very smooth. Everything is kept in their online portal. It’s a dashboard where you can go check on their progress. I also use an app where they put all of the floor plans that they’re working on. You can easily make comments directly to that or submit for approval. And everything is very, very on time. If they tell you that you’re going to get it on Wednesday, you will have it on Wednesday,” he says.
Whenever he’s had an emergency deadline, 3DPlans has always come through for him. “I have plenty of buildings with unique layouts. If I tell them: I made these comments on these floor plans, can I get them back as soon as possible today or tomorrow? They will definitely do that for you.”
“My favorite vendor for 3d plans.”
“What we like about the plans that we get from 3DPlans is that they’re just such professional-looking renderings. It’s really easy to visualize yourself living there. They go into great detail looking at the finishes that we provide them for the units and making sure those are captured in the final floor plan,” he says.
Equally important is the capability to get exactly the furniture and colors he’s looking for. “They do an excellent job at that. If you send them a furniture plan to use as a model, they can definitely copy that for you. But if you’re unable to do that, they’ve got a huge library of interior finishes and furniture to choose from,” he says.
McGrew has some advice for anyone considering a 3D floor plan vendor. “Look at the quality in comparison to the cost. If you use a lower quality floor plan, you’re going to lose out because it won’t look as professional and put together. If you’re able to get a better quality floor plan for minimal extra money, do it. Because it’s going to help you in the long run,” he says.
“This group does a really great job,” McGrew adds. “They’re my favorite vendor for 3D plans.”