UK agent Thomas Morris is claiming to have held the world’s first live ‘virtual open house’. It did so on the new social media platform Periscope.
The virtual open day attracted more than ten times the number of participants than a physical open day at the same property. It was a genuine open day in that Thomas Morris director Simon Bradbury was actually at the property, showing everything live and answering questions live.
Periscope is a live-streaming video app which allows you to watch and broadcast live video from all across the globe. One of the world’s fastest growing apps in terms of usage, it was acquired from its start-up founders by Twitter in March for $100m.
Followers can interact with the broadcaster by typing in questions and can show their approval by sending a ‘heart’ – the equivalent of a ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ on Facebook or Twitter.
Thomas Morris, which was recently acquired by LSLi, broadcast the live open day from St Neots in Cambridgeshire.
It attracted 54 viewers at the time and a further ten watched a replay.
Bradbury said: “We held the virtual open house just before the traditional open house.
“We had five people turn up for the traditional version and over ten times as many viewed live on line via the Periscope app.
“We were genuinely surprised not only by the number of virtual viewers, but the level of interaction and questions about the property itself.”
Earlier in the day, Thomas Morris had conducted a live broadcast from a local food and drink festival which attracted over 60 live viewers.
Bradbury said: “I really do think that this Periscope app has a massive future in our business – and not just to promote property.
“By showing support for our local communities, giving them a voice and an opportunity to publicise their services, products or good causes, all at no charge, we are able to demonstrate real integration with the local area.
“This is where the future of estate agency is – the very latest technology allowing us to connect directly with local people.”
The property that featured in the open event is now under offer.
The purchaser did not attend either the virtual open event or the physical one: “That would have been absolutely perfect,” said Bradbury. “Nevertheless, I was very impressed by the response we had to our virtual event and the type of questions I was getting – such as how far the property was from the station and about its boiler.
“I will certainly use this again and my current thinking is to use virtual open events as pre-marketing for real open house days. I do think we are going to be hearing a lot more about Periscope and its uses in the next few months.”
A previous virtual open day, which used Facebook, was held at the end of March, but Bradbury said that this was really a virtual walk-through and did not use live streaming.
This is how Eye reported it at the time.