Rightmove has quietly fast tracked an upgrade to its Apple smartphone app that enables agents to offer full immersive virtual viewings, as demand soars among agents and consumer for this kind of technology.
The portal has told us that it is in the process of rolling out an update to its mobile apps to introduce virtual rours and to add further functionality for video, to help agents who use videos and tours in their marketing.
“Previously, videos were only available as embedded YouTube or Vimeo videos on our mobile apps,” it says.
“Any externally hosted videos or Virtual Tours, provided by an agent’s software supplier or hosted on their own website for example, would have been available on the desktop and tablet version of our website. Over the coming days these will also be available to view on Rightmove mobile apps.”
“These changes will be rolled out in stages and will require people to update their app if they update apps manually. The iOS app version is 6.5.1 and is available now and the Android app version will be 3.14 and will be rolling out next week.”
The virtual tours are currently offered next to listings as ‘video tours‘ (pictured) but the portal has promised suppliers this will be changed soon to ‘virtual tours’.
One agent, Naomi J Ryan in Exeter, has told The Negotiator that they had been discussing upgrades to their account before the crisis with their Rightmove rep, but said would only commit until virtual tours were given the green light on its app.
The agency, which is a one-branch sales and lettings agency with over 70 properties for sale on Rightmove, were then told upgrading the app had been put at the head of the portal’s development queue.
The firm’s senior valuer Michael Jones says that his company’s fully immersive virtual tours are now available on the app, which up to 70% of Rightmove’s online traffic funnels through.
“We’ve been jumping and down to Rightmove about adding property virtual tours since we began doing them three years ago, but I’m happy to say they’ve listened, no doubt as more and more agents have sought to offer buyers this kind of service during the Coronavirus crisis,” he says.
Naomi J Ryan’s video tours, which are available for three quarters of its sales listings, are supplied by the EyeSpy360 platform whose founder Andrew Nichols (below) says he has been swamped by sales enquiries from agents over the past two weeks as the lockdown has descended and face-to-face viewings have become impossible to complete safely.
“EyeSpy360 is working with property portals all over the world and they’re all going in the same direction as Rightmove with virtual viewings,” says Nicholls.
“What had been promised as a feature in 12-18 months is now being delivered in a matter of weeks.”