It’s this perception/reality gap that Vancouver-based LNG Studios aims to bridge by using virtual reality to allow prospective buyers to fully understand, experience and feel the home they’re looking to purchase during the pre-construction stage.
“Virtual reality truly creates a new dimension in storytelling that’s edgy and futuristic,” says Matt Grant, Creative Director and Principal at LNG Studios. “We believe that VR will be an essential piece of companies’ marketing and advertising efforts in the near future.”
For real estate developers like Canada’s Concord Pacific and CPM Companies in the United States, VR provides an opportunity to introduce a unique and immersive medium to showcase their projects to potential clients at a relatively low cost. The developers worked with LNG Studios to create their own mobile-based campaigns using premium branded headsets designed to fit a mobile phone. The headsets are then distributed to prospective homebuyers enabling them to “virtually” step inside the floorplans, explore the amenities and tour the future neighbourhood. And, since the tours can be accessed online, the experience can be replayed over and over again from anywhere in the world.
“Mobile is a really powerful marketing and sales tool because everyone has a cell phone,” says Grant. “There are companies that make devices which are basically glass optics that you put on your phone and enables you to view the content like a headset.”
While most builders rely on brochures with 2D floor plans or 3D renderings to inform consumers of their products, VR is designed to complement these existing marketing strategies by enhancing the customer experience and adding a certain “wow” factor.
As early adopters of real estate VR marketing, both Concord and CPM were able to leverage the public’s curiosity for the new technology and garner significant media coverage and exposure.
“It’s a very memorable experience. So even though it’s really simple, it’s very effective, impactful and cost effective,” says Grant. “In the same way that you would take home a brochure or USB stick, now you can take home a virtual reality experience that allows the person to relive the magic in their own time.”
With VR revolutionizing the way we visualize spaces, the potential applications of the technology are endless and can be used across many industries. LNG Studios has already worked with major clients in hospitality including The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City Hotel in Washington, DC.
Going beyond two-dimensional photographs or 360-degree tours on a desktop computer, the hotel’s VR tour provides an immersive virtual walk-through of suites, meeting spaces and amenities. Hotel staff can also be seen and heard introducing themselves as they guide the user through the 360-degree scene. The result is a more immersive experience that allows the hotel to showcase their property and the level of service offered in a unique and innovative way.
“It’s always exciting to be a part of forward thinking,” says Grant. “We’ve had interest from insurance, safety, oil refineries and mining. Everybody has an interest in this and there’s really a broad industrial application for the technology.”