Business Technology

UK commercial property sector set for sales spike with launch of virtual tours

3 min read

05 January 2016

Former deputy editor

Real estate firm CBRE has made an attempt to “revolutionise” Britain's commercial property market by striking an exclusive deal with Virtual Walkthrough to deliver interactive office tours to investors.

The partnership will support landlord clients and prospective occupiers and investors with an experience that will deliver 360-degree virtual tours of offices.

The development between CBRE and Virtual Walkthrough means that customers will have the chance to save time by cutting back on the number of visits to make property inspections.

Virtual Walkthrough’s latest project comes after the firm successfully helped an online estate agent to feature an open house on Facebook in March 2015, while it went on to support a luxury property developer with online tours for around 200 premium properties in the summer.

Due to the nature of the CBRE campaign, the companies are anticipating to “significantly speed up the sales cycle”. The office leasing deal with Virtual Walkthrough is exclusive for the next two years and content can be viewed on mobile devices in addition to PCs.

Richard Smart, senior director and head of West End office leasing, CBRE, said: “At CBRE we are continually seeking to adopt new and innovative ways in which we market commercial properties on behalf of our clients.

“As consumers, we’re seeing a transformation across so many sectors thanks to digital advancements and commercial property should be no different.”

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The tech has been compared to Google Streetview and delivers visuals in 4K high-resolution picture. In addition to traditional properties, the firm is also providing tours to yachts, outdoor spaces and more.

Despite the tangible nature of property, digital is having a significant impact on the sector. In December, easyProperty secured a £25m investment to grow its online estate agent design, which resulted in CEO Rob Ellice discuss a “plan to take the market share from traditional high street agencies”.

James Morris-Manuel, co-founder and chief commercial officer of Virtual Walkthrough, added: “In the competitive office market, leasing agents are starting to seek new ways in which to interact with the spaces around them, as well as creating new and unique avenues to present and view properties.

“Virtual Walkthrough gives prospective occupiers access to the next big thing in commercial property marketing.”