Rightmove has set out its innovation programme for the private rental sector.
The portal has given over a substantial amount of its most recent trading statement to what it describes as good progress on a “rentals solution.”
It says the use of video viewings represents a significant shift in the behaviour of agents and consumers, with steady adoption of its system in this area - over 40,000 videos have been uploaded to the platform since the launch of the Rightmove tool.
“Following two successful trial phases, Viewings Manager, our integrated appointment booking system for tenants began full roll out in 2020. Building on the knowledge gained as part of the [tenant referencing company] Van Mildert acquisition, Viewings Manager includes the next iteration of the Rightmove Tenant Passport” says a statement from the firm.
The appointment booking functionality allows tenants to request an appointment electronically whilst enhancing the lead information with the passport details. This allows agents to assess the property's affordability and suitability for the tenant, and potentially allow them to suggest something more suitable.
Once a viewing is confirmed, tenants can cancel or reschedule the appointment at the click of a button and receive automated reminders to help avoid missed appointments and unnecessary journeys for agents. Following the viewing, feedback is automatically gathered from the tenant saving the agent time and offering the home hunter the chance to express their interest in progressing towards tenancy.
“Since roll out began in November over 400 independent Agency branches have adopted Viewings Manager with over 18,000 Passports completed in January 2021 and a similar number of appointments already requested. Early feedback from agents on the improved efficiency of the process is encouraging, with a number reporting a significant reduction in wasted journeys to appointments” explains Rightmove.
Looking ahead it says: “When moving, tenants require a number of services such as home contents insurance and broadband for their new homes. Offering these services at the right time in the moving journey is important in making the service useful to tenants and therefore valuable.
“In 2020 we took the first steps to expand the monetisation of the rental journey by offering these services to tenants who had successfully passed a reference with Van Mildert. Despite our offering in 2020 being experimental and not optimised, we helped nearly 7,000 tenants with their needs. This is an area we intend to experiment with further in 2021 by engaging the Rightmove audience throughout their tenant journey.”