One year after the first COVID lockdown in the UK, virtual reality has now transformed the way people buy new home, according to Loughborough-based house builder William Davis Homes.
New figures show thousands of people – an average of more than 290 unique visitors per week – have used virtual reality tours on the company’s interactive website to teleport themselves into a virtual show home, since coronavirus restrictions in March 2021 resulted in the initial closure of on-site show homes.
Thanks to the latest technology involving CGI, visitors to the William Davis Homes website can now immerse themselves in a 360-degree experience to understand more about virtual show homes, customise internal features and purchase off-plan before a brick is laid. They can also view the kitchen colour scheme and bathroom tiles.
“Our virtual reality tours have proven to be invaluable in helping people imagine their ideal home, all from the comfort of their sofa,” said Marketing Manager Sam Starling.
“When marketing offices had to close due to COVID, William Davis Homes was ahead of the game because we were already looking at the potential benefits of interactive tours. The dedicated area on our website means we have been able to meet the growing demand for this exciting customer experience during the last year.
“Virtual reality tours are certainly here to stay. All of our new developments may have them, so customers can continue to explore their options wherever they're, using a smartphone, tablet or computer.”
William Davis Homes has partnered with the digital media experts EyeSiteView, who specialise in creating immersive interactive experiences. They will use the same type of CGI technology featured in video games.
The head of EyeSiteView, Tony Buck, says the aim is not to replace the role of sales staff but for the technology to work alongside these to enhance the customer’s experience.
“Inside a post-COVID world, gone will be the times of driving miles to see a house or a show home for the very first time,” he said.
“I expect that visiting a house with your own eyes will stay a huge part of the buying process, but will come much further down the road.”