At TourBuzz, we're always looking for ways to grow our business by helping you grow yours.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of all real estate listings have professional photography. Right now that number seems to be about 10%. While we have some ideas to help improve that over time, it will be a slow climb.

What that leaves is approximately 90% of the listings that have Do-It-Yourself photos. Only about 40-50% of DIY photos end up in a proper "tour" rather than just attached to the listing.

We see an opportunity to create a self-service product that would have these benefits:
  • Offer a way to engage with your customers even on DIY listings
  • Provide a way to make some money even on tours that you don't shoot (you would be able to mark-up the self-service tours)
  • Create a situation where you can do sales meetings at brokerages and have enough product to sell that this is a profitable activity
  • Stronger branding for brokerages - a TourBuzz "custom skin" would be used for DIY and professional tours, giving brokers a consistent brand across all listings
  • A foot-in-the-door for working with brokerages to provide co-op funds for professional photography. If you can get a broker to pitch in even $10-25 towards the cost of any professional tour, this lowers the cost to the agent and should drive higher sales volumes of professional shoots
This would certainly be an optional service from TourBuzz, since we know that not all people will think it's a good idea.

I look forward to your feedback. We are looking for input on pricing, features, support, and any other aspects of this service that require consideration.

Regards,
Alan

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Alan,

I think this has some possibilities. The tours would have to be really easy to put together. I am not sure most DIY realtors have the knowledge, nor desire to find a panoramic program separate from tourbuzz to create tours. I might suggest you look at doing a fully integrated tour platform that realtors could use with ease. Kind of following the ease of Visual Tour. Or the ease of Listings Magic....which in my opinion is not a real tour and doesn't look very good, but it's really cheap and easy for the realtors to upload images into, so they use it.

There would have to be lots of step by step instructions/ tutorials, otherwise they will drive you completely crazy like I did when I first started - but there would be many many more of them :-) . I would be happy to work on step by step instructions with you guys.

I am not personally interested in going to brokerages to sell the tour platform as I am busy enough with my own business. However, I would be happy to mention it whenever I teach a photo class at my local board as another option for the realtors.

Ah, pricing....that's always a tough one. I need to think about that more.
I'll ask you as well - I am not sure that the answer to the pano stitching is to make it really easy; rather I think it's to leave it out!

Do you know any agents that even want to do this, even with simple tools? I am more talking about just giving them a decent automated slideshow tool...
A good slideshow tool is doable. Because you are probably right that most wouldn't do the panos.

Can you set it up so it does the automatic Ken Burns effect and you could chose a few options without having to do each photo using the start here end here (actually I would like this option for me) but, have it so it pans out from the one side to a full shot, or you could chose panning out from the center, panning into the center - and or the same options from each corner. Does that make sense?
Certainly we would keep the automated ken burns effect.

I am not sure if you noticed, but we did recently add the ability to completely customize the ken burns effect... you can exactly customize start & end, as well as update the duration and have a live preview. You can get to the ken burns editor if you "edit" a photo and choose the "Customize Video Slideshow" tab. You do have to have the "Enable Video Slideshow" turned on for the tour. Give us a call if you can't find it.

It's an interesting idea to have some presets, maybe we could have a few controls for an "effect builder":
* Zoom: in/out
* Start: Center/Top/Top Right/Right/Bottom Right/Bottom/Bottom Left/Left/Top Left
* End: same as above
Then a button to "create effect". Then of course you could customize the results... would that even be useful? We haven't really gotten any complaints on the current system, and I am not sure that the above would be faster than what we already have.

Let me know,
Alan
I do know that you can customize the ken burns effect and I did do it for one of my clients....but, it takes a long time when you have lots of photos. It would be nice to have a default ken burns effect that would alternate for the whole size of the image for all still shots. Something one could set in the account preferences. Or it would just be the default for all the stills.

My preference would be to have all images pan out to full size. Then if I need to I could customize later. I really like to utilize the full size of the still images as the rooms always look bigger.

Just a thought.
Ah, I see. Well, currently we randomize it. I am not sure that picking a "default" for all pictures would really be any better. Do you think that always zooming out from center on every photo would look good? I think the beauty behind ken burns is the changing motion it offers to keep the slideshow from getting repetitive, and I am not sure applying the same motion to each one would be that great.

Maybe you could try configuring a tour to do exactly that and see if it works well and let me know?
I like the randomize, it just doesn't go far enough. I meant to have it always pan out, but it could pan from different corners and the center. Maybe have the image start smaller than it currently does and then pan out to full size. So there is a more noticeable ken burns effect.

Just a thought
Ah, I see. We tested it with a lot of images from customers, and we felt if we had it zoom any more it started to really cut things off rather than just offer gentle motion.

I would love to see you set up a demo tour with what you'd consider good "random" action and see if we can do some calculations and come up with a better model. Whenever we try to guess settings for people it just never works out!
I'll work on that....When I did that I did have to set my stills for 5 instead of the 3 that I usually do.

I'll let you know when I have something set up for you to see.
Alan, I went back and looked at the two tours where I took the time to do the ken burns effect on all of the stills. These were a while ago...

http://tours.grapeimaging.com/public/vtour/display/14690?a=1
http://tours.grapeimaging.com/public/vtour/display/15112?a=1

Not sure if they are too fast, but the stills are set at 5
Those look great, actually! I think you've convinced me that we should either change our default "randomization" or at least offer a choice of some basic "patterns" for the no-touch ken burns effect. I will discuss this with our team and get something on the list for it. It will be at least several weeks before we can get to it, but it is a good idea.
Cool! You guys are the best. I am so glad I found you.

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