Realtor.com opens new doors on mobile via Airbnb partnership
Move Inc.’s Realtor.com is teaming up with rent listing marketplace Airbnb, enabling interested homebuyers to use the mobile-optimized real estate site to book a property near their desired neighborhood in an effort to test out the location.
Consumers who visit realtor.com will be able to rent accommodations across the United States via Airbnb’s platform directly, and may opt to stay in a loft, condominium or other property nearby or in their desired neighborhood. The ability to book on mobile devices will likely augment sales for realtor.com, as time-strapped consumers will appreciate being able to quickly choose and pay for a property to test out before committing to a major home purchase.
“Home buyers considering a purchase in a new neighborhood face a lot of unknowns,” said Bianca De Rose, public relations specialist at Move, Inc., San Jose, CA. “This collaboration between realtor.com and Airbnb gives people the opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like to live in a specific area so they can make a more informed real estate decision.”
Making informed decisions
Realtor.com may begin seeing even higher volumes of customer traffic on its Web site and mobile application with this new feature, as it suggests to consumers that the brand truly cares about their decision-making process and wants them to have all the necessary tools to make an informed choice.
The experience of purchasing or renting a new home is an intimate one for many families, making it imperative for the brand to be as consumer-friendly as possible and reach audiences on all digital platforms.
Individuals will essentially be able to live like a local for a period of time. This move may prompt other real estate brands to follow the try-before-you-buy model that Airbnb and realtor.com are presenting to their customers.
Interested consumers may visit the realtor.com mobile site to browse homes, and can select the “Airbnb before buying” button. Options will be displayed on the homepage and for-sale listing detail pages.
Users can then scroll through these detail pages to view available accommodations they can opt to book via mobile or desktop, providing the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and local attractions of their desired neighborhood. However, this feature is currently not available for its app users.
Realtor.com has been placing an increasing focus on mobile recently, perhaps as a testament to the amount of consumers who prefer to browse listings on their tablet or smartphones before diving into heavier research phases.
Last month, Realtor.com unrolled a new graphic identity for its Web site and mobile apps, and tapped Hollywood actress and director Elizabeth Banks to represent the brand in a series of mobile-optimized Web videos in a bid to reach more on-the-go consumers (see story).
The sweepstakes angle
Realtor.com and Airbnb are kicking off the partnership with a Try Before You Buy sweepstakes to alert consumers of this new booking feature. Home enthusiasts can receive the opportunity to win $500 towards their local Airbnb experience by visiting http://marketing.realtor.com/try-before-you-buy-sweepstakes.
The brands will choose one winner weekly through Aug. 23.
Airbnb has also ramped up its mobile offerings after receiving more bookings made via smartphones and tablets. Last December, it revamped its mobile-optimized site with a responsive design and more user-friendly interface featuring full-bleed, large-scale images (see story).
“By teaming up with Airbnb, we have an opportunity to raise realtor.com’s visibility with millennials, the largest home buying segment in the coming years,” Ms. De Rose said.
“Additionally, the ‘try before you buy’ experience is designed to deliver a better-educated consumer, which will translate into even higher quality leads and happier home buyers.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York