A Kinross-shire firm that creates virtual property tours now has more than 30 staff after Covid-19 led to a surge in demand.
Lockdown restrictions combined with a resilient housing market has benefitted Property Studios.
It has won contracts with more than 30 estate agents as well as a dozen homebuilders.
Hundreds of viewings a month
Founder Michelle Milnes says the firm responded immediately to the pandemic by developing a suite of new products to support its clients.
Every month it completes an average of 100 3D tours, 50 live virtual viewings and 50 virtual projects.
It also completes 500 photo-shoots and floorplans as well as hundreds of brochures.
The expanding firm, which also has an Edinburgh office, has recruited an additional eight staff, taking its headcount to 32.
Saved small property agents
Ms Milnes said: “We’ve worked hard for this success and the irony isn’t lost on me that it’s now coming as a result of the pandemic which has left so many other jobs and businesses flattened.
“It’s pleasing that our technology kept a number of smaller property agents from going out of business.
“While we’ve managed to weather this, we also appreciate our good fortune.
“The various lockdowns have played to our strengths, while the housing market has remained buoyant.
“Our remote video tours and other services were already part of the buying and selling process, but as add-on marketing tools.
“Now restrictions mean house hunters realistically need to take virtual tours first. Then they can arrange a socially distanced property viewing.”
Pandemic has pulled future forward
The boom in virtual product sales saw the Rumbling Bridge company’s profits increase by almost 400% in 2020.
In some cases of people buying homes based solely on the firm’s 3D virtual tours which it described as “hyper realistic”.
The company, which was founded in 2014, is now looking at using its technology beyond the property sector.
Ms Milnes added: “For us the pandemic has pulled the future forward.
“We’re seeing levels of use, acceptance and normalisation of this technology which might otherwise have taken another five years.
“Customers know what they are seeing with the technology is as close to real life as possible.
“We are already working with a number of venues and exhibition spaces.
“Being able to let potential guests view dining areas, bedrooms or other event spaces and even to take measurements is a potential game-changer, by letting them plan their events remotely.
“Venues which may have dabbled with this technology are now likely to see it as a serious and important tool to help them out of lockdown and to increase business revenues.
“Just like the property sector, we expect there will now be an acceleration of adoption of this.”
Looking to move into other sectors
Property Studios’ 3D tours allows a virtual visitor to walk through a building, while examining a high resolution, true-to-life rendition of the layout, furniture, fixtures and even the views from windows.
The latest tools allow visitors to take detailed measurements of rooms, windows and fixtures.
Key features can be highlighted with additional information in the form of text, photographs, video or links to an e-commerce site.
“Our focus had to be on servicing the increased demand from our existing clients and making sure we could deliver everything being asked of us,” the entrepreneur added.
“We are in a very strong position with a stable platform to launch into new markets.”