Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we already knew from our 700,000 strong user base that renters wanted a simpler and more convenient way to secure their next home. The pandemic has actually accelerated this shift in renter behaviour, meaning we have seen virtual viewings using mobile technology now become the norm.
In the UK, the number of digital video viewers has grown over the last 10 years by almost 50% and more recently, due to COVID we are seeing much higher levels of adoption and expect it to continue to rise in 2020 and beyond.
The goal we set last year was to remove the need for renters to physically go and view a property and we have already made huge progress towards that goal with the launch of Home Walkthroughs back in April, but we weren't done yet and in order to complete our vision, we wanted to build an end-to-end solution whereby the renter can view the property Walkthrough, pay their deposit and verify their affordability all completely online in just a few taps.
Today's renters are increasingly looking for one-stop convenience. According to recent figures, more than 70% of renters wanted one place where they could search, compare properties, prices and rent online. Modern day renters are used to things being instantaneous. If you look at the travel industry as an example, you can search, book flights, accommodation and check in online, all in just a few clicks. We thought the renting experience shouldn’t be any different and a simple solution hadn’t really been developed yet whereby renters had the trust to be able to view and transact completely online. We saw that there was a huge gap and opportunity in the market and felt super excited and confident in our ability to be able to design a solution to really change things.
The property industry is known for doing things traditionally (which can be notoriously slow) and we really wanted to completely redesign things to change that behaviour. We were keen to not only make it simple for our renters, but for our partners to be able to get deals done in seconds without having to leave their office.
Instant booking functionality is seen as a necessity in today's times and it plays a huge role in increasing conversion. With instant booking on Movebubble, partners are able to find renters for their properties 10x faster than on other platforms. For our partners, the ultimate value for them is that we are no longer just bringing in leads, but will be bringing them instant transactions and high quality renters straight to their phone.
For our renters, we want to build a product that they have the ultimate level of trust in and make it the place they go to to view a property and transact online in seconds.
Most renters today will only go and view five properties before they make a decision. There's only so much time you can spend travelling around after work looking at properties so we wanted to enable renters to live a better life, and open them up to much more choice when renting. It also opens up the ability to see and secure properties someone wouldn't have had the chance to look at whether it be because the agent’s office isn't open or somebody else got there first.
Another great benefit we see for our renters is that it's going to be really useful for those who are moving across the country as well as for our renters who are moving to the UK from abroad. They can now secure a home without being in London or Manchester physically, which takes a lot of the stress away and significantly reduces the costs of relocating for them.
I have personally been chatting to our renters each week and the feedback on this feature as well as Walkthroughs has been overwhelmingly positive which has been great to see, it assures us even more that our product works and is helping renters.
"I absolutely love the Walkthroughs and am saving so much time being able to view these in the app. It's really helping me narrow down my search much faster and I am SO excited that I am able to make a booking online now too....truly a game changer!" - Movebubble Renter
The next phase of creating the end-to-end journey is to launch an instant verification solution using open-banking and third party data to complete the whole experience. Online verification is extremely valuable to both the renter and partner as it reduces the admin time tenfold. No more filtering through loads of paperwork, referencing is done completely online in just a few clicks, and less than 60 seconds.
Instant booking functionality is going to completely change the way people rent. It's a great way to increase efficiency and has huge benefits for both our renters and partners, reducing costs and saving time on both sides.
Technology is paving the way for us to be able to solve many of the problems around the traditional renting experience that have plagued the industry for too long and we are excited to be innovators in this space, in our mission to create the world’s greatest rental experience!