SplitSpot Transforms the Economics of Co-Living
For students or young professionals in search of shared housing, finding roommates and a place to live can be hard. SplitSpot was founded to make the process easier for tenants and landlords. The company markets rooms for rent in apartments and houses, helping introduce and vet roommates to make all sides more comfortable with a lease involving multiple tenants.
Operating in Boston since 2019 and recently expanding to Seattle, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the company was finding it challenging to enter new markets and scale operations due to inefficiencies of in-person showings. In a multiple-bedroom apartment, it was difficult to coordinate showing times with numerous roommates. As a courtesy to the residents and to make the most of a SplitSpot coordinator’s time traveling to and showing the apartment, an open bedroom for rent was typically limited to a three to four-hour showing window on one weekday and one weekend day. Showings were spaced apart by 45 minutes. Potential tenants who scheduled showings sometimes ran late, canceled, or simply didn’t show up.
When in-person showings were hampered by COVID-19, SplitSpot moved to giving live online tours to potential tenants via web conference one at a time. The company found, however, that appointment capacity was still very constrained and the quality of the experience was not ideal.
Digital Twins Power High-Fidelity Apartment Tours
Shifting gears, SplitSpot invested in a Ricoh Theta SC2 360 camera to enable an immersive virtual tour experience based on Matterport digital twins. A few landlords had already been adding them to their listings on SplitSpot’s website and the company recognized their potential to transform property showings.
SplitSpot sent a designated staffer all over the Boston metro area with their 360 camera to capture digital twins of its properties, then began to schedule guided virtual tours of rooms for rent with prospects via an online web conference. During the appointment, the SplitSpot agents share their screen and virtually walk through the photorealistic digital twin, addressing questions in real-time about the apartment and how SplitSpot manages its rentals.
The strategy has worked so well that digital twins are now part of SplitSpot’s standard onboarding process for all new properties. “We have a Matterport digital twin for every unit we’re currently advertising. We were on a mission and in less than two months basically went from zero to all-in. Overall, we now have them for 98% of our hundreds of apartments under management,” says Cameron Stewart, Director of Sales and Partnerships, SplitSpot.
SplitSpot’s in-house capture service has helped the company differentiate itself to landlords, with its digital twin-based tours adding value as a property marketing tool. “Many others use methods that are out of date. Their pictures and videos aren’t very good. Digital twins make apartments a lot more marketable. They convey a much more professional, higher level of service that’s more appealing,” says Stewart.
The company chose the Matterport solution because of its impressive capabilities for immersive, 3D home viewing and its flexibility from a technology perspective. “Other solutions were very limited on both fronts. With Matterport, it’s simple for us to add Mattertag labels, more pictures, or other extra information about a rental. For someone browsing our website, the digital twins offer striking, high-definition visuals so you can see a room from all angles. Plus Matterport’s measurement tools help prospective renters determine whether their furniture will fit. The extra functionality is superb,” Stewart says.
Capturing Digital Twins as a Service Across the U.S.
When the company was in preliminary talks for listing some apartments in one of its newer markets, it turned to Matterport Capture Services On-Demand. The service allows SplitSpot to schedule a professional Matterport Capture Technician to capture digital twins of the apartments, avoiding the travel expenses for its employees. “We didn’t have anyone stationed in that city yet, so being able to order digital twins on demand helped us make a much more informed decision about taking on the listings. It saved us the cost and time of having to physically travel there or hire someone in-market before we were ready to do that,” says Stewart.
Scheduling the Matterport Capture Services On-Demand appointment was easier than ordering a rideshare. “Making the appointment online was straightforward. It took only 60 to 90 seconds,” Stewart says. “I was very satisfied with how simple it was.”
The Capture Technician surpassed his expectations.
He was personable and helpful—very professional and highly skilled. The Capture Technician knew the optimal ways to get the scan done right and quickly. He got it done 50% faster than we would have been able to do it,” Stewart says.
“He was even able to add on some exterior imagery from within the digital twin very quickly, whereas we generally don’t have the time for that,” says Stewart. “Being efficient is important when you’re on-site, because we don’t want to inconvenience the tenants.”
In most cases, SplitSpot received the digital twins by the end of the day. Stewart is impressed with the quality of the Capture Technician’s work. “The Technician’s 3D cameras are top-of-the-line,” he says, “so the digital twin captures we’ve ordered through Matterport are of higher quality than those we capture ourselves.”
While using in-house staff for local captures makes more sense economically for SplitSpot, Stewart supports using Matterport Capture Services On-Demand during busier times or when the company is exploring new markets. “If we’re looking at a surge in listings and need to capture 10 to 20 units in a short time, Matterport Capture Services On-Demand is an ideal solution, because we know they can deliver that high throughput,” he says.
Powering a Cycle of Success
The company’s growth is rocketing. “We basically doubled the size of our company over the summer, in part because of our results with Matterport,” says Stewart.
The company has made improvements on several fronts - from its communications to its website - adding a number of new features. Stewart credits including Matterport digital twins as one of several key factors in the company’s success. “The digital twins help power a virtuous cycle of increased efficiency, higher applicant conversion, and greater listing success,” Stewart says.
SplitSpot’s operational efficiencies have advanced by leaps and bounds since adopting its 3D tour-first approach. The high-quality, digital twins help renters feel comfortable signing agreements without visiting an apartment in-person. “We’ve reduced in-person showings by more than 95 percent since early 2020, freeing our staff to spend more time helping renters find the right place for them,” says Stewart.
By removing travel time and resident inconvenience from the equation, SplitSpot coordinators can show many more properties each day. With physical showings, one agent typically would handle one showing every 45 minutes, for about ten showings in an eight-hour day. With online tours, SplitSpot agents can lead renters through as many as four apartments in the same 45-minute period, instead of just one. Agents can listen to prospective renters and make adjustments to which properties to show them on the fly, for example, by honing in on a particular neighborhood that catches their interest.
“The productivity increase has been dramatic. With Matterport 3D tours, our agents can show 20-40 apartments per day - that’s an increase of up to 400% compared to in-person showings. We’ve maintained this efficiency even as we’ve doubled the number of apartments on our platform,” Stewart says.
Filling Vacancies Faster
Matterport digital twins help rental applicants feel confident that what they see is what they’ll get in an apartment, so it’s no surprise that SplitSpot is seeing an increase in rental agreements. “Our conversion rate on applications is up by 20% since we made the decision to capture and market digital twins of all our apartment listings,” says Stewart.
Property owners are responding to SplitSpot’s results. “Landlords have been much more willing to give us units to rent because of our strong track record, particularly with situations that are traditionally harder to fill, such as larger apartments where odds are higher that an individual bedroom will turn over more frequently,” Stewart says.
With SplitSpot’s high-tech approach, each rental vacancy gains higher exposure, which helps it rent faster. “With greater agility in showing an apartment at any time of day or day of the week, we can do more showings and fill vacancies faster, which landlords love,” says Stewart.
SplitSpot is a room rental platform that makes apartment renting easier for prospective roommates and landlords. The company offers roommate introductions, leases as short as four months, and online services including virtual tours. SplitSpot operates in Boston, Seattle, New York, and Washington, D.C., with plans to expand further.
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Residential Real Estate
Simplify renting individual rooms in an apartment for both tenants and landlords
Matterport Capture Services On-Demand, Ricoh Theta SC2 360 camera
Virtual tours powered by Matterport digital twins boost marketability of individual apartment bedrooms, while enabling higher availability and flexibility for showing appointments
- 20% improvement in rental applicant conversion rate since standardizing on digital twin virtual tours
- 50% faster capture of digital twins, with higher-resolution quality, by using professional Capture Services On-Demand
- Reduced in-person showings by more than 95%, freeing agents to show up to 4x more properties and contributing to 2x business growth