Tampa entrepreneur projects growth in guided virtual tours of property

For generations, tours for prospective property buyers were done in person, with walks around the grounds and into any buildings or facilities.

But as with so many improving aspects of this wired world and the continued health concerns around COVID-19, many of those property tours have gone digital, with real estate firms, apartment and condominium owners, and brick-and-mortar business owners going virtual with what’s on the market. Digital virtual tours began to get popular about 10 years ago, with clients having to click and navigate from room to room.

Since announcing the formation of his business Guided Virtual Tours (GVT) in November 2020, Tampa-based entrepreneur Chris Vasilakis says his business is “revolutionary” in its ability to more effectively and efficiently take a virtual tour user through a property while explaining key features. He says it’s almost like doing a tour in real-time, on-site.

Basically, GVT’s digitized property tours can be sent directly to a prospect's phone. 

Over the past five months since he launched his virtual tour business, Vasilakis, has had more than 45 clients and prospective buyers utilize GVT to online “shop” and the website is now among the top virtual tour companies in the United States.

“Since COVID, a lot of industries have moved to the mobile phone. Now, you can tour properties on your phone,” he says. “GVT is changing the way people are touring properties; it’s how everyone will eventually tour almost all properties in the future.”

Over the past decade, as online virtual shopping has continued to increase, buyers in real estate markets have also increasingly looked on their computer screens to “shop from home.” These include self-guided immersive 3-D tours and customized video walk-through virtual tours.

But what Vasilakis says makes his GVT different is in its ability to guide a customer through the property.
 
A Brooklyn, NY, native who moved to Tampa in 2017, Vasilakis, forecasts use of his GVT portal to go to 10,000 potential buyers over the next 18 months. He thinks immersive virtual home, business, and land tours will continue to grow in the future and help generate leads as well as close deals more efficiently, saving time from having to physically drive to sites. 

In addition, the Tampa-based GVT company is partnering with a global Virtual Tour company, Matterport, with photographers all over the country. That gives Vasilakis and his staff of 10 the means create guided tours at lower-than-average costs.

“This is the future of touring all property, allowing thousands of prospects to tour each day while reducing the need for human leasing agents,” says Vasilakis, who lives in Tampa. 
 
Vasilakis, 40, the son of a Greek father and Dominican mother who also works as a hip-hop music artist, says what distinguishes his virtual tours from others is that he guides prospects through the tour while explaining key features, just as if the client was actually on-site. In addition, the customer doesn’t have endlessly click their mouse go from room to room; the viewer can just look around the tour “stops” while listening to a Virtual Reality easing agent.

According to TIG Global, which creates internet marketing campaigns, 50 percent of adult users on the Internet rely on virtual tours in their research and decision-making process. And Seek Beak, an online company that creates virtual tours, reports two out of three customers are familiar with virtual tours and want more businesses to offer them.

Vasilakis anticipates those numbers to continue to grow as the technology to adapt virtual tours evolves along with his GVT business. 

“GVT allows apartments and other places to reach more prospects and give thousands of tours around the clock,” he adds.
 
Vasilakis is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served from 1998 to 2003 and was a combat veteran of Baghdad, Iraq. In 2017, he founded The Virtual Recess Foundation to provide sick children Virtual Reality viewers loaded with different fun experiences providing an adventure away from the hospital.

For more information, visit the Guided Virtual Tours website.
 

Read more articles by Paul Catala.

Paul Catala is a freelance writer whose work has been published across Florida, the U.S., and internationally. He has more than 30 years of experience working at the Charlotte Sun-Herald, the Tampa Tribune, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Provo (Utah) Daily-Herald, The (Lakeland) Ledger, and the Associated Press. He has a degree in broadcast telecommunication from the University of Florida and did post-graduate study in journalism at the University of South Carolina. Now living in Lakeland, Paul is an accomplished musician, playing keyboard and piano both solo and with bands around the Tampa Bay Area.  
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