Zoopla teams up with FocalAgent to offer free virtual viewings service to agents and consumers
16th October 2020
With the UK facing a three-tiered lockdown system, Zoopla and FocalAgent have partnered up to offer an alternative solution to complement physical viewings
The new partnership offers free access to leading virtual viewing technology, enabling Zoopla agents to offer guided viewings of their listed properties to consumers
While agents can opt to use existing listing photography, they can also benefit from access to tailored professional photography packages that offer an even more immersive virtual viewing experience
In an industry first, Zoopla, the UK’s most comprehensive property destination, has announced an exclusive partnership with FocalAgent, the UK’s leading marketplace that connects estate agents with professional property marketing solutions.
The innovative partnership, which is initially available to a limited number of agents during a pilot, is designed to deliver:
Free access to the Smart Viewing platform for Zoopla customers with the ability to conduct safe but effective virtual viewings for any of their properties listed on Zoopla
Ability to show consumers around a property using the existing 2D photography or more immersive virtual viewings using 360 photography or tours
Access to tailored packages with professional photography and 360 tours to provide an even more immersive virtual viewing experience
Benefits from increased consumer engagement on Zoopla as a result of also being able to offer virtual tours to all Zoopla homeseekers
During the pilot, eligible agents will be invited to sign up for free access to Smart Viewing, a platform that provides interactive, agent-led virtual viewings, in which the agent guides the applicant through the property with voice and webcam. Agents will be able to select any one of their properties listed on Zoopla to view in real time, based on applicant requirements, but also switch between properties and do multiple viewings in one go to tailor viewings efficiently to applicant preferences.
The entry level offering, Focal.Free, will require the agent to use the existing photography supplied with the listing to drive the virtual viewing, or the option to create a DIY 360 tour experience from these using the Vieweet app, which is free to Zoopla agents.
In addition to Focal.Free, Zoopla agents will benefit from bolt on packages to upgrade their listings and virtual viewings including Focal.360, which includes a professional 360 tour, or Focal.Pro which in addition includes a full set of professional photography, video trailers, professional 360 tour and floor plans. Agents can register their interest here to be the first to hear more details on the pilot.
Commenting on the partnership, Andy Marshall, Zoopla’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “At Zoopla, our focus is always on how we can innovate and provide additional value to our agent partners and consumers. Our new partnership with FocalAgent is testament to that commitment - not least because we are the first portal to offer agents the technology to offer free virtual viewings on all of their listings.
“By enjoying free access to the Smart Viewing platform, agents can provide homemovers with a best-in-class virtual viewing experience, and an alternative to physical viewings, which is crucial when the threat of Covid means that many homemovers and agents may be hesitant to tour a property in person. It was important to us that the technology offered agents the opportunity to ‘guide’ and tailor their tours - as it helps build a rapport with each consumer and to refine what they’re looking for.
“Given our commitment to make life easier for agents and consumers, we are excited to see the results of the pilot. Virtual viewing technology implemented internationally has proved to be a resounding success, and a means with which to confirm a prospective buyer’s interest before going to see the property in person. If that success translates to the initial pilot, we will be looking to expand this partnership with FocalAgent and offer these benefits to all Zoopla agents across the length and breadth of the UK.”
Lee Wainwright, CEO at FocalAgent, said: “We know that estate agencies are people businesses and we’ve created technology that allows for virtual viewings to be controlled by the agent so the consumers gets the best possible experience which achieves two things. Firstly, it increases the genuine interest of a potential tenant or buyer who has the opportunity to ask the questions pertinent to them and their situation. Secondly, Smart Viewing reduces (and in some cases can replace) the need for physical viewings. This platform has been tremendously successful for our partners both during and post lockdown. Innovation is extremely important to Zoopla and Focal. and this partnership is going to create real value for estate agents and consumers ”
FocalAgent, the UK’s leading marketplace connecting Estate Agents with professional property marketing solutions providing 360 virtual tours, video trailers, professional photography and floor plans to estate agents and is the exclusive UK distributor of the SmartViewing platform. Based at Focal City in Croydon Focal. works with estate agents and photographers across the country.
Founded in 2007, Zoopla is a successful, multi-tiered property business offering services to renters, buyers, sellers and landlords. The company returned to private ownership in July 2018 after a purchase by a group led by global private equity firm Silver Lake. Since the purchase a new leadership team has been implementing a focused strategy investing substantially in talent, technology, marketing and sales to help Zoopla enhance the service it offers consumers and to meet its ambitious growth plans.
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