National uses Drones to Market Communities
Marketing properties through drone technology is no longer a fly-by-night operation.
Once considered too futuristic for everyday business applications, drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are fast becoming a household item. It’s now possible to use a much smaller form of the robotic flying devices, mostly known for their stealthy military uses on a much grander scale.
The doors are opening for a potential marketing revolution, especially for commercial and residential real estate, without the expense of an aerial photographer and plane. In addition to showing a breathtaking view of a property from up high, drones can also be used as tools for inspections, insurance purposes and other business functions.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Stephanie A. Spear, commercial regulatory policy representative for the National Association of Realtors. “An aerial picture, how much is that worth?”
Residential property movers like the prospects of using drones to move property. Picture this: Inside, the drone can float from room to room to capture the unit from every angle. Out of the living room and into a short hallway, a spacious master bedroom and bath comes into view. A quick turn, and the doors open to a balcony overlooking a lake or valley and suddenly you’re airborne.
The drone flutters outside and whirls a few hundred feet above and around the building for a late-afternoon view of city skyscrapers in the distance. Suddenly, a housing development outside the city center has become an even more attractive place to live. The video will be posted on the realtor’s or community’s website next to a 3D floor plan and a list of amenities.
“The incredible thing about drones is that you’re offering an unprecedented view of the land,” said David Petty, a marketing specialist with RealPage, Inc., who is a recreational drone pilot. “We are talking about never before seen angles and perspectives. Having that one shot that no one else has, that’s where you grab someone’s attention and get them to spend more time thinking about you – that’s powerful.”
Reality has overtaken fiction with affordability of UAS
While the technology appears to be 21st century, UAS have been around for more than 100 years. Primitive drones were used for combat in two wars before the first manned airplane flight in 1903.
Today, UAVs that are far less sophisticated than their military counterparts are aflutter and easily accessible. They don’t resemble airplanes or helicopters, but are small gadgets that weigh less than a piece of luggage. They can quickly reach hundreds of feet of altitude and fly for miles as long as they are in operator range.
A very basic drone with GoPro adaptability can be had for less than $100 from a Big Box electronics store. More sophisticated drones with clear, crisp video technology sell for upwards of $4,000.
Until now, they have been mostly sold for recreational use as high-tech alternative to R/C airplanes and helicopters. But these eyes in the sky are encroaching commercial sectors, particularly the real estate industry, and are blurring the lines of traditional toy aircraft and full-scale aircraft. Just as an article noted in a 2003 issue of the Federal Aviation Administration’s newsletter, FAA Aviation News, reality has overtaken fiction.