Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/09/2006 --Tamara Baker and Bruno Roldan recently launched Guru Home Visions, allowing real estate agents to inexpensively create their own online virtual tours to market their listings.
With majors in Marketing and International Business, they recently received their Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from one of the top Canadian business schools. Roldan has worked for numerous years in the real estate industry and both have extensive experience in marketing and business strategy.
With a keen interest in online marketing, Baker and Roldan saw an opportunity to provide real estate agents cost effective marketing tools.
Q: What was your motivation behind starting your own business?
Baker: For both of us, part of the motivation came from wanting to build and create something ourselves, to put to practical use everything we learnt in school. We’re definitely A-type people, so when we graduated we were looking to challenge ourselves.
Q: What qualities do you think you have that will help you build and expand your business?
Baker: We have both traveled extensively. Combined we are fluent in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and I have just started studying Mandarin. Real estate is sold around the world so we have a global vision for GuruHomeVisions.com and other products currently under development. We’re very analytical, open-minded and willing to try new things.
Q: Why start an online virtual tour company?
Roldan: Although virtual tours are not a new product for real estate agents, there is still significant room for growth, locally and internationally. My experience in real estate has allowed me to identify and understand unmet needs of real estate agents. For the past two years I have been researching online marketing and know that the future of real estate marketing is online.
Q: What are these unmet needs of real estate agents?
Roldan: Whether agents are selling a $1,000,000 home of a $100,000 home their marketing costs are virtually the same. Clients expect online marketing of their homes, which includes virtual tours. The cost of competitor virtual tours range from $50US to $200US per listing. Multiply this by an average of 10 listings per year, realtors can be spending up to $2000US annually on this marketing service. Don’t forget, real estate agents additionally spend thousands of dollars on other marketing channels.
At the same time the For Sale By Owner is quickly gaining market share, forcing agents to reduce their commission rates.
The unmet needs? Effective, affordable and measurable marketing tools.
Baker: Exactly. One of the great things about the internet is that you can measure the Return on Investment of every penny spent. This is a concept that we have adapted for real estate agents. As part of their membership, GuruHomeVisions.com offers GuruStats allowing real estate agents to measure, in real time, the effectiveness of the virtual tours they create. GuruStats tracks the number of views per virtual tour and on what website they were viewed.
What I really like about our business model is real estate agents only pay an annual membership fee for unlimited virtual tours.
Q: On your website why do you call virtual tours “commercials”?
Roldan: “Virtual Tour” is a fancy word for 360 degree panoramic pictures. These require special equipment and/or software, an additional cost to the realtor. GuruHomeVisions.com commercials are not 360 degrees pictures. We call them commercials because by selecting images, adding captions and music, as well as controlling the virtual camera movement through the images, realtors create an emotional experience for each home as television commercials do for products. All this is done in minutes online.
Q: Is this a web-based application or software?
Baker: It is a web-based application which means everything is stored on our servers and real estate agents can log into their account from any computer with an internet connection. At the moment it is available to real estate agents in all English speaking countries.