Just over a month after Zillow announced it would acquire popular showing management platform ShowingTime, real estate tech firm Delta Media Group is poised to launch a rival product it’s calling Local Showings.
Local Showings will be “an independent full-featured property showing software and service,” a company statement explained. The platform will have versions for both the web and mobile devices, including apps for the Apple and Android ecosystems, and should be widely available during the first week of April.
In a phone conversation, Delta owner and CEO Michael Minard said the platform’s “core functionality is about 99 percent there” already and final testing is currently underway. After that, the company just has to get the apps in their respective app stores. The approval process doesn’t have a fixed duration, but Minard said everything should be done in the coming weeks.
If all goes well for Delta, Local Showings could then be in the hands of thousands of agents; Minard said that in recent weeks his company has been in talks with numerous brokerages, multiple listing services (MLSs) and real estate boards, and that the response has been overwhelming.
“At this point we’re in deep talks representing half the industry,” he said.
That response is probably at least in part due to the controversy that erupted after Zillow’s ShowingTime announcement. Prior to the announcement, ShowingTime was widely used and relatively popular among agents. However, the acquisition news sparked widespread debate about what might happen to agents’ data, and whether or not Zillow was encroaching on industry members’ business.
Zillow has repeatedly said it would keep ShowingTime’s data privacy policies in place. But despite those assurances, many industry members have said they plan to move to other platforms, which have proliferated since the acquisition announcement.
Ohio-based Delta has been around since the 1990s, and was previously best-known as the maker of the DeltaNET 6 customer relationship management platform (CRM). The company has previously invested tens of millions of dollars into building its technology. That prior investment allowed it to pivot quickly and adapt its technology to create a showing platform as interest in such tools surged this year.
Minard told Inman the new platform will be available to both brokerages and MLSs. It has been designed to integrate with real estate organizations’ existing technology, and can be used as either a standalone product or as a feature within Delta’s CRM.
Delta’s statement further explained that Local Showings will enable agents to schedule showings of any listing in their MLS, will offer a calendar view of available times, and includes notification, contact and driving tour features. It also has the ability to generate seller reports, highlight feedback and facilitate communication with other agents, among other things.
The platform will also include call center support, as well as the ability to integrate its technology with existing call centers that brokerages may already be using. Delta is also already planning a “phase II” which will expand call center support and add other technical features. Minard said that among other things, future versions of Local Showings will include lockbox integration.
The company also stressed in its statement that it is independently owned and operated. Delta has even gone so far as to include a guarantee in its contracts with brokerages and MLSs that it will not sell out or be acquired.
The promise not to sell is a response to what happened with ShowingTime. Minard explained that the idea is to reassure Delta customers that they won’t have another ShowingTime situation in the future.
“They want to be sure that they’re not stuck in this exact same position in five years,” he said.
Delta’s statement further notes that the company has not taken money from Wall Street or Silicon Valley investors.
Local Showings pricing starts at $2 per user per month, with a $99 per month minimum. However, pricing changes as a customer’s scale increases and Minard said the ultimate cost “is not budget-changing for any of the MLSs” he has been speaking with.
In the statement, Minard added that the platform should ultimately “provide a frictionless experience,” and added that “it just works.”
“We already have the MLS board agreements,” he continued. “We update data in five minutes or less for the majority of our MLSs. We know how important a clean data experience is for agents and their clients. Most of the other showing alternatives are just getting started while we have established relationships built over decades.”