What is the biggest priority for house-hunters today? The answer may surprise you.
In one survey, an overwhelming 76% of home-movers cited access to shops and amenities as an important motivation for moving home, with 64% also wanting to be close to public transport links. In another survey, nearly half (49%) of housebuyers said their top priority was being close to essential amenities such as a supermarket or pharmacy.
Delivering the best search experience on your property portal means providing users with the right information to make their search relevant and meaningful.
But while accessibility to key locations is the biggest priority for most house-hunters, many property websites don't allow users to see the travel time between a property listing and the points of interest that are important to them. Without this information, the results they see are likely to be less relevant and there is a greater chance of users bouncing.
To help you improve the search user experience on your property website, here are five great examples of property websites that are using travel time data to help users find the most suitable home for them.
1. Foxtons: Help users find a home near to work with a travel time search tool
Despite the rise in remote working during the pandemic, more than half (55%) of house seekers still want to live near to their work.
To help home-movers find properties within a convenient travel time to their workplace, estate agency, Foxtons, has built a travel time search functionality into its website. With the travel time search tool, users can see, in map view, properties to rent or buy that are within their preferred commute time:
Users can enter their work postcode, maximum commute time and transport preference — with a choice of public transport, cycling or driving.
For example, the image below shows a search for properties within a commute time of up to one hour from the start location by public transport:
The result of the search is a shape, known as an isochrone, that shows all the properties that are within the one-hour commute time:
If several members within a household need to commute, users can also search for multiple postcodes (up to five) at a time. Here, the user can see all the properties within reach for the two commute times and transport modes (public transport and cycling) selected.
Why this works
- Users can visualise where they can live in proximity to their workplace without having to check third-party websites for travel times
- You can easily add multiple work addresses to find properties within an easy commute time for multiple people
- The search results page offers a map view that uses isochrones — offering users a visual aid to where each potential property falls within their chosen commute time
2. Amsterdam Region: Spread demand for housing in urban areas
High demand for cities and urban areas can increase rent and house prices.
To help address this issue, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has built an interactive map tool that helps residents and international newcomers in the Amsterdam Region visualise the best areas to live based on their travel preferences.
Users can enter a location they regularly travel to, such as their office, and how long they are willing to travel. They can also enter the transport mode of their choice, which includes combined modes such as public transport + cycling.
See how it works below:
Why this works
- By taking a user's commute time and transport preferences into account, the tool helps residents find suitable locations to live that they may not otherwise have considered
- The tool gives you the flexibility to search by various transport modes, tailored to the transport habits in the Amsterdam region (e.g. the combined mode of cycling + public transport)
- For families moving to the region, the tool offers the ability to add schools to the map – so you can see which schools fall within your desired commute time
3. Rightmove: Find properties near family and friends with “Where can I live” app
For many, the pandemic has reinforced the desire to be part of a community or close to family and friends. Over a third of people (39%) cited being near to family as a priority when deciding where to live in a recent survey by Redrow.
It’s only fitting then that Rightmove, which runs the UK’s largest online real estate portal, has developed an app that lets users discover where to live based on proximity to key locations – including family and friends.
The app allows users to enter the addresses of several points of interest they want to be near to, as well as their maximum travel time to each (up to two hours) and transport mode. This is in addition to other important criteria such as the number of bedrooms and budget.
The search results page is an interactive map of the locations that fit the search criteria:
Clicking each area on the map brings up useful, additional information, including average travel time and where each location sits on a scale of most to least affordable:
Why this works
- Users can find where to live based on proximity to the locations that are important to them – whether that’s friends and family, work or school
- Travel time information is shown alongside other important criteria that the user will find useful
- Walking is also included as a transport option in addition to public transport, driving and cycling.
4. Zoopla: Add travel time to other property search criteria
Zoopla’s travel time search tool is a great example of simplicity at work.
The tool’s simple interface allows you to search for properties either for sale or to rent based on the travel time to your most important destination:
Why this works
- Allows users to easily search by travel time in addition to other important criteria such as price, property type and number of bedrooms.
- Simple interface, with results that you can view in either a list or map view
- Advanced search options allow you to refine your search with additional information
5. ImmoScout24: See travel times between property listings and custom points of interest
ImmoScout24, one of Switzerland’s largest real estate marketplaces, uses travel time data within the search functionality of its website and app. This allows users to search for properties based on travel times to different points of interest.
ImmoScout24's search functionality offers the choice of adding the address of a key point of interest (POI), with the travel times between that POI and each property listing calculated by the TravelTime API. Transport options are public transport, driving or cycling:
In map view, users can choose to see the most suitable locations within an isochrone, as well as adjust their maximum travel time and transport mode preferences.
Here we’ve changed our search to find property listings within one hour by car from Geneva Airport:
The result can be seen in either map or satellite view:
Why this works
- The search functionality allows users to enter up to two points of interest
- When viewing properties, users can see the travel times from each property to each point of interest
- The website and app both use isochrones to show properties within a user’s desired travel time. This includes intersections where a property is within the travel time for both points of interest
Provide a more personalised property search experience with travel time data
Increasingly, home-movers are looking to be close to:
- Key amenities, such as shops, schools and pharmacies
- Public transport links
- Friends and family
Travel time offers the most accurate metric to determine proximity between locations. This is because it takes into account the reality of how we travel, including transport links and local geography.
But many property websites don't allow users to include travel time to important locations as part of their search. Adding travel time information to your property portal is an effective way to give your users the information they need, whilst providing more relevant results, personalised to their search.
The result: a higher conversion rate.
With the TravelTime API, you can easily add travel time and transport data to your website's search algorithm - and create a user experience that keeps users coming back. Get a free API key today to see how TravelTime can enhance the search user experience on your website.