Right, so it’s one more week till Christmas and two more weeks until we head face first into 2016. Both these things mean it’s time to look back on 2015 – and the highlights that have graced it – before we leave it behind for good.
It has, as usual, been a busy old 12 months in the property industry. Here are five of my top moments...
The launch of OTM
A highlight or lowlight, depending on your point of view. Whatever your position in the portal debate, though, there can be no denying that the launch of OnTheMarket shook up the property industry. People can argue till the cows come home – and they have, quite frequently – about who has really benefited most from OTM’s arrival on the scene, but it’s undoubtedly been a red-hot topic of discussion, with people staunchly in the pro or anti camps. Besides, it would be a bit boring if everyone agreed the whole time, wouldn’t it?
A celebration of all that is good about the estate agency/property universe. A fantastic venue (the very swish Hilton Hotel Park Lane), Phil Spencer hosting, me presenting an award, a slap-up meal, plenty of booze flowing – what more could you want? The ESTAS, which has now been going strong since 2004, seems to get bigger and bigger each year and moves to the even more swish Grosvenor House Hotel from 2016. It is fast becoming one of the property industry’s calendar events. Long may it continue.
The myhomemove Housing Conference
One of the most interesting events I attended this year was the myhomemove Housing Conference, held at the FA’s visually impressive St George’s Park site in Burton-upon-Trent. There were some excellent talks, from Rightmove and Dave Clarke (former captain of England’s blind football team) in particular. I also bumped into the captain of the England Women’s team. Or so she claimed. Turns out she might have been having me on. I still have no clue who she is.
Still, it was a great few days of networking and there were some excellent speakers on show. I’m sure there will be many more of these conferences in 2016. Watch this space.
The Sunday Times Estate Agent of the Year Awards
Another awards bash, another of the biggies. The former CEO of Asda was in attendance, providing an inspirational speech on how he turned around the supermarket’s fortunes to make them number one in the UK. Matt Dawson, 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and team captain on A Question of Sport, was the celebrity speaker, arguing that it is all about “the team making up the whole”. In effect, without a great team in place, you won’t get very far. It was, again, stirring stuff. Like the ESTAS, the food and venue weren’t too shabby either!
The ValPal tool
Shameless plug alert! Shameless plug alert! Allow me to blow the Angels trumpet for a minute – it’s Christmas, we’re all allowed to have a bit of indulgence, right? Our ValPal tool has really taken off in the last few months thanks to the dynamism and diligence of our team and the increasing willingness of agents to “give it a go”. Our message, as ever, is a simple one: we can help agents to generate more leads, be more profitable in what they are doing and give them access to more stock. We hope this message will be embraced many more times over the coming year.
So there we have it, my top five moments of 2015. Feel free to post your own favourite moments in the comment section below.
And before I sign off, I’d like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Enjoy the turkey, the presents, the pigs in blankets, the mince pies, the mulled wine, the chocolates, the fireworks, the renditions of Auld Lang Syne, etc, etc. And here’s to a great 2016!
Until next time…(which will be early January at some point).
Earlier this month I took a look back at Chris Hamer's tenure as Property Ombudsman. Since then, I've caught up with Bill McClintock, Board Chairman, who is also leaving the organisation in January. You can see what Bill had to say about his time at the top here.
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today