It’s nearly June – June! – already. Seriously, where has this year gone? This means summer is nearly upon us, with a feast of sporting events (Wimbledon, the Olympics, Euro 2016 et al), music festivals and events to look forward to. And, of course, the fallout from the EU referendum.
But the property world stops for no-one. In fact, rather than seeing a slump or slowdown in activity in the summer months, this is when things really start to ramp up.
Numerous events, conferences and meetups will be held over the next few months, with the buzz surrounding Proptech (in particular) unlikely to dissipate anytime soon. Things started as they mean to go on last week, with two major conferences taking place: one in Central London and one at The Belfry Hotel & Resort in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire.
The conference taking place in London was, as I mentioned in my last Natter, Future: Property Tech. Our Head of Content (Conor Shilling) and our Head of Advertising Sales (Lee Dahill) went along to CodeNode near Liverpool Street to check it out. There were over 400 in attendance from more than 20 different countries, including representatives from Rightmove, LendInvest, Connells and Landbay.
The event, which was trending in the UK Twitter charts at one point during the morning session (showing just how much of a buzz Proptech has created), consisted of presentations from a main stage, round table discussions and exhibitors with stands.
Eyal Marlinger, Countrywide's Director of Corporate Development, talked about partnerships with start-ups and what the UK’s biggest estate agency is hoping to achieve by utilising PropTech products. Elsewhere, there was an excellent presentation from the highly impressive Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen, whose firm uses paving stones to generate energy. I can’t do it justice in a few short words but what they’re doing is hugely exciting and definitely worth checking out.
Probably the most highly anticipated session of the day was the ‘Modernising the Estate Agents’ round table discussion, chaired by Rightmove’s Miles Shipside.
It’s always interesting and thought-provoking to hear the viewpoint of agents from different sides of the fence – including familiar names such as Russell Quirk, Glenn Ackroyd, Kristjan Byfield and Iain White.
There was perhaps not enough talk about Proptech products themselves, but the debate on service versus price and some of Rightmove’s statistics really were eye-opening.
You can read our full report on the 'Modernising the Estate Agents' discussion here.
Meanwhile, My Home Move’s annual conference was this year held at the prestigious and luxurious Belfry Hotel (best known for its stunning golf courses, of course). Didn’t get to play a round, but did get to do plenty of networking and, as usual, spoke to some very interesting property people. The venue was brilliant, the exhibition enlightening and the conference, as a whole, superbly run. The breakfast wasn’t too bad, either!
A couple of our ValPal team were also in attendance, extolling the virtues of our property valuation tool to agents from up and down the country.
Ones to watch
Away from the world of conferences, there are a few interesting companies I’d like to mention. Apply.Property being one – put simply, it’s a tenant application tool for letting agents, allowing properties to be let faster, to trusted tenants, for higher rental prices. The idea is to make the whole tenant application process faster and more streamlined. Their (very smart) website can be checked out here.
Sales Doctor is another. Founded by Boyd Mayover and Tony Morris more than a decade ago, it is considered to be one of the market leading sales training companies in the UK. Stripped down to its barest bones, the company offers bespoke sales training to individual businesses in London and across the UK.
I met with Boyd the other day and he had an interesting tip for all of us in the property industry: “don’t make offers and don’t take them either”. In other words, agents should say this is the price and stick to it.
Continuing the theme of modern, innovative property-related firms, Dataloft is another that provides bespoke services to the industry. It delivers independent property market analysis to businesses, to help them enhance and grow.
A mention also to World Archipelago, which for the past 20 years has been building award-winning property websites for major estate agents. In the past their clients have included the likes of Savills, KFH, Carter Jonas, Strutt & Parker and Winkworth.
Lastly, there is Feefo. You might have heard of this company already – or seen their advertisements on the Tube – but for those who don’t know it’s a global ratings and reviews provider that is used by well-known brands such as Expedia.co.uk, Booking.com (Booking.yeah – bloody advert!), Monarch, AXA and webuyanycar.com. It aims to be fun, impartial, genuine, user-friendly and the leading consumer-review based platform in the country. It stands strongly against fake reviews and wants to be the place where consumers can get the most trusted feedback ratings available.
As I wrote about before, agent-rating websites and reviews are becoming a more influential part of the property industry so I wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of agencies will be using platforms like Feefo in the not too distant future. As we can see with the success of sites like TripAdvisor, raterAgent and Bookatable, the thirst for reviews and ratings has arguably never been higher.
That’s all from me this week. Until next time.
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today