Property Portal Watch returned to Madrid back in October—our first European conference since the onset of the pandemic. It's always rewarding to revisit these events and compile the best bits for our readers. Online Marketplaces news editor Harvey Hancock interviewed five attendees about their experiences at the conference and their perspectives on the future of the industry.
Here's what they had to say...
Rafael Bonnelly, Co-Founder and CEO of Evveland Metaverse - Speaker at PPW
"It's my fifth Property Portal Watch. As always, it’s very rich in content and tremendously effective in networking."
Ross Nichols, Co-Founder of Just Move In - Pitch Club Winner at PPW
"I had an introduction to Simon Baker, and he said that we should come down and pitch at the conference, so that was the only invitation I needed.
We've not done any promoting to the portals yet, so it's been a good opportunity to meet some new people in a space that we're not as au-fait with and build some brand awareness."
Gemma Coles, Managing Director of Kyero - Speaker at PPW
"There are lots of people in this space, we know there is loads of growth potential—I'm here to learn from all the other companies that are trying to do similar things."
Steve Coleman, Managing Director of SnowOnly - Speaker at PPW
"Property Portal Watch has been amazing for us. We changed our business model purely based on my business partner Mark [Lightfoot, Managing Director] coming here in 2018. It was an opportunity for us to learn more about getting closer to the transaction and really take some time out to think about what we were doing, and why.
To be able to come back and show how the conference really influenced our business—it’s really nice for us to be able to do that."
Mark Griffioen, Co-Founder and CEO of Sudonum - Attendee at PPW
"It's a fantastic opportunity to meet with peers, to meet potential clients and to understand where the industry is and where it's going.
We’re a supplier to the industry, and we’re here to try and pick up key trends—and maybe even introduce some of the key trends we're spotting—in potential marketplaces and operators."
"Certainly enabling the transaction on one side obviously, getting closer and closer to the transaction like everybody else is saying,
But also, using the interactive and the virtual reality tools that are coming up to improve the potential of getting a transaction—being able to showcase your stock to a much wider audience without needing to take prospects to see the property physically.
You saw the tools that are being presented here, like Floorfy and others that allow that. I think that it's getting closer to the property and being able to bring more audience and potential clients to view that property in a 360 degree, completely interactive environment."
"That's a good question. I think there’s a lot of new great technology that’s coming out—the conference has demonstrated that there are some awesome products out there.
Hopefully, we can play a part in that somewhere."
"For us, it's about building confidence in the buyers.
We work in quite a niche where we're working with international buyers that don't know the market which they’re moving to, for example Brits buying in Spain, Germans buying in France, French buying in Portugal.
They're buying in a lesser-known territory—it's not just about throwing them at a listing, it's building up their confidence, helping them navigate that journey.
Assuming the Proptech and Fintech sectors grow, we’ll also see far more concierge services appearing."
"It seems to be a slow-moving industry. Obviously, the talk of moving towards the transaction is clear, and that's obviously the direction that people are going with.
Beyond that, the future has got to involve working with the agents and having more respect for agents. The industry won’t evolve with portals thinking that they can do absolutely everything. We simply can't operate without agents."
"We've observed a lot of chat based lead models, specifically using WhatsApp in some of our markets.
I don’t think instant messaging is the only future, it's part of a broader complement.
In our experience, people will open a chain of communication on one medium and move over. For example, they'll start with a message, move over to a call, and then they'll go into more formal communication like an email when they need to handle contracts etc."
"Everybody is saying we’re in a tired business that’s very ineffective in many ways. So how do you rejuvenate it? And how do you make it more effective?
There is a new set of tools that is already out there and you need to be using in order to establish the next place that you're going to go as a company: How do you use the blockchain? How do you go into Web3? How do you make use of the tools that are available to DAOs (Decentralised, Autonomous Organisations)?"
"The biggest thing for us is extracting value, so how do they get more revenue out of what they’re already doing? And that's a nice segue into what we're doing, which is trying to help monetize existing customers and existing moves. And hopefully, we can provide a nice customer experience on the back of it."
"I think it's how we can play alongside each other a little bit more, actually.
I'll often get asked "why wouldn't your audience be going to Idealista?" but actually there’s plenty of space in this market for plenty of players—we’re doing our different things, and we need to be sharing our learnings more, probably sharing our audience spaces more and also learning how we can piggyback each other's products."
"One issue we’ve spotted is there's genuinely a lack of respect for the agent. Somebody said to me earlier, “Why should I give some of my commission to somebody who's just got the key and opens the door?”
Agents do more than that. There is a partnership with the agents that needs to be established. That message needs to come through much stronger."
"How user preference in communication is not brought to the fore.
Unless I'm really motivated, I don't want to sit on a call for half an hour with anybody for anything. What I want is asynchronous communication where I can jump in when I need to.
It's a selfish thing I'd like to talk about more."
"The event was a resounding success. It's brilliant to see so many people from the industry come together and tackle shared challenges, with plenty of takeaways for 2023 and beyond.
2023 is bringing with it a depressed market and cost of living crises worldwide. However, the real estate industry remains robust, and there is plenty to be optimistic about—we saw plenty of these forward-thinking ideas at the conference. The industry will reward those who can diversify and consolidate their revenue streams.
I look forward to the Bangkok conference set to go ahead in March. We haven't been to Thailand since 2020—it's about time we regather there, open that dialogue and see what we come up with."
Property Portal Watch makes its eagerly awaited return to Bangkok in March—the first time since 2020.
The conference is a continuation of the "Future of Marketplaces and PropTech" topic addressed in Madrid, with a number of speakers already confirmed.
Find out more about the conference here.
Buy tickets for the conference here.