Thursday, June 13, 2019

For luxury property buyers, image is everything

Head of Property24 Tina Bautista

In this age of sharing and social media, lifestyle aspirations are driving consumer preferences in the real estate industry. 

This is according to Tina Bautista, head of Property24, one of the most powerful online enablers for property buyers and sellers. Bautista cites, in particular, upper mid and luxury properties expected to be in high demand in 2019.

The Philippines continues to lead the world in social media usage, spending the most amount of time online, about four hours and 12 minutes a day. The number of social media users in the country grew by 13 percent, with more than 9 million users added since January 2018. Social media penetration is at 71 percent, which is above the worldwide average of 45 percent. As for mobile phone social media use, 67 percent of online Filipinos access social media on their phone, making social media an influential force. This is according to the latest digital report released by We Are Social and Hootsuite.

Property24, with Bautista at the helm, keeps a close tab on consumer digital behavior and trends in the real estate industry. Bautista has many years of experience working in the e-commerce industry. Before joining Property24, she led the overall online product strategy and channel expansion of Samsung, as online business demand management lead; served as vice president for the regional head of commercial planning for Ensogo Inc.; regional assistant brand manager for the low tier laundry detergent of Procter & Gamble Int’l Operations Pte Ltd, Singapore, and lead broadband planner for the product design and creation division of Globe Telecom.

Bautista, who has 12 years of experience in successfully creating strategies for online products and studying online consumer consumption, foresees a shift in buyer preferences, especially in the real estate industry, over the next five years. 

“The major shift that may happen over the next five years is that technology will enable more than just searching and communication between property buyers and sellers. Technology will be able to change even how properties are bought and rented or financed by banks. We see this happening in more advanced markets. Generally as well, because of consumer preferences, we can also expect property developers to cater to emerging technology needs, such as high speed internet connectivity, online delivery and receiving hubs and smart home technologies,” Bautista says.

In the real estate industry, the speed of transactions and the expectations of potential property buyers are increasing rapidly, as the amount of information and influence that they receive online also grows. That is why Bautista advises companies to adapt swiftly to these developments. 

“In our case, we are constantly working with our Product and Engineering teams, including enhancing our chat and contact form features, to make communication easier and faster between buyers and sellers. We also fine tune our search algorithms and filters to be able to reflect better user behavior and preferences,” she says.

Property24’s willingness to adapt has paved the  way for it to become one of the strongest and most influential online platforms in the country today. 

“Buyers today have many options and resources at their fingertips,” says Bautista. “It’s best for them to compare across all of these to be able to make the best decision. At the same time, they also have to exercise caution and judgment to ensure they are transacting with trusted brokers and agents.”

The influence of social media and online marketing has made a significant impact on the real estate market. Brand identity is the most effective way to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Image and perception on social media and branding of property developers are the key factors for property buyers and investors.

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