conference – September 2010

We are planning to hold a one-day industry conference in Auckland on Friday the 3rd September.

The workshop will be a very demanding, yet fulfilling, full day (8.30 to 5.30) – we have lined up a programme that will encompass keynote speakers from NZ, Australia and USA, workshop sessions to hone skills and share experiences with the best in the business around day to day application of new online tools. We also want to add into this mix some challenging and stimulating panel discussions, which will debate big issues of the day. The theme of the workshop will be “How technology changes are influencing the real estate industry in NZ”

Social media

The workshop will look at social media, search marketing, technology applications, as well as, very practically show how people in this industry here in NZ are making a success of all this opportunity enabled by the web.

At this stage what we would really like is an indication of the level of interest. We see this event being hopefully an annual event. We propose to charge around $200 to $400 for the day to include all food and drink (as well as some after workshop drinks!). We will not be having any exhibition areas as this is about you and how you can network, learn and grow your skills.

We will then be sending out more information as well as a programme in the coming weeks as well as posting details here on the “On Target” blog.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for content please leave a comment below.

As a guide here is a taster to the agenda:

Agenda – How technology is influencing the future of real estate in NZ

8.00 – 8.30 Registration / coffee

8.30 – 9.00 Introduction / outline

9.00 – 9.30 Keynote address #1:

9.30 – 10.15 Workshop session

10.15 – 10.45 Coffee / tea break

10.45 – 11.30 Discussion session #1

11.30 – 12.15 Workshop session

12.15 – 12.45 Keynote address #2:

12.45 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 2.15 Discussion session #2

2.15 – 3.00 Workshop session

3.00 – 3.30 Keynote address #4:

3.30 – 4.00 Coffee / tea break

4.00 – 4.45 Workshop session

4.45 – 5.30 Discussion session #3

5.30 Wrap up and drinks

Keynote addresses

We have invited to join us a key group of leaders from all parts of the globe. Leaders in their field who are specialists, who can provide insight and thought leadership to the key topics that affect this industry.

1. Emerging trends for technology’s influence in the world of real estate

A detailed overview of what are the key developments and trends involving the use of technology of all sorts around the world – technology involving both hardware and software, client facing and business systems.

2. The future developments for real estate listings

What is the landscape for listings’ marketing in the coming years. Is Google going to be the winner? Will classified websites rise or fall and will specialist portals remain dominant – and what more can they provide?

3. Search – the final frontier?

Is search marketing the simple solution or the complex pandora’s box? What has yet to emerge from Google and is Google under threat as search becomes siloed behind killer applications?

4. Social Media – snake oil or profitable business development?

Is social media here to stay or will web 2.0 be the next dot bomb? – how can an agent justify the time to make status updates, twitter profound thoughts and craft rich blogs – does it pay

Panel Discussions

As a follow on from the keynote presentations there will be panel discussions, which will pick up on the some of the themes of the presentations and invite leaders in their field to challenge and debate the rights and wrongs of various opinions. These sessions will be interactive and participative – that includes very much the audience themselves who are key to a valuable debate and discussion.

1. Real estate listings – who owns the listing? Should they be syndicated to any and every website that offers to showcase them? Does this provide the right marketing and the best service to clients?

2. Personal profile – it has got to the stage now where if you do not have one you are more than likely to be ignored by sector of prospective clients. However what needs to be a part of a profile, where should it be hosted and how do you measure its performance?

3. What is the next big thing in technology to impact the real estate industry? – be it hardware in the form of the iPad or software in property stats, technology is key and differing opinions will be on hand to challenge, discuss and stimulate

Workshop sessions

A key part of the conference is practical discussion around using systems and sharing experiences with colleagues. The agenda features 4 breakouts sessions of 45 minutes each during which attendees will select from amongst the 5 subjects allowing attendees to rotate around the sessions and select the one to suit their interest. Topics for workshops will comprise:

1. Best practice for online property marketing

2. Personal profiling

3. Blogs

4. Twitter

5. Facebook

June 25 2010 | News and Online marketing | 4 Comments »

Real Estate Connect Conference – San Francisco Aug 2009

This conference which is held twice a year gathers together real estate agents, technology companies and service providers wrapped up in a demanding and comprehensive agenda designed to provide a vital insight into the trends in real estate with both a true international perspective and a full-on focus to the online world. It is not however a geeky technology conference, the participants come from all over the US and all types of real estate operations – sales people, business owners and service providers.

Over the 3 years that I have been attending the conference I have witnessed it becoming far more international. It is as ever a very practical conference with strong participation and discussion in all sessions. The challenge is as always to find the time to fit in as many of the sessions which span the 3 main days of the conference as possible; there is always a parting sense of “I wished I could have gone to that session as well..”

This year for the first time there was an additional leg to the conference organised on a separate day. This was a specialised mini-conference focussed exclusively on the operation of real estate portals internationally. This session with over 50 attendees brought together owners and managers of real estate websites from the UK, US, Holland, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Germany as well as some regional operators in Europe, and of course New Zealand.

The discussions and debates at these sessions were wide ranging and in-depth covering pricing models, agent services, and the role of Google, search engine marketing, social media, and media ownership vs. Independent, display advertising, consumer research and a host of other topics.

What stood out for me was the similarity of issues and challenges despite our diverse geographical spread. That was matched to a non biased judgment that we (along with Australia) are among the leading innovators in real estate online marketing. This is strengthened today by a very changed relationship with the REA Group in Australia. When the Group was operating the website of in NZ we were stern competitors, however since their withdrawal from the NZ market we have established a strong professional relationship to share insights and developments.

The main Inman Connect sessions really highlighted for me a couple of key themes:


This theme is judged to be becoming pervasive across the US industry as a consequence of the enormous fall out of the property market – the worst of their market is still with them. Prices are still down close to 30% from peak and the flow through of foreclosure property (mortgagee sales) has a long time to go with the lasting consequence on prices. The industry has had a wholesale clean out of agents. The confidence of the consumer has been significantly damaged, this is what is driving this desire to open up as an industry and share complete information about how the industry works.

This trend is driving agents to focus more and more on building online profiles around their unique skill set, largely through the use of social media. A trend that was first witnessed at the first Inman Connect conference I attended back in 2007. The key evolution over these years is the fact that to have such a profile is no longer relevant, today the challenge is to be found online as part of the conversations going-on on the web.


There is a sense of a coming of age of mobile applications. This can be attributable to the Apple iPhone. This application as a “poster child” for smart phones has provided what up until now has not been possible – a handheld mobile computing device that by chance is a phone. Up until the launch of the iPhone all mobile applications were endeavouring to operate on phones – a situation that was doomed to failure.

In the context of real estate mobile applications are likely to make the greatest impression when they incorporate the GPS and compass feature – this is when the rich data can be focused to the hyper-local environment where the answer to the questions ” what is for sale round here?, what did that house sell for? And what does that property for sale look like from the inside?” becomes really appealing and relevant.

Be assured that within the line up of activity in the coming months has a programme of developments in this area.


Far from being a teenage phenomenon Facebook is fast becoming the web’s universal directory and meeting place. The figures are staggering – over 100 million new users added in the past 9 months!

In the US real estate market Facebook is being seen as a great platform for engagement and discussion about real estate by vendors, buyers and agents. Savvy agents are using “business profile pages” to network and be part of conversations regarding real estate where content can be easily shared and taken anywhere you want with whomever you want. Watch out for Facebook, the median age of users is 29 years – that would be pretty close to the median age of property buyers. Additionally the most active users of Facebook are women aged 35 – 55 years.

Market Statistics

The media in the US as with NZ is awash with data on the property market. Agents are up skilling themselves to be better able to assist buyers and sellers to better interpret the data to make sense of local markets. Companies are offering personalised reports that utilise local data to present the trends on the market and add to the profile of professional agents that fully understand the market dynamics.

Agent Evaluation

It was evident at the conference that there are emerging examples of websites and services that endeavoured to assist the public better evaluate agents. These are on the whole more than just simple “rate an agent” feedback sites. Many are taking sales data and analysing the capabilities and record of property sales by agent measured as number of listings, number of sales, conversion rate – sale price to listing price performance.

This is certainly an interesting development as an emerging trend; one that I will be keen keep a watching eye on to see how it develops. I would like to hear any feedback on this matter. It was interesting to see at one of the sessions on this subject a “show of hands” vote saw very roughly 3 to 1 in favour of this type of open and transparent evaluation of agents!!

August 14 2009 | Events | 2 Comments »