Digital homebuying to stay, accelerate post-COVID, says AboitizLand
Prior to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Aboitiz Group’s real estate arm, Aboitiz Land, Inc., had already begun to embrace a digital approach to selling residential properties. It felt that this approach dubbed as ‘contactless home buying’ was already a necessity to expand its client reach.
This strategy is here to stay, even accelerate post-COVID-19, according to AboitizLand president and chief executive officer Dave Rafael, following a positive response from AboitizLand’s residential clients amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Despite the challenges and limitations brought about by the current situation, AboitizLand is able to retain 50% of its pre-ECQ reservation volume. This is due to the active and continuous innovation on the new home buying process, making it safe and convenient for its customers.
“This has been our major strategy since 2019. Fortunately, Aboitiz has a dedicated group [on digital transformation] at the parent level that we were able to tap. Because of our early investments and preparations, we were not caught unprepared,” Rafael shared, referring to the limitations brought about by the ECQ.
He acknowledged that the digital transformation is a big journey that takes a considerable amount of time and some getting used to. The lead time enabled the company to train its salesforce, develop their proficiency in the systems and tools that make ‘user journey’ ー from property search to reservation to purchase ー a worthwhile experience.
As opposed to the traditional way of selling properties which entails face-to-face meetings, site trippings, open houses, and mini-events, contactless home buying leverages on online platforms such as the company website, social media, and email marketing for lead generation.
Interested buyers may use AboitizLand’s 360-degree virtual tours on its website www.aboitizland.com to view amenities, features as well as property locations, or request for an actual video of the unit and book a dedicated property specialist or an agent to assist with all their queries and conduct a comprehensive online presentation.
Reservations may be done online and clients may choose from a range of online modes of payment which include bank transfers, mobile banking apps, or through AboitizLand’s own payment portal.
Rafael said that even with COVID-19, the number of interested buyers has not waned. “The reason why we’re at 50% is because the other 50% are traditional buyers who [still] prefer to see the property first before buying,” he said, adding that the pandemic has, in fact, been a catalyst to contactless home buying.
He stressed that the challenge is to continue training the salesforce on how to adapt and be comfortable with the use of technology. This way, the new scheme can supplement the traditional way of home buying.
“We are not going to ease up; we barely scratched the surface. We are still going to invest to improve contactless home buying such as in the areas of customer relationship management and measuring the productivity of our salespeople, among others,” he noted.