Property developers see faster digital transformation

Property companies are well on their way to recovery, thanks to digitalization efforts.

In Lamudi’s recent webinar titled, On the Horizon: Real Estate Leaders on Market Recovery, architect Henry Yap, business unit general manager of Robinsons Land Corp., talks about his company’s learnings on digitalization and the right attitude in times of crisis.

Prior to the pandemic, Robinsons Land was already starting its digital transformation — a Seller’s Portal that allows sellers to access all the information about the products they are selling, and a Buyer’s Portal to let buyers conveniently track their investments, view receipts, download statements of account, and more.

The recent months made the company realize that they did the right thing; only, they learned to do it faster and in a more agile way, says Yap.

In the traditional process of digitalization, companies would only launch an online product once all its features are completely operational. This time, fueled by urgency, Robinsons Land developed an app — the Homeowner’s Portal — and presented it to the users while it continued to insert in-app features and enhancements from time to time, he adds.

“With this app, the source of information becomes more valid and we can share important information in a timely manner,” explains Yap.

Digital transformation for business

In another track, the Lamudi webinar gathered four property developers and examined their experiences and various digital efforts during the quarantine period.

Franco Soberano, EVP and COO of Cebu Landmasters, Inc., shares that even during the height of the pandemic, their company achieved record-high reservation sales.

Mico Racelis, business unit general manager of Robinsons Homes, agreed that developers had to make it easier for buyers and customers to reach out to them.

“This is with regards to technology, and also augmenting whatever parts of operations that we can to bridge that gap given the physical restrictions. We were forced to make changes and innovate,” he explains.

Robinsons Homes started doing drone shots for its provincial developments, for buyers who cannot visit the site.

“Digital transformation has been forced upon us,” says Julius Guevarra, VP for corporate planning at D.M. Wenceslao, acknowledging that online solutions are a necessity now to sustain operations.

The company has delved into online payment solutions and expanded its presence in social media through ads and boosting, and joining digital listing sites.

Emerging buyer demands

The last track discussed the shift in property seekers’ preferences and priorities, such as convenience, technology, health and safety.

“During the pandemic and the stringent lockdowns, many have seen the value of living in mixed-use developments or at least being near and having easy access to groceries, banks, offices and medical facilities,” says Tek Samaniego, editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer Property.

Tomas Lorenzo, president and CEO of Torre Lorenzo Development Corp., shares that buyers have been interested in residential buildings with high-speed internet, given the distance learning mode among students this school year.

Joey Bondoc, senior research manager of Colliers International Philippines, says that being in a “healthy building,” which prioritizes one’s well-being, has become a huge consideration among homebuyers.

“It’s very important now that you are in a building where there’s enough sanitation, enough sunlight. If you’re in a condo, you have to make sure that your property manager is implementing enough safety protocols,” he says.

In all, he adds, investors, especially overseas Filipino workers, are looking for bigger spaces because of the social distancing measures.