Urban.com.au caught up with Katie Rea from Thirdi Group for a Q&A session to discuss how developers are navigating the current crisis.
1. How are you going about things at Thirdi in 2020?
Thirdi finished 2019 in an incredibly strong position having bolstered the development pipeline for years to come. To date, the first half of 2020 hasn’t come without its challenges though as we navigate and pivot into new ways of working, my honest belief is that from these challenges growth and opportunities start to arise. For Thirdi it has been a firm belief that it is “business as usual’ albeit with a twist. Friday drinks are morphed into zoom cocktail hours, coffee catchups are done virtually, and sales inspections have unfortunately been carried out without a friendly handshake. Whilst we are all facing adversity our commitment to ‘innovative brilliance’, embracing change, adopting new technologies and assuming the Australian spirit of ‘having a crack’ are the traits in which will ensure Thirdi can and will deliver on its value proposition for years to come.
In 2020 we are seeing digital take over even more so than the previous 3-5 years. Video calls have allowed us to sell our high-end stock to clients who are currently overseas without them having to physically turn up. We are seeing clients spend more time on our App, looking at views, studying floor plans and watching video content to familiarise themselves with the product before they purchase. With some good luck and good management over the past 6 months, Thirdi is sitting in a good position to slingshot out of this on the other side.
2. How has COVID 19 changed the landscape of marketing for higher-priced stock?
COVID with all its surprises and unpleasantries has come with its silver linings. As financial markets around the world retreated, pandemonium set in and governments gathered to formulate strategies, savvy investors/owners looked to park capital in high quality, safe haven, asset classes. Over the past 12 weeks Thirdi has exchanged on large volumes of stock in high-quality areas across Sydney and Newcastle. I honestly believe that over this period of time people who knew what they wanted and were in a position to purchase still put their hat in the ring.
Marketing in general over the past 12 weeks has been difficult and has given everyone the opportunity to think outside the box. We were lucky at Thirdi that in the lead up to the shutdown we had some great momentum on our live projects. With completion dates nearing closer it pushed us through the challenging new world that we found ourselves in. Additional learning from COVID is that everyone has had to find more innovative ways to serve their clients and this has opened up a lot of communication between all teams involved throughout the development process.
COVID-19 has provided the industry with an opportunity to pivot, embrace new technologies, scrutinise internal practices, self-analyse, peer review and over-service clients. No industry has been immune to COVID 19 though I firmly believe, post-crisis these best practises will evolve and be implemented. Whether in person or not our lessons learnt have paved the way to give our clients the best experience in purchasing property. Video content is going to be essential in all marketing campaigns and that needs to be supported with digital access to views, digital floor plans, 3D floor plans.
Tech is evolving so fast, it’s going to be amazing to see what comes out of COVID. At Thirdi, we have now rationalised a Chatbot on website and listings so that clients can get an immediate answer while they’re at home. This is active to take clients on the journey start to finish and then be contacted within business hours.
At Thirdi our approach has been to control what we can control. Our best in class marketing practices help to celebrate the extraordinary enlightened developments that we have brought to cities around Australia.
3. Do you see a difference in the lead to sale ratio in the higher-priced stock?
What I have seen over the past 6-12 weeks is that people who are enquiring are more qualified. Leads have dropped over this period however the leads that we are receiving, and I speak for Thirdi, are purchasing and this is resulting in a shorter time to exchange on a property.