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PGP wins international awards

18 Dec 2014

In today’s rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive and sophisticated property environment, the marketing of real estate is a highly specialised business, as real estate agencies compete not only for stock, but also to gain the attention and trust of informed and knowledgeable potential buyers who have access to a wide range of market-related information across a broad spectrum of media.

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, says with the ongoing challenge for any business to find points of competitive differentiation in all markets in which it operates, striving to achieve international standards of excellence - and thereby global recognition - is of key importance.

This is according to Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, who says with constant advances in technology potentially serving to level many of the playing fields, an ongoing challenge for any business is to find points of competitive differentiation in all markets in which it operates, which is why striving to achieve international standards of excellence - and thereby global recognition - is of key importance.

“As a result, we are extremely proud to have received these awards in London and Dubai recently,” he says. At the Overseas Property Professional Awards for Excellence held in London on 27 November (2014), Pam Golding Properties won Gold for Best Estate Agency Africa, Gold for Best Online Service, Silver for Best Global Estate Agency and Silver for Best Media - for their Imagine magazine. In addition they received the 5 Star award for Best Real Estate Agency South Africa and Best Real Estate Agency Africa at the International Property Awards held in Dubai on 4 December.

This is the third year Pam Golding Properties has received awards on these global platforms. Established in 2004, the OPP (Overseas Property Professional) Awards is one of the property sector’s most auspicious events, judged by a panel according to stringent criteria.

Judged by a panel of over 80 experts, since 1995 the International Property Awards have celebrated the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in the four main sectors of the property and real estate industry - development, architecture, interior design and real estate. According to Stuart Shield, president of the International Property Awards, levels of excellence and innovation continue to rise within the property industry year after year, making the attainment of one of these awards increasingly difficult, yet even more valued.

Commenting further, Dr Golding says the judging of the awards took into account numerous criteria. “The recent global economic recession and South Africa’s resilient housing market performance has once again highlighted the cyclical, consumer-centric and ever-changing nature of property markets today.” He says all businesses have had to adapt to a new set of prevailing economic circumstances and adjust their strategy accordingly. The market dropped dramatically in 2007, but has been steadily improving ever since, and looks set to improve further in 2015, the residential property market has changed and is impacted by a number of additional factors including access to finance and in particular, market sentiment, says Golding.

“As with most industries, only well run real estate businesses based on a long term, sustainable business model survive and thrive in difficult times.” He says while there has been a considerable improvement in the market, it is still challenging for agents, who have increasing demands placed on them. In today’s environment they need to be qualified professionals, coupled with the fact that there is a significant amount of knowledge required in terms of the market itself, as well as legal and financial implications, among others. Golding says with the manifestation of the digital age and the exponentially increasing consumer-centricity of the world, estate agents have had to modernise, digitise and remain ‘connected’ to clients in a process of continuous development.

Furthermore, Golding says agents have to offer real value and excellent client service throughout the selling process, providing insightful knowledge and professionalism, pricing strategy and negotiation skills as opposed to primarily property marketing. “While nothing can replace this personal service and commitment, there can be little doubt as to the impact that the web has had on buying behaviour, including real estate company websites as well as property portals.” He says their website, which provides a personalised experience, receives in excess of 300 000 visits each month which comprises approximately 200 000 unique visitors who spend an average of close to six minutes on the site on each occasion.

In November (2014), he says, this resulted in excess of 2 700 leads being generated. About 32 500 visitors returned to the site more than five times during the month, which is indicative of the intensity of search behaviour. However, print advertising continues to play an important role within the buying cycle - bearing in mind that this buying and selling process is generally over a protracted period of time, with the various buying needs changing as the cycle progresses. This means that print and web advertising play various complementary roles during the cycle.

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