VUE DE MONDE

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - with Thibault Guil­laume, VitrineMe­dia

FOUNDED IN 2007, VitrineMe­dia En­ter­prise is a pri­vately owned French com­pany cred­ited with pioneer­ing back­lit LED win­dow dis­plays in France’s real es­tate mar­ket. Now they have de­liv­ered over one mil­lion dis­plays to in ex­cess of 40,000 cus­tomers world­wide, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia. Elite Agent caught up with the com­pany’s Global En­ter­prise CEO, Thibault Guil­laume, to chat about some of the trends emerg­ing in the French and Euro­pean mar­kets – and what we can ex­pect to dom­i­nate the 2018 land­scape. Thibault, tell us a lit­tle about your­self, your role and what it is you en­joy most about the prop­erty in­dus­try? I am the CEO of VitrineMe­dia and I’m re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing the prod­uct and ser­vice we pro­vide cre­ates a great ex­pe­ri­ence for our cus­tomers and that the com­pany con­tin­ues to grow. What makes the role en­joy­able is that I’m an en­tre­pre­neur. I started my ca­reer in sales and can re­late to real es­tate agents who are es­sen­tially sales peo­ple, filled with an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit to grow their busi­nesses by of­fer­ing cus­tomers the best prod­ucts and ser­vices.

Is it a chal­lenge to man­age and mo­ti­vate a sales team across dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ge­ogra­phies? Yes, it is com­plex and chal­leng­ing, but it’s al­ways richly re­ward­ing when I see the unity we’ve cre­ated across our many op­er­a­tions around the world. We may come from dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds and live in dif­fer­ent parts of the world, but my job is to cel­e­brate this di­ver­sity and bring it all to­gether in a cor­po­rate cul­ture that we all buy into. In VitrineMe­dia’s case, our shared ‘rai­son d’être’ – or very rea­son for ex­is­tence – is to be re­mark­able in all we do.

What’s the state of the real es­tate mar­ket across Europe and in France in par­tic­u­lar? Are these mar­kets sim­i­lar in where they’re at – or do they have their own char­ac­ter­is­tics? Right now the French and Euro­pean real es­tate mar­kets are very much aligned. The French mar­ket has picked up over the past few months, much of the boom fol­low­ing the May elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron. It’s this surge, too – with 2017 a record year dur­ing which real es­tate sales jumped 30 per cent to more than one mil­lion trans­ac­tions – that’s driv­ing the high na­tional con­fi­dence and con­tribut­ing to the over­all French eco­nomic growth of two per cent in 2017. Europe – bar­ring the UK and most likely Brexit-re­lated – is also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing favourable trends. There’s been strong eco­nomic re­cov­ery in Por­tu­gal, with growth in the re­gion of three per cent, while coun­tries like The Nether­lands and Italy show pos­i­tive signs, as does Ger­many, where low prop­erty prices con­tinue to stim­u­late real es­tate ac­tiv­ity. What do you be­lieve is driv­ing the mar­kets? Most economies across Europe are strong. There’s sta­bil­ity and op­ti­mism and, with all in­di­ca­tions sug­gest­ing the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s quan­ti­ta­tive pol­icy of low in­ter­est rates will con­tinue at least for a fur­ther 12 months, there’s rea­son to be con­fi­dent the Euro­pean real es­tate mar­ket will sus­tain strong growth through 2018.

How is the in­dus­try dif­fer­ent in Europe than in Aus­tralia? A gen­eral ob­ser­va­tion is that home own­er­ship rates are higher in Aus­tralia, thus skew­ing real es­tate ac­tiv­ity to­wards buy­ing and sell­ing rather than rent­ing. Around 70 per cent of peo­ple in Aus­tralia own homes – which is much higher than densely pop­u­lated coun­tries such as Ger­many, Aus­tria and Switzer­land, where the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple rent – and deal­ing with buy­ers rather than renters re­quires a some­what dif­fer­ent skill set. Yes, the core skill is al­ways be­ing pas­sion­ate about cus­tomers and look­ing af­ter their needs, but it is true that renters, gen­er­ally speak­ing, are less dis­cern­ing than buy­ers, who are mak­ing a ma­jor cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and want to feel there’s a bond, built on trust, with the agent. An­other ma­jor dif­fer­ence is the ma­tu­rity of the var­i­ous mar­kets when it comes to em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy. We’re a lit­tle be­hind Aus­tralia which, it seems, has al­ready gone through the ex­er­cise; the Aus­tralian real es­tate sec­tor un­der­stands that the in­ter­net is not only an im­por­tant source of leads but also serves to build the agency’s brand and pro­file, and en­hance its rep­u­ta­tion. There’s a term for it – phy­gi­tal – which is es­sen­tially ap­pre­ci­at­ing the rel­a­tive val­ues of the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal pres­ence, and achiev­ing the per­fect bal­ance.

Look­ing into your crys­tal ball, where do you see the mar­ket in 12 months’ time? What do you ex­pect the ma­jor shifts and trends will be, and will the cus­tomer be the win­ner? The pres­sure is surely on the in­de­pen­dently-owned cor­ner real es­tate shop – and pre­cisely be­cause of the emer­gence of phy­gi­tal as not only a ma­jor point of dif­fer­ence but also as an added el­e­ment of cus­tomer ser­vice. It’s all part of the French and Euro­pean play­ers be­com­ing more au fait with the mer­its of tech­nol­ogy and fol­low­ing their Aus­tralian con­tem­po­raries in em­brac­ing as­pects like the in­ter­net – which, in­ci­den­tally, al­ready has Google fea­tur­ing cus­tomer re­views on just about ev­ery French real es­tate agency. •

VitrineMe­dia En­ter­prise CEO Thibault Guil­laume

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.