Nov 14, 2023 • Blog

3 PropTech Innovations you Need to be Aware of Before 2024

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The property portal industry is on the verge of a significant revolution.

For the past two decades, property portals have remained relatively unchanged in terms of user experience. Unlike the travel industry, where platforms like Airbnb evolved and disrupted the market, property portals have been static in terms of innovation.

Yet, Raconteur reports that a massive 90% of traditional real estate organisations see proptech as an opportunity.

This suggests that in 2024 and beyond, product managers need to be aware of and potentially lead innovations in property portal design and functionality to keep up with changing user expectations and evolution industry trends.

In October, TravelTime was a lead sponsor at the flagship Property Portal Watch and Online Marketplaces event in Madrid. Bringing together both industry giants and new startups under one roof, the event was a hotbed of inspiration and forward-thinking.

Watch TravelTime’s Chris Hutchinson and Zoopla’s Ben Amos on Delivering a Personalized Search Experience Using Travel Times.

A number of key themes emerged and there are three innovations in the property portal world that you need to be aware of to drive growth and improve your UX in 2023 and beyond.

AI-driven transformation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a crucial role in transforming the property portal technology industry. This is a topic that is seemingly everywhere at the moment - every day we have an onslaught of new AI articles to read; actors and writers strikes cause productions to come to a halt, AI chatbots can plan bioweapon attacks, the UK announces the world’s inaugural international AI summit, the list goes on.

However, AI is not something that has previously infiltrated the property market — until now.

There is a shift happening from traditional 'Search' to 'Tell,' where AI systems can understand and respond to users' preferences and needs more intuitively. AI is poised to enhance user engagement and interaction on property platforms, making it essential for product managers to understand how to leverage AI technologies effectively.

Louisa Bainbridge, CMO at TravelTime, says, “We've been hearing the word AI at conferences for years now. But this is the first time I've heard how it can transform property portals - offering a search that is truly focused on the consumer.”

At Property Portal Watch, the events’ host Simon Baker highlighted this transition in his keynote speech, available to watch here.

Guided discovery is on the rise

Imagine a platform that understands your desires, anticipates your needs, and engages with you in a conversational manner — ultimately helping you find the property of your dreams.

This evolution is made possible by conversational chatbots equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP). At the event, PropertyMate explored how these virtual helpers are poised to become new allies in the search for the right property.

This represents the evident shift of property portals’ effort to create a more interactive experience for their users.

It’s suggested at PPW that this could be especially appealing to the younger generation of property seekers who typically rent for longer than generations preceding them, move around locations more readily, and are perhaps more open to trying new locations.

Could this be the disruptor the rental market has been awaiting?

Journey time data as a means of personalisation

Every property search is personal. There are no two property seekers that will mirror each other’s needs perfectly.

However, the property search experience often follows a one-size-fits-all model, wherein users are constrained by the available filtering options — typically encompassing postcode radius, price range, number of bedrooms, and property type.

Fortunately, the proptech industry is witnessing technological advancements that mark a shift towards greater personalisation, addressing individual needs more effectively. Among these is the inclusion of journey time data in property listings.

The integration of multi-modal journey time data allows the user to understand the time it takes to commute to work, schools, or other essential destinations. This additional layer of information enriches the user experience, offering a deeper understanding of how a property fits into their daily life.

Journey time data is one of the most requested and high-impact changes that property portals can make.

Including journey time data in property search and discovery also delivers results. Zoopla shared that by adopting TravelTime, their customer journey is richer and more personalised, which satisfies the user and converts three times more leads than showing distance radiuses alone.

Watch Ben Amos, Senior Product Manager at Zoopla explore the power of personalisation in their Property Portal Watch presentation.

Stay ahead of the curve with TravelTime

If you want to replicate Zoopla's success and provide your users with more relevant, personalised search results, integrate the TravelTime API into your property search portal platform.

Unlock the potential for higher conversions and more satisfied customers by adopting this innovative approach to property search.

Get started for free by signing up for an API key or request a demo from one of our team.

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