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Being Ahead of the Curve: Real Estate Switches to Digital Mode: Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani

The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has India holding its breath. In this challenging situation, this Gudi Padwa festival day, which is traditionally an important day for real estate, there was a silver lining – for many a home seeker looking at buying a Hiranandani home, there was an alternative to actual site visits and face to face negotiations as also payment of booking amount.

On Gudi Padwa day 2020, real estate saw what were arguably, the largest number so far of tech-driven virtual enquiries and visits – as also steps leading up to booking a home, online. For those looking at buying a Hiranandani home on the festive day, the process was powered by the information technology team at the Hiranandani Group.

Replacing one on one interaction and the site visit, the entire process was hosted on digital platforms: online technologies, telephony and the internet came together with 3D virtual walk-throughs, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Not something new, these have been around since some time now. The digital platform was largely used to reach out to NRI buyers as also those in other cities across India, but their relevance and the ability to replace personal visits even for local home buyers became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. For the team at Hiranandani Group, it has been a process of adapting to the virtual world and adopting new platforms to bridge the gap between home seekers and real estate developers, and the Hiranandani Group has been agile in this process.

Just as streaming entertainment options and on-line banking as also e-commerce options have been accepted by users, the virtual sales and marketing set-up has been the saviour for many a home seeker who on Cheti Chand/ Ugadi/ Gudi Padwa 2020, did not want to miss the auspicious nature of the festival. In most instances where families used the ‘virtual’ option, the site visits and initial negotiations had happened earlier. It was the closure, in the form of booking, which was done using the tech-driven virtual platforms.

At the Hiranandani Group, it does not end with just these bookings. Given the auspicious nature of the festive day, many a home seeking family took to the digital route and had preliminary discussions using email and chat platforms. Those who liked the options on offer opted for a virtual walk-through of the show flat. How many of these will end up being sales is something one cannot say with certainty, but in a scenario where the lockdown has created a situation where personal visits are not on the cards for some days, the process of home hunting at projects of the Hiranandani Group has not stopped.

At this stage, most of the families who opted for the digital option this festive day come from the segment of ‘new millennial home buyers’, but it marks a beginning. As home seekers across different segments opt for the virtual route, it marks the coming of age of a process which has potential to develop into a full-fledged alternative to one on one interactions and personal visits. Initiatives like Digital India find actual usage in this process, and it has the potential to grow exponentially.

In today’s age of on-line connectivity through laptops, PCs, tablets and iPads as also smartphones, the digital platform is among the initial options for a potential home seeker when zeroing in on a location of choice, or while considering purchasing a house – the first option is to search for real estate options online. For the sales and marketing team at Hiranandani Group, this has proven to be an ideal option to reach out to such potential home seekers and convert them into customers – leveraging the effective digital and online platforms.

As the process of following up on enquiries which started from Gudi Padwa 2020 move towards closure as sales, the online and digital platforms offer an advantage, which enable home seekers of the Hiranandani Group’s projects to go ahead with the process despite the lockdown. The process of searching for and buying property now has one more option, with digital marketing as well as social media marketing, bridging home seekers with their dream Hiranandani Group property.

Given the advantage that these new platforms offer, even in the scenario following the COVID-19 pandemic, once things return to normalcy, sales and marketing at the Hiranandani Group will continue to leverage the advantage of these digital platforms.