Real Estate Sales Following Vacation Rentals and Hotel, Lots to be learned
By: Ed Ulmer
As part of my responsibility with NNEREN, last week I spent time at an offsite. The NNEREN® Board of Directors reviewed new and existing data options as part of the annual Leadership Retreat. After careful consideration of these products, including input from other MLS’s, it was determined that, at their current state of development, RPR and FIND are lacking in important key elements such as public records specific to the NNEREN® market, and neither product would provide a substantive additional benefit to NNEREN® members. These and other products may be reviewed again in 2012. The BOD also concluded that with all the new tools we have, it would be to best advantage to better educate our membership on the present benefits available for them, before adding any more.”
From my perspective, there were a few issues that really bugged me. While RPR and Find had some very cool tools. Most of them are not available in NH and Vermont because town information is not online. But even if this information was live and could make real estate agents life much easier, those same tools could be marketed and used by individuals trying to sell their own property through online portals, if the tool was provided to those portals. More importantly in return for the simplification bobbles real estate agents are losing control of your most valuable asset, your property info. Move, Core Logic and even NAR have decided that they want access to our data, to generate revenue. Who would buy this information, well the Federal Government, the banking industry and the scary group is Trulia, Zillow and other online real estate portals that see an opportunity to automate the real estate industry. In fact Move the parent for Find seems to already be moving this way. The real estate industry seems to be following the vacation rental industry and similarly, most in the industry seem unaware of the trap they are falling into.
Two years ago, I sat with my rental software peers and listened to Park Brady, past Resort Quest CEO explaining how the hotel industry was caught asleep at the wheel and woke up after Expedia increased their commissions. When the hotels revolted, they realized that Expedia and others had taken market share and hotels had given away their brand. Don’t get me wrong there is a place for OTA’s especially in regards to niche, but for those who get most of their business from an OTA, you will have a wakeup call just like the hotel industry. For those MLS and real estate companies who have signed up for Find and have not asked NAR, do you guarantee that my data and the statistics that are generated from it will not be used to compete against me or worst be used to make it easier for an owner to sell his own property be warned. CoreLogic has promised to only sell the data to the banking industry and from my perspective that is reasonable, business is in the business to make money. Vacation rentals is a cross between real estate and hospitality and anyone that does real estate in a resort area should be doing rentals, so thus they are similar and aligned. One interesting side note is that HomeAway the system that owns VRBO also owns HomeAway Real Estate http://www.homeawayrealestate.com/ and like Trulia and Zillow their focus is to compete online with the traditional real estate model.