Posts Tagged ‘Keith Ashkettle’

Ray White presents annual technology roadshow

TechnologyRoadshow2014Over 300 Ray White New Zealand Members have attended the 2014 Ray White New Zealand Technology Roadshow series – run by Keith Ashkettle, Head of Technology at Ray White New Zealand, and Adam Campbell, Technical Director of MyDesktop, over the last two weeks.

The companies adoption of Google, and Google platforms, including Google Communities and Google My Business, were discussed as were mobile technologies and advancements in this area. Interestingly projections indicate we are soon likely to see mobile web access overtake desktop internet usage worldwide. With populations becoming more mobile, and more and more people having access now to mobile devices (with other reports from ITU Wolrd Telecommunication showing mobile penetration within 5% of the actual world population) this is an important area, and one in which Ray White remains active in investigating and advancing.

Ray White’s presence on TradeMe Property and Realestate.co.nz websites was discussed in length- as Ray White offices continue to lead the way in the adoption of Feature Listings on TradeMe.co.nz (over other agencies advertising on the site). Statistically, Feature Listings lead to far higher page views and enquiries for the property being advertised – resulting in more enquiries on the property. Interestingly too in April 2014 54.2% of browsers to TradeMe came through to the site via a mobile device.  As online industries and consumer review sites, such as Yelp.com, gain further traction in an online space Ray White’s impressive Customer Service Satisfaction program was reviewed.

Facebook targeted advertising has been another area online marketing tool trialled by various Ray White offices. One Ray White Richmond Facebook ad was reviewed – the property receiving 1121 office website hits – almost 4 times more enquiry in it’s 3 weeks of marketing compared to a similar property the office had had listed and which had been on the market for more than 3 months! These statistics could be visually compared in Ray White’s internal MyDesktop System – and were supported by Google Analytics reports from the office.

Vanessa McKenzie, Co-Director of Ray White Whangarei, who attended the first session held on 30 June for the Ray White Northland Zone commented that “One of the things of most interest to me was the discussion around capturing the attention of a passive buyer and how to interact with them online – both on Google and Facebook, and Keith’s case study of this initiative – highlighted to us the simplicity and effectiveness of these tools available to us.

“We already encourage, and actively attend, the online webinars to our Whangarei, Bream Bay and Tutukaka teams, and the individual salespeople who have adopted the regular learning sessions have shown growth in their business – but it’s great to come together in a training format such as this – with other Ray White team members – to both learn and share ideas.”

Video marketing is one area in which Ray White are increasingly active – currently offering free video for every property listed, and with recent video views on the companies YouTube page exceeding 2 million, Ray White agents and offices continue to adopt and employ advancements in this technology. “This is impressive when you consider that people only generally remember about 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see – but people generally remember 70% of what they see and hear – which is the case with video content.” says Keith Ashkettle.

At the 10 roadshows run over the two weeks, Adam Campbell presented a range of new technologies, integrations, reporting tools and options for the Ray White Group in MyDesktop, and Ray White’s Digital Marketing Packages were presented to our Group – for our agents to utilise for their vendors. “These technologies provide extra depth, and additional value to our agents and offices. We look forward to implementing them in our business” commented Vanessa McKenzie upon conclusion of the Roadshow.

Ray White real estate already on the road to new digital frontier

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Once seen as a novelty, digital signage has proven to be an effective way to capture and convert the attention of potential buyers, and one which Ray White New Zealand have adopted with great success nationally.

Creating the overall experience for customers is now recognised as one of the most important means to encouraging customer enquiry and in-store service.  Whether it is selling low cost products, informing customers who are looking to make informed decisions, or to advertise product in great quality – “establishing a better overall client experience is hugely important for small and large businesses alike.” says Grant Verry, Sharp New Zealand‘s Divisional Manager who supplies digital screens to Ray White offices across the country.  ”A recent study of consumers’ retail preferences by design consultancy Dalziel & Pow recorded that ‘lack of atmosphere’ is the most common reason for shoppers’ dislike or avoidance of certain shops. The report also suggests that customers are attaching increasing importance to the overall brand experience in store” says Mr Verry.  

“Ray White  offices continue to gain a competitive edge in a crowded market by utilising these digital displays with great success for our customers” says Keith Ashkettle, Head of Technology for Ray White New Zealand.  ”Digital signage allows our Ray White offices to not only establish a premium quality client experience, but also allows our clients to present their properties on the highest quality marketing platform.”  Interestingly  IBM research shows that customers are 10 times more likely to observe dynamic, digital signage than static, so it is not surprising that the global market for digital signage is estimated to grow each year until 2020 by 8.94% (according to Marketsandmarkets.com).

Sharp New Zealand have been a long advocate of digital displays, and have now installed a range of digital display solutions for Ray White New Zealand office since their first installation in Ray White Newmarket (pictured above).  Further Ray White offices to have adopted this technology include: One Tree HillMount AlbertTakanini; Forrest Hill; SandringhamRoyal OakWanakaShirley; and Manly – with Ray White’s  newest offices Merivale and Mangere Bridge also looking at installations.

There are a range of benefits to our offices of this agile content management system offered by digital signage.  Digital signage allows a greater amount of information to be displayed than print, and is generally more cost effective (for both the business and the vendor) than many other forms of advertising – but it is flexible too. Content displayed can not only be updated from a single source quickly without needing to be printed, but the message that is displayed can change at different times throughout the day.

While the retail sector already utilizes this technology at the time of purchase, Sharp is also noticing specific advantages for their real estate clients. “The digital displays provide a unique value to a vendors marketing. – At the end of the day the company who can provide the greatest value for a client often secures the listing” says Joshua McKenty, Sharp New Zealand’s Brand & Communications Manager.  ”Digital screens allow Ray White’s content and quality of brand to be seamlessly distributed through the company’s existing content management system – Which helps create a consistent and high quality experience for not only our customers, Ray White, but also their clients and vendors.”

 ”Value for a property seller will generally come in two forms: monetary and emotional. Starting with a personal example of emotional value, my Grandparents recently sold their home of 30 years – an extremely difficult decision for anyone that has owned a home for that long. Their property (by chance) was displayed by a real estate agent utilising high quality digital screens. While the house sold at a great price, the one thing they couldn’t stop talking about was how proud they were of the way their property was displayed. The value for them was being able to display their home with amazing quality.

On the other hand, we are hearing from our real estate customers that they are achieving higher sell prices which they attribute to displaying listings via this technology.  The proof of impact for us is observing the digital medium generating greater interest in properties, which ultimately results in higher prices and a faster sale” adds Mr McKenty.

 

10 years creates first mover advantage

KeithThis week Ray White New Zealand are proud to recognise 10 years service by Keith Ashkettle, head of Ray White New Zealand technology. Keith started 10 years ago this week and has played a leading role in the success of the Ray White Group’s technology position today. Over the 10 year period consistent and ongoing first mover advantage has been undertaken by Keith to put the group in what is known today as the most advanced position in the technology space of real estate groups generally.

Late in 2004 the first movement towards collective software was undertaken by the group in New Zealand as a leading example for real estate groups across Australasia. We deployed in partnership with Online Solutions a general software system which allowed our business to be viewed agency to agency and fundamentally gave advantage to salespeople to be able to view property across a broad geographical spread, which allowed buyers to be introduced to properties in real time through direct member contact and auto-feeds. Building on the group’s individual website platform, individual agent platforms became pride of place in our group during 2008. It was introduced alongside Ray White taking up a full upload position with Trade Me as one of the first group’s to understand the value of online lead generation and the importance that was placed on this by clients and customers.

A further advancement in 2009 saw the group join MyDesktop with integrated fully functional real estate applications including CRM, buyer matching, property marketing and works towards the concept of one piece of data being relevant across all value pieces within an individual salesperson’s contact base and more broadly, the agency’s wider community database.

Applications Keith has been responsible for include school zones, walkscore mapping, slide shows, customer satisfaction and the recently introduced video policy which provides the capability for all Ray White marketed property to be shown via the Ray White You Tube channel which gives purchasers a unique experience of every property they view.

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said “Keith Ashkettle’s tenure with the company continues to allow us to be known for our industry leading position. Loyalty and consistency are two of the attributes which business thrives on and Keith has been able to demonstrate this with the Ray White Group at outstanding levels. His ability to adapt and implement change is at the highest level, even when he is urging progress ahead of the pace of change. Keith is a true example of a leader within his own field that adds not only value to Ray White, but also to all of those who engage with the Ray White Group from partners to suppliers to clients and to our own Ray White New Zealand team.”

“We wish to thank Keith for his continued service to Ray White and congratulate him for his 10 year tenure thus far with the Ray White Group.”

Ray White Finalist in 2013 ESET Netguide Web Awards

finalistsRay White New Zealand were again acknowledged at the 2013 ESET Netguide Web Awards as a finalist in front of a large audience at the awards held last Thursday at the Hilton Hotel to celebrate the New Zealand IT industry award winners for 2013.

Ray White were the only national franchise group to be recognised as one of the finalists in company with three other independent property websites and only one other real estate company.  Ray White were also finalists in the awards last year that had over 290,000 votes from the public awarding in various categories.

Head of technology in New Zealand, Keith Ashkettle, said that the Net Guide finalist acknowledgement supported the Ray White Group’s industry leading applications that have been applied to the raywhite.co.nz website, particularly during the past 12 months.  The Group has engaged Walk Score that gives users real time information in regards to what a particular area has to offer in respect of services, schools and transport.  This was one of the most used applications on our website.

The Ray White Group in 2014 introduced to its franchises an integrated video system provided by Autoplay. The company has a tiering method which ensures every property which is listed with a Ray White member can have a video and we also have the capability of providing voice-overs and individually custom-tailored videos for property.

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, said that he wished to acknowledge the outstanding work the Ray White technology team do for the company.  Members also keep us at the cutting edge of our technology requirements and that assists us in being an industry leader in all areas of technology.

The Ray White Group has 135 websites which link to each individual office and this is housed within a national website. Ray White also has a high degree of readership on the blogging website raywhiteonline.co.nz

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Ray White Update News App now on Android

The Ray White Group first produced a news app in early 2012 which was applied as a smartphone application which enables members of the public and those who subscribe to receive instant updates on current news and events, CEO Comments, Ray White offices and also links to property listings. The original iPhone version has over 2,000 subscribers and now with the release of the Android version, Ray White anticipates a continued increase of subscribers.

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Keith Ashkettle,  head of Ray White New Zealand technology, said the growth of the Android market, particularly in New Zealand, has meant that many applications have no choice but to support both platforms. “Our news app has been extremely popular given we have commentary from our New Zealand Chief Executive, Carey Smith, and also items of interest including market conditions, network movements and other events being released in individual story format on our Ray White News Application.”

Ray White News App GoogleRay White News App Apple

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Ray White Finalist in Net Guide Web Awards

Ray White has been acknowledged as a finalist in the 2012 ESET Net Guide Web Awards. Over 200,000 votes were received in 27 categories and Ray White were acknowledged as only one of five finalists in the category of  Best Real Estate website which was sponsored by Resene.

Ray White have developed a three platform strategy which has a national presence of raywhite.co.nz, local office websites which have the domain of RW and also we have over 250 agent websites. In more recent times Ray White has adopted a new website presence which has enhanced the quality of the presentation for each individual client and their property. Ray White has added in such features as real time importation to calendars, up to 80 high resolution photos, full detail sheets directly from our listing forms together with the ability for each property to have a floor plan and video tour.

Keith Ashkettle, Ray White Systems Manager, said to be recognised in such high profile awards was a credit to the entire Ray White technology strategy. “We have worked consistently on our technology position to become recognised as the industry leader, with the full adoption of our one system whereby every Ray White office has their own website that is integrated with our national website and in more recent times, we have added personal websites to our technology offering available to all members.”

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Ray White Launches News App

The Ray White Group in New Zealand has long being recognised as an industry leader in technology for their members and also the interface to the public online.

Ray White recently introduced a news application which is available to be downloaded from the iTunes Store. The application provides the user with real-time updates of events and happenings inside the Ray White Group. It also provides for contact information with each member office, with a direct link to over 130 local Ray White websites.  The application also provides commentary from our New Zealand Chief Executive, Carey Smith.

Keith Ashkettle, head of Ray White Systems, said that the application adds to our current interface with the public. “We have recently introduced Walk Score and Neighbourhoods to our website, enabling us to provide rich information about the communities in which properties are for sale. Our application allows members and those interested in the real estate industry to have real-time information from Ray White in respect of trends and information within the Ray White Group.”  He went on to say that the application is the first of the 2012 projects to be released. “We are also working on member applications as well as property applications that will benefit buyers and sellers in the market.

To download this application please click here.

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Ray White Website Shows Increase

Ray White recently launched its new national website together with 135 local office websites in mid May 2011.  The recent Google analytics report for the collective Ray White websites showed that during the past month there have been a total of 241,228 visits to our sites.  Of those 35% came from direct traffic, 19% came from referring sites, with the balance coming from search engines.

One of the changes to the referring sites shows that Facebook is now the highest referrer for the Ray White Group for individual properties that are visited from a primary referral source.  During the past 12 months Facebook has consistently moved up the rankings and is now a clear number one referrer to our company website.  Another area of interest in 2010 for the same period the average visitor viewed 3.3 pages and stayed on our site 2.59 minutes.  In a snapshot that was taken last week for the same period, our total visitors has increased by 33%, with the average pages viewed just under doubling to 6.37 and the average time on our site has also increased substantially to 4.32 minutes.

Collectively this shows the consistent and ongoing optimization that the Ray White Group has been putting into their web platform to maintain one of the leading positions in the industry.

Keith Ashkettle, head of technology for Ray White New Zealand, said that two key indicators for visitors were the speed of the site and the rich content of their experience when they come to the site. “Our property display now has integrated features which include school zones, a full suite of mapping and community information.  This has translated into the visitor spending more time on our site to get much greater detail of the property they are showing interest in.”  He went on to say that the enquiry rate from the local Ray White sites has also increased substantially and this has been a highlight in the response to our new platform.

The Ray White Group partner with Trade Me Property, realestate.co.nz and also have total membership to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.  The new web platform is designed to respond at a national, local and individual level and this has kept Ray White as one of the industry leaders in technology in the real estate agency business.

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National Ray White Web Site Released

Ray White New Zealand is pleased to announce the launch of their new version of their national website www.raywhite.co.nz.  The website represents the latest in integrated technology and property marketing.  Many of the features that are available within the website are industry firsts which will assist property sellers in ensuring that their property is displayed at its very best.

The front page of the site provides easy navigation throughout New Zealand and is broken up into regional areas. The search function is enabled through any word, sentence or property ID number and this includes Find an Agent.  The advanced search function is enabled through all divisions of properties for sale together with properties for rent by region, city and suburb. The number of bedrooms and also price will return a user-friendly search.

Please click to see our most viewed Property in the last 12 hours

Within the individual property display the site opens up to having a slide show or a gallery photo selection. The description of the property is linked with features and open homes, which can be added to the majority of electronic calendars.  Floor plans, video tours and location maps all sit within the individual property page; while one of the new areas that have been introduced for each property is community information which provides a summary of social and economic data for each area in comparison to a city and New Zealand.  This includes information about occupation, age distribution, household income and the number of residents per property. Another feature which are available for each property is local school zoning.  This is shown on a map where the property is located and then each school in green returns the user the zone of that school and also other schools located close to the property but however are not in zone.  This is a first for any real estate company to deliver such rich information for the user. In additional the site offers automatic real time translation in 51 different languages.

Keith Ashkettle, head of Ray White New Zealand technology, said “The site development has been in progress for close to 12 months and we have worked with property owners, salespeople and business owners to ensure that each of the stakeholders in our website are served with the greatest outcome to enhance the user experience on our site.”

Carey Smith, Chief Executive of Ray White New Zealand, commented that the Group has always had a strong emphasis on technology. “The delivery of the new national website together with our local websites is a demonstration of our commitment to online marketing.  The applications that we have within our website allow the user to build up a lot of information, not only about the property but also the community.  We understand that buying a property is one of the, if not the biggest, commitments that people make and also when they come to realise the sale of that property, that they also want to be giving the benefits of the area as well.”

The Ray White NZ national website currently has 14,400 properties available for sale or for rent.  The Group has recently enabled 136 local websites which are built on local community information. The national and local websites are enhanced by our Group’s online presence through Trade Me Property, realestate.co.nz and raywhite.com.

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