The Google Maps difference for the most innovative brands in real estate
When looking for a home, the first question is always where? The area is always the first consideration, followed by the actual property. So for a real estate sales portal, accurate geolocation is an absolute must. “Google Maps matters. Our agencies know it’s a reliable platform that doesn’t cause problems,” said Andrea Perla, IT Manager of Frimm Group, describing the “Google Maps difference”. In Italy, “other services fail to guarantee a level of detail down to the house number”, or they get up to 10% of addresses wrong, which in the past forced Frimm’s IT team to have to make corrections on the back end. “If you don’t know exactly where a property is located or where the customer is looking, you can’t correlate the search with properties.” But Google Maps “has allowed us to fully satisfy our customers. Users search for an address, and a map provides all the information they need.”
With an estimated value of over €30 million, Frimm is a leading software provider for real estate transactions. The group comprises the Frimm and REplat brands. Their customers include Frimm franchise affiliates as well as independent real estate agencies that use Frimm technology while retaining their own brand.
Frimm platforms have been using Google Maps services for the past six years. According to Perla, they couldn’t operate without it. In addition to maps, “address geocoding and completion are essential”. Predictive completion in Maps Places API speeds up address searches and prevents typing errors. But it’s not just about locating properties and matching them to searches. Local data underpins the entire cutting-edge user experience. “Frimm does everything to make life easier for customers,” says Perla, pointing to virtual home tours and simplified calendar features. “You can also make appointments directly from the property using the app. No other brand in Italy offers this feature yet.” Plus, Google Maps also simplifies more routine operations, such as registering property and agencies.
Perla stresses just how unique Frimm is: “There are other platforms with comparable B2B solutions, but none use a Multiple Listing Service” – i.e., a digital network for connecting properties with sellers and buyers. With this software, agents can get started even without a real estate portfolio. “So if you connect to the platform, you can now sell 25,000 properties all over Italy, even if you don’t have any listings yourself. That’s what sets us apart.”“All industries are changing – even faster this year with Covid. Since all our processes were already 100% digital, we didn’t have to reinvent our platform. During this period, homes were sold remotely, with everyone using their own devices. Geolocation was still used, especially by end customers.” During lockdown, the group’s web traffic was up 23%, on a network that in one year counted 8 million properties clicked, 132,000 searches and over 10,000 sales in partnership between real estate agencies.
“Predictive completion in Maps Places API speeds up address searches and prevents typing errors.
—Andrea Perla, IT Manager at Frimm
Web Geo Services: the added value of Location Intelligence experts
To optimise Google Maps services, Frimm’s IT is supported by the experts at Web Geo Services. Andrea Perla explains why he chose them. “What really won me over was the added value they offered, with a devoted team available for every need.” Web Geo Services helps Frimm to ensure that Google Maps is properly integrated and to assess the deployment of new tools. They have also helped with system configuration, billing account activation and the launch of new Google Maps Platform projects.
Looking ahead, Andrea Perla describes the next step in real estate transformation as “providing the solution before the customer even asks for it”. Geolocated searches reveal user preferences that can lead to recommendations even without actual requests being submitted. “If a customer is searching in undesirable neighbourhoods, property suggestions at the same price could be provided in alternative areas, without specifying details such as the crime rate.” The goal is to move away from traditional websites and towards apps, which no longer require regular web visits but automatically send notifications of new offers. With this in mind, “every day we’re even more convinced of the importance of Google Maps,” Frimm’s IT manager concludes. “With the rise of apps, geolocation will play an increasingly key role.”