The Rise of WhatsApp in Dubai's Real Estate Market: A Sudonum Perspective

The Rise of WhatsApp in Dubai's Real Estate Market: A Sudonum Perspective

WhatsApp has become the dominant lead channel for real estate in Dubai, with 60-80% of property seekers initiating their first enquiry to an agent through WhatsApp. 

In this interview with Hatch Communication, we discuss the impact of WhatsApp on the real estate industry in Dubai and other global markets. 

You recently had a trip to Dubai, what was the purpose of the trip?

In the digital age, building relationships online has become the norm. However, we value human connection and recently visited Dubai to meet with our clients in person and gain a better understanding of their needs. We wanted to experience the real estate industry in Dubai first-hand to walk in our clients' shoes

Did you observe any significant trends in real estate property leads during your trip to Dubai, particularly related to the use of WhatsApp in the real estate market?

Dubai's real estate sector is on fire. Beyond skyrocketing sales volumes and transaction values, this was evident in the unbridled optimism among industry professionals and the beautiful, rapidly growing brokerage office spaces we visited. In such a hot market, every lead is incredibly valuable, and missing out on a potential property seeker can mean losing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in revenue. WhatsApp has emerged as the dominant lead channel, with every aspect of real estate in Dubai happening on the platform.

How do Dubai's real estate lead trends, driven by WhatsApp, compare to other markets like South Africa, Mexico, and Turkey.

Compared to the markets we operate in, such as South Africa, Mexico, and Turkey, Dubai's real estate sector is one of the most advanced in terms of tech adoption. The use of a CRM is at the core of every brokerage's operations, and getting WhatsApp inquiries into the CRM is absolutely crucial. The prominence of WhatsApp is partly due to the diverse mix of people in Dubai, where WhatsApp is an easier communication tool to overcome language barriers. However, we believe that other markets are following Dubai's path in terms of tech and WhatsApp adoption, but are 1-3 years behind.

How significant is the role of WhatsApp leads in real estate transactions in Dubai, and what implications does this have for other global markets

In Dubai, around 60-80% of property seekers initiate their first enquiry to an agent through WhatsApp. This is largely due to the fact that major portals, which generate the vast majority of secondary market leads, offer WhatsApp as a primary call to action. As other markets adopt similar strategies, we believe that the percentage of real estate enquiries coming in on WhatsApp leads will increase rapidly.

How has WhatsApp usage for real estate leads in Dubai changed in the past year, and what has impacted this growth the most?

Sudonum:WhatsApp usage for real estate leads in Dubai doesn’t have much room to grow given that it is already the dominant lead channel. One of our clients told us that a couple of years ago, WhatsApp enquiries suddenly became huge, almost overnight. This was due to the portals turning on WhatsApp as a contact option on listings, which had a significant impact on the growth of WhatsApp usage in the industry.

How does Sudonum see WhatsApp as a lead channel for real estate in Dubai compared to other channels, and what are the key benefits? What can other global real estate markets learn from this?

WhatsApp has become the dominant lead channel in the Dubai real estate market for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it offers a sense of immediacy that email cannot match, which is crucial in a fast-paced market where leads are incredibly valuable. Secondly, WhatsApp is less invasive than a phone call, making it more comfortable for potential clients to make enquiries. Additionally, the feature-rich platform allows agents to share documents, videos, locations, and other information quickly and easily. Finally, WhatsApp is particularly useful in a cosmopolitan city like Dubai, where not everyone has a local phone number. Having said that, in a lot of other markets that we work in, real estate agents end up talking to clients on WhatsApp so its use is widespread in places like South Africa and Mexico. The difference is that not as many inquiries start on WhatsApp as in Dubai. That is likely to change so real estate agents in other markets would do well to look at how things work in Dubai.  

How do Dubai real estate agencies overcome challenges when using WhatsApp for inbound leads, and are the emerging solutions to address these challenges?

Managing WhatsApp leads can be challenging for real estate agencies in Dubai. One of the major issues is the difficulty in keeping track of leads that go straight to agents' phones, leading to limited visibility for management. Another issue is the high volume of leads that agents receive on WhatsApp, making it difficult to track which leads have and haven't been responded to. Furthermore, many leads and enquiries do not end up in the agency's CRM, which limits remarketing opportunities. To address these challenges, lead management tools like Sudonum's system are being increasingly deployed in the industry.

How has the real estate industry in Dubai been impacted by WhatsApp lead tracking tools, and what is their impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of real estate sales teams?

Sudonum: WhatsApp lead tracking tools have had a significant impact on the real estate industry in Dubai by increasing efficiency and effectiveness of sales teams. As the value of each lead is high and WhatsApp is widely used, lead tracking is considered a critical tool by many real estate agencies. Sudonum's lead tracking tool has helped clients see a rapid improvement in agent response rates and ensure that every lead is responded to. By keeping leads in the CRM, remarketing opportunities have increased, resulting in a boost in revenue for these clients

How do real estate agencies in Dubai measure the effectiveness of WhatsApp leads and how has Sudonum's WhatsApp lead management tool improved this process

Real estate agencies in Dubai measure the effectiveness of WhatsApp leads by tracking key metrics such as:

  • the number of leads generated,
  • the number of leads from each source, 
  • agent response rates, agent response times, 
  • and the status of each lead. 

Sudonum's WhatsApp lead management tool has been instrumental in helping real estate agencies in Dubai measure these metrics. With Sudonum's tools, agencies can easily gain visibility on all of these metrics for all WhatsApp leads, presented in a single report that is easy to consume. This tool has been highly valued by agency bosses, with some keeping the report tab open on their browser at all times to keep a constant eye on WhatsApp leads.