How to turn adversity into opportunity as we begin the route to recovery

Article by Gemma Coles, Managing Director, Kyero.com

opportunity, diversity, inclusionAt a time when businesses are planning their Covid recovery, many organisations are considering new ways to position and organise their business.

The last year placed much on hold, yet it also presented a unique opportunity to discover and evolve.

I joined Kyero in March 2020, just a couple of weeks before the first lockdown. Kyero is the leading European overseas property platform for multinational buyers. And as for many in travel and tourism, the pandemic was a game changer.

Over the last year we launched a new commercial model which has resulted in a standout year for the business, and helped a record number of people find their dream property in Europe. It has been a time of adversity, but equally there have been opportunities to create strategies, evolve and adapt.

Opportunity in adversity

A year ago we had plans to test a new commercial model, exploring a move to a freemium model. Kyero operates as a marketplace presenting buyers with property listings and making revenue through advertising spend from estate agents.

April 2020 saw us all in lockdown and overnight estate agents across Europe pulled their spend. No one was travelling, property viewings stalled and for many, ad spend felt uncertain. We knew that Kyero’s proposition was based on trust and we wanted to support agents however we could, so we asked them to stay. For free.

This simple decision set us apart, brought agent goodwill and was vital in protecting our property numbers and search positioning. We changed systems, refactored the website and introduced new pricing models, remote viewings and 360 video tours. We then launched our model, with free advertising available and a paid mechanism to boost and feature selected properties.

We found that serious buyers remained serious and the drop-off in the holidaying audience was replaced in part by a new audience: those working from home or on furlough. Over time, many in this new audience have become pandemic savers and digital nomads, dreaming of a lifestyle in sunnier climes and increasingly in a position to make their dreams a reality. We’ve recently seen the three biggest weeks of visitor numbers in Kyero’s history and freemium is here to stay.

We’d have tested freemium without the pandemic but without adversity, the agents may not have recognised its full potential. There certainly wouldn’t have been the mass uptake and we wouldn’t be where we are today.

The power of remote and international teams

Many businesses have been prompted to embrace remote working over the last year. We have been fully remote for 10 years and can say that there is enormous power and possibility in remote and international teams. Our team of 30 can be found in eight countries around the world.

A diverse team helps us to understand and appreciate  the nuances of local culture, allowing the business to navigate local customs and working practices, enabling us to work in new ways in new markets.

We’re fans of all the usual tools for keeping connected. There are plenty of Slack channels, Trello boards, Zoom invites and Google drives. Whilst technically equipped for lockdown, we focused energies on how to give people flexibility for home-schooling and support new challenges, whilst still bringing the team together for that much-needed human connection.

Our all-company meet-ups were traditionally a wonderful excuse to get together at a European destination, but in the last year we’ve done it all remotely, with nutritionists, life goal setting, industry speakers and all team workouts.

What’s unique isn’t so much the tools you use, but how you use them to come together and celebrate each others’ individuality; giving people a voice and also the peace to get work done.

Living the brand

Leadership buy-in to an operational system is fundamental for delivering on a vision. We use the EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System) pioneered by Gino Wickman, and I am a huge advocate. It allows permission to dream, an environment for setting a vision and the structure to tackle it.

It also introduces the operational tools and mechanisms so that each person across the business can play an accountable role in delivering on this. There’s huge satisfaction in seeing what’s possible when we pull together.

Equally, brands come to life through their people. In 2019, the Kyero team held a “find your why” session where everyone was encouraged to explore what working for Kyero meant and what the business represented. Out of this, our brand purpose was born…We help people find their sunshine. For some that’s a home in the sun. For others it’s a place where they feel at home, where they belong. For our team (and our agent partners), it’s the chance to find sunshine in their work, their home and their life.

Our brand values soon followed, with visual brand elements bringing this to life, offering reassurance for buyers at a time that’s exciting and also stressful. Our new logo is a visual representation of the sunshine emerging from behind the clouds, a reminder that Kyero can help to overcome challenges and to help you find your own sunshine.

Gemma ColesAbout the author

Gemma Coles is Managing Director of Kyero.com, the leading online platform for UK buyers looking for European overseas property. Kyero has the largest selection of overseas property of any of the foreign property focused UK property portals and has helped c.40,000 people buy an overseas property in Europe.

 

 


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