Zoopla is the “only credible alternative to Rightmove”, its boss has claimed.
Charlie Bryant, managing director of ZPG’s property division, stressed: “There is absolutely a renewed focus on ensuring that our portal delivers the best solutions for both agents and those looking to rent, sell or buy their home.”
He said that following the £2bn purchase of ZPG by US equity firm Silver Lake, there is a mood of “enhanced energy and focus”.
He went on: “As a private company, we have the benefit of being able to invest and take a long-term view.
“We are using this opportunity to double down on focusing on agents’ requirements and investing heavily in areas such as product, the on-site experience, marketing and sales and account management.
“Our collective aim is to become the number one property destination in the UK and the preferred choice of both agents and consumers.
“This is clearly an exciting journey which has the full support of the Zoopla team.”
There have been significant changes at ZPG in recent weeks.
Founder Alex Chesterman stepped down as CEO at the end of September, while a number of senior personnel have left, and the property and comparison site divisions of the business now each have their own bosses.
However Bryant said that Chesterman – “a great visionary” – will continue to contribute knowledge and ideas both as an investor and a member of the board.
Bryant went on: “Equally, Silver Lake, as the leading world’s growth stage technology investor, brings a huge amount of experience to the business and they are working with us actively to help us deliver a first-class service to our customers and consumers.
“Going forward, the former comparison and property businesses of ZPG will be managed largely separately, but we will continue to achieve synergies between the two wherever it is appropriate and relevant.”
Chesterman grew the company by acquisition and diversification. Will this continue?
Bryant said: “We will always look at new acquisition opportunities but our immediate focus is to deliver even greater value for our customers through our core property listings, software and data businesses.
“We have a really unique set of assets, whether it is our brand reach, consumer traffic, marketing presence, lead volume or software and data businesses, and these place us in a strong position to succeed.
He said that Zoopla has some clear differentiating advantages over both Rightmove and Zoopla, as it offers more than just a listing site.
He said: “Our software is one of the key channels in which we can deliver value to agents and we will continue to evolve and innovate in this space.
“With almost 300 employees within our product and technology teams, we are committed to leading innovation in the sector and ensuring that agents and developers feel supported and have access to a range of digital insights and tools that will help them to sell and let more homes.
“In the new year we’re excited to be launching a series of new features to help agents work smarter, including integration with our print marketing services and the ability to run essential compliance checks easily.”
He also said that PrimeLocation will continue to be developed as a specialist brand.
Asked whether Zoopla would be hiking its prices, he said: “We are committed to offering the best value for money to agents and developers.”
The Hometrack business – which serves 13 out of the top 15 mortgage lenders, and which will be powering the new Property Valuation Reports – currently releases a monthly Cities Index.
Bryant said: “It offers a sub-regional insight into property house price trends that can’t be accessed elsewhere.
“Over the next year, we will look at how we can better harness this insight for our customers.”
And what of the crabs featured in Zoopla’s last TV advertising?
“The crabs are absolutely still around. In fact they’ve been undergoing somewhat of a facelift – watch this space for our new campaign after Christmas.”
Bryant’s overall message is unequivocal: “We are all for healthy competition and delivering real value for money to agents, especially in today’s challenging market.
“Exciting times are ahead for Zoopla.
“Our drive to have the best online consumer experience, to deliver the best quality leads and insights, and to provide industry leading tools that help agents maximise efficiency, we believe, makes us the only credible alternative to Rightmove.”