Frank Salt Real Estate’s much awaited Annual General Meeting took place earlier this week, but in an all new format, which allowed for all participants and stake holders to participate whilst respecting the current social distancing measures that the pandemic has brought about.
Held virtually via Zoom, the annual conference brought together just under 200 company employees, managers and directors who joined from their respective offices and homes, all eagerly awaiting to find out how the company performed in 2020 and who took home the much-coveted top achievers’ awards.
The event kicked off with company director Darren De Domenico thanking all the team for their hard work and dedication during a very difficult year. “It was a year when the well-being of our staff was of utmost priority; stakeholders digged into their reserves to be able to retain everybody’s jobs and retain full hours as much as possible. This could only be done as a result of the wise and cautious decisions taken by Frank Salt Real Estate’s directors over the years.” Stated DeDomenico. “Not only did we survive, but thanks to everyone’s commitment and perseverance, ongoing investment in new technologies, and a number of government incentives introduced in the second half of the year, 2020 turned out to be much more successful than expected.,” he stated.
A detailed presentation regarding the company’s performance followed by objectives for the year was presented. “Despite recording a drop in sales in the second quarter of 2020, due to the many constraints and challenges faced by the pandemic, we still managed to reach expected revenue by year-end. This was achieved through a strong focus on increasing our market share, particularly through Sole Agencies which constituted 33% to 35% of our sales” announced DeDomenico. “With more people spending time at home, a need for some kind of outdoor space arose, and this saw an increase in demand for small houses and villas.” Government incentives for first-time buyers and second times buyers, as well as the company’s marketing efforts to attract these buyers also resulted in renewed interest and an increase in sales.
“As for the Letting Division, this was not an easy year, with the closure of the airports and a considerable number of expats returning to their birth homes, but we are proud to say that we still managed to come very close to our projected revenue” Darren continued. He also acknowledged that commercial property is a very important segment and that there is a big market out there. “2020 was one of the best years since 2015 thanks to the substantial sales we concluded on commercial property”. Darren went on to thank everyone within the company for the hard work they put in throughout 2020 to maintain service levels towards all of our clients across all divisions of the company.
A highly motivational speech by company director Grahame Salt ensued. “We have to learn to adapt to new challenges and turn these into opportunities. Stress levels last year were all over the place, but together as a team, we pulled through. We need to keep looking forward and once travel open up again, it will definitely result in a boost to our business. We can’t just wait for that to happen, but we have to prepare ourselves from now”.
Grahame continued to highlight the marketing efforts undertaken by the company last year. “Due to COVID-19 we could not even enter people’s homes so the concept of virtual tours was introduced. We also had to think outside the box and come up with innovative promotions for all business divisions including letting, Gozo property, as well as launch new sole agency packages and packages for first and second-time buyers.”
Grahame also stressed the importance of focusing on the brand; “The brand is us as a team and we should be proud of it. We are all Frank Salt Real Estate ambassadors. Our brand represents integrity, honesty and the best possible customer experience.”
The company continued enhancing its already strong presence on social media platforms and also recorded an increase in website traffic. Albeit a considerable decline in foreign interest in buying or renting a property in Malta, page views increasing by over 50%.
Towards the end of the evening, Frank Salt Real Estate also launched a new internal campaign promoting the physical and mental well-being of its team members. “The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone’s general health, so we want to encourage our staff to move and put energy towards their personal wellness goals; to promote teamwork and a stronger sense of collectiveness, but most importantly, to have fun together, whilst being more active and healthy,” concluded Darren.
The AGM concluded with the yearly presentation of awards to the highest achievers in sales and letting, as well as to other members of staff who deserved recognition. Amongst other winners, the Mellieha Branch was awarded as the Best Branch For 2020, Ritan Grima from the Balzan Branch took home the Best Sales Consultant Award, whilst the Best Letting Consultant Award was bestowed to James Paris from the Sliema Letting Branch.