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BusinessDay
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Digital Landlord adopts AI to drive short let home rentals, bridge housing deficit

With the advancement of technology and its contributions to ease of doing business, a myriad of investments across sectors has taken the charge to leverage technological offerings to advance their businesses. Players in Nigeria’s real estate industry are not left out in the trend (Protech) as Digital Landlord, a real estate group buying and trading for Nigeria’s property market, recently adopted the use of artificial intelligence in driving rentals of its short-let apartments where it witnessed a great increase in the number of requests since it launched.

The Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Keji Giwa disclosed that Digital Landlord has invested heavily in improving the customer experience on all Short let homes digital platforms and thus, is “taking advantage of AI Chatbots to automate responses, creating a virtual agent to take bookings and deal with customer service issues 24-7.”

According to him, the AI will maintain an instant response time and a 100 percent response rate without the need for a human agent except for escalating 2nd line or 3rd line sales or customer service issues.

The technological advancements in the number of internet users in Africa’s largest economy have worked, largely in favour of players in the short-let homes industry, one of which Digital Landlord is a major player.
While internet penetration is currently witnessing a rapid increase with more than 104.4 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2021, an increasing number of 19 million (+22%) between 2020 and 2021, the level of penetration in Nigeria stood at 50percent as of January 2021.

Read Also: Eye on low income earners as affordable housing tackles deficit

With the aid of technology; Giwa said Digital Landlord aim to increase its short-let portfolio to accommodate the 98 percent of extra booking opportunities the company was not able to fulfil in 2020 due to its limited number of properties.
From recording 500 guests out of its 25,200 booking requests due to the limited number of properties a year ago, the CEO said the company has grown its bookings.
With more investment opportunities becoming available for investors in the real estate and short let homes sector, Giwa estimated that investors in his firm through the Digital Landlord scheme received a 17 per cent short let rental net income on all properties. He argued that such investors are set to experience the same in 2021.
“In 2020, all existing Digital Landlord received a 17% short let rental net income on all their properties and are set to experience the same in 2021. Compare this to local rental income rates of around 3%-4% in Nigeria, that’s a whopping 425% – 566% difference in margins,” he said, adding that Digital Landlord can expect to get back their return on investment in just 5.8years compared to 20yrs for local rental income and then experience year on year profit after each consecutive year.
“These market dynamics suggest a less competitive, untapped market gap and therefore more attractive investments in increasing Short let homes short let apartments in Lekki, Victoria Island, Osapa London, Oniru, Ikoyi and Ikate,” he said.

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