Broll Property Group is seeing an increased demand from its diverse client base for holistic strategic consulting. This is the message from Broll Group CEO Malcolm Horne as the leading Pan-African professional real-estate services provider enters 2022. “We are seeing a lot of strategic consulting work coming to the fore, which speaks to our core strength of being able to build skilled solutions that are structured and integrated to unlock value along the entire property chain,” says Horne.
Trends likely to impact the market in the New Year are a continuation of the drive to repurpose office space as many companies adopt a hybrid model of allowing their employees to return to the office safely. “We have built up an entire team in this regard that has delivered some amazing results, and it is a space that will continue to present significant opportunities going forward.”
The beginning of 2021 saw Broll announce its new five-year plan and reinvigorated group strategy for growth and innovation, which Horne highlights was developed well before Covid-19 disrupted the economy. “The fact that we had this strategy in place before the pandemic allowed us to really get to grips with it and the team that we had put in place. We have made great strides in aligning both the group and divisional layers of that strategy, and understand what we need to do in order to get to where we want to go in 2022.”
Dealing with the impact of Covid-19 and ensuring long-term viability in terms of the future involves two different strategic outlooks, stresses Horne. “On the one hand, we want to strengthen the core of the group, while on the other we want to be able to leverage off of that in being both innovative and proactive in our service offering.” To this end, Malcolm highlights the launch of Broll Tech in March, which will focus on inhouse PropTech solutions as well as those developed in conjunction with specific partners.
“Technology is a key focus of everything that we do. I am also excited about the energy space, where we are likely to see a lot of innovation in the near future. We are also looking to expand our business further into Africa by adopting a franchise model. In addition, we are bolstering our transaction business in terms of both leasing and sales in the commercial and industrial sectors,” says Horne. Broll is also increasing the footprint of its facilities management business, where it is actively focusing on small business and enterprise development.
“We now obviously have both a macro and a divisional strategy in each area of our business. This means that what we are going to see in 2022 is a continuation of executing that strategy, which again talks to strengthening the core in terms of how we optimise our current service offerings. That is very much still going to be the key focus in continuing the journey we embarked on over a year ago,” says Horne.
“There is a lot to be excited about in 2022, particularly from the viewpoint as a country and as an economy. Hopefully the vaccination rollout continues to accelerate, especially with more companies looking at mandatory policies. There is a lot of credible information in the market at present that will go a long way to demystify Covid-19, which is critical as Omicron becomes the predominant variant, and this will be hugely positive for the property industry in general,” says Horne.
“We are seeing international companies entering the market again, which require certainty of advice and direction, as well as specific knowledge and skills. This represents a major growth opportunity in terms of our risk management capability,” says Horne. Looking back at 2021, he notes that it was a particularly difficult year, especially with the unprecedented unrest in mid-July in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“We have designed our strategy for the long term, which allowed us to deal with the situation proactively. Again, it speaks to strengthening our core in how we cope with such unplanned-for contingencies and ensure that the group is sufficiently flexible and adaptable. We certainly rose to the challenge as a business, but also by forging strong relationships with our clients and our communities,” says Horne.
“Yes, what happened in July last year tested us to an extreme extent, but it was testament to our strategy that we were able to weather the storm, and that really bodes well for us in 2022. I think people do not realise how much pressure both employees and businesses have been under for 20+ months to date. We are not under the illusion that this year will be without its own challenges, but we will ensure that we are refreshed and reinvigorated to be able to meet them head on,” concludes Horne.