Many of us find ourselves in the final throws of 2011 planning; finalizing budgets, setting goals and objectives and trying to get a peek into real estate’s crystal ball. I heard a lot of talk at the NAR meetings in 2010 about new models, non-dues revenue and finding a way to continue running MLS and association operations efficiently, while providing the same or a higher level of service, without a large dues increase to the subscribers. Last week Rob Hahn wrote an interesting post about the future number of potential agents and the correlation to a decrease in housing prices. It’s important data to understand given that the MLS revenue model is based largely upon the number of agents who join as subscribers.
As we close out the year, I have been doing some market research of my own. Interviewing MLS and Association Executives on what they saw in 2010 versus what they expected (and planned for). Universally, all organizations had planned for a significant decrease in membership and prepared for it by either increasing dues, decreasing expenses or making a strategic decision to tap into reserves. All of these same organizations experienced better than expected revenue results and were “pleasantly surprised” by the results of 2010. Many still lost subscribers, just not as many as they planned to lose. Many more actually grew their subscriber base. Those same MLS executives are once again busy planning for the “worst” but hoping for the “best”. The innovative are looking at their models from every direction and beginning to question if there are new opportunities. Some are finally doing what they say they “should have done all along” – charging every user of the system versus just agents and brokers.
With six years of data compiled on how the primary MLS service (the MLS system) is consumed, Clareity Security has helped many of our customers to better understand where the demand for their service lies. In many cases, the highest demand is with user classes that have little or no revenue associated with them. We have helped more than a few of our customers develop policies that create accountability for use of the MLS system, thus generating value for the subscribers and additional income for the MLS over all.
In 2011 we look forward to helping even more of our customers understand their service consumption and demand so they can better understand both revenue and cost savings opportunities. What tools will you use in 2011 to better understand your subscribers and customers?
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