Thomas Schroeter is one of ImmobilienScout24’s new Managing Directors and Senior Vice President for Product & Marketing. He has a degree in Business Administration and has been working in the digital business for more than 15 years now. We talked to him about the next trends in digitization, the differences between the real estate sector and other industries and how he wants to move ImmobilienScout24 forward. Read the German version of the interview here.
Want to read insights from Michael Bütter, the other new Managing Director of ImmobilienScout24, as well? Read our interview with him here.
1. Thomas, you are a digital native so the internet is your home. But what do you do when you are not online?
Thomas: Family, friends & football! We have a little daughter who just turned two years, so of course my wife and I love spending time with her. We now have a small garden, and our current project is making this our perfect summer spot. Also, I was born in Cologne and therefore I am a huge supporter of my home club – 1. FC Köln. After 25 years, I am looking forward to the next season, playing internationally again!
2. You have more than 15 years of experiences in online and digital industries. How does the real estate sector differ from them?
Thomas: Well, a couple of differences come to my mind. First, the customer landscape is truly diverse – much more than in other sectors. Second, the level of digital savviness varies hugely across the customer base. Also, regulation plays a strong role, with implications for all market participants. At the same time, there are a couple of similarities across all sectors that I have worked in. As an example, a platform is a powerful business in every sector. Oh, and before I forget: I really enjoy working in the real estate sector!
3. What are your plans to move ImmobilienScout24 forward?
Thomas: I want to foster the relationship and partnership with our customers. We want to be their trusted partner in a digitized real estate world. I truly believe in this partnership because I think we are complementary: The agents are active in an offline market and offer services to their clients through personal relationships and advice. We as a platform offer useful online products to enable their work and bring it to scale. We cannot and we do not want to step into their crucial role. Our ambition is to make our customers happy and help them grow their business.
In other words, what drives us is to build the best products for real estate professionals so they can fully focus on their most valuable work – the work with their own clients. As such, we want to involve our customers more closely in our own product development and also communicate the rationale and value of our existing products better.
4. What are the next big things in the online business world and how can ImmobilienScout24 benefit from them?
Thomas: There are certainly a number of interesting hot topics and technologies out there – such as Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, or Blockchain. As you might know, we have started our VR journey with a first step – a 360 degree view of properties. Personally, I believe that we will see speech as the next immediate business topic, also for ImmobilienScout24. By that I mean that the way consumers communicate with our products and services will evolve – from typing to speaking.
5. What kind of (digital) product would you like to invent to make everyday life easier for you?
Thomas: Hah, I did my fair share already! Together with two co-founders, I did build the language portal bab.la – enabling people across the world to actually communicate with each other through translation. On a more serious note: In my mind, there are a couple of fundamental breakthroughs the internet has provided for us – one of the most important is to democratize knowledge. But I don’t have a business idea in mind. If I have, I’ll certainly share it with you.
Want to know more about Thomas? We also did a video interview with him as well. Check it out (in German) here.