On the other side of the camera
Since 2010, the Estate Agency of the Year and the Letting Agency of the Year Awards, in conjunction with The Times & Sunday Times have been a huge event for me. As an agent determined to give top quality customer service and offer a really honest, professional and friendly approach to everybody I encountered, having this recognised on a large platform became something of an obsession of mine.
I first entered these awards in 2010, and walked away with a Regional Gold for my lettings agency – I’d got the bug! From January to June, then from June to December I would have 6 months of preparation, strategy meetings with my staff, submission planning, writing and, usually, a really late night on the deadline week making sure that everything was perfect before it was sent off to Estate Agency Events. I can even reminisce about the years when the submission was in writing, with a huge pack of company materials driven down to The Chapel in Reigate, to ensure its safe delivery.
Over the years from 2010 to the time I sold my business in December 2014, I put together 24 submissions and brought home 39 awards, 17 of them being gold, and once I even came home with a rather large and lovely trophy as my lettings agency Sewell & Gardner won the Overall cup.
Since selling the estate agency business I have been asked to help some of my clients to prepare for the awards, and it is great fun being part of their preparation process, again 6 months of hard work, planning and lots of powerful team meetings to really look at what is working well, what needs improving and what blows the competition out of the water. Last June I screamed and hollered with 3 of my clients winning 5 awards at the Lettings event, it was as good as winning myself, I was ecstatic.
So this last December was a very different event for me. This time my fledgling media company was asked to cover the Social Media for the EAOTY16 event. Oops I missed off the hashtag, let’s do it again #EAOTYA16, there you go! Being on the other side of the camera (so to speak) is like a military operation. The team at Estate Agency Events, Peter, Nicky, Sarah, Jo and all of their helpers have the timings down to a tee. With the added complication this year of not having the usual venue, London Lancaster Hotel, available for the event due to refurbishment, a much bigger, spiralling and untested venue was in play, namely London Hilton Metropole. Not as comforting and cosy as the old place but big enough to contain the largest audience ever, it did the job.
We arrived the night before to have a walk-though and plan where the social media hub would be situated, and then the area to photograph the winners as they were announced and get them captured for posterity. The following morning we were on the floor by 8am ready with our selfie sticks and hashtag reminders – yes we have a different one to use in the morning session #EALIVE16 and this is tweeted through The Property Academy account @PropAcad. All very confusing, but we managed to get the conference stall holders to promote the event, and as the venue filled with delegates, started to get the ‘selfie’ competition underway, with photos being sent to Katie & Antonio in ‘the social hub’ to be shown on the Big Screen and mentioned by hostess Penny Smith.
As the speakers took to the stage we had team members in the audience to send through action shots along with the best quotes from each person, and, of course, capture the gorgeous Martin Kemp as he was interviewed about his interesting life from Spandau Ballet, to The Krays, Eastenders and beyond. Wow for those blue eyes! After lunch the team were ready to grab the gold winners as they had finished their video showcase, make sure all of their social media details were correct and that they had their photo for the gallery with our ‘Winners Frame’. Everyone was in a great mood, it was such a fun event to be a part of and truly cemented by love of this fabulous industry, which celebrates the best of the best and really gives a platform from which to shine.
Well done to all of the winners, in fact to everyone who entered or participated in the Awards, and, of course, to the fabulous hard working team at JP Gardner & Associates.