Leveraging digital transformation in the Real Estate Industry

by providing a unique customer experience and driving quality leads

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Dhalia is one of the largest privately owned real estate agency in Malta with over 37 years of experience. The organisation boasts a portfolio of 30,000 available properties, more than 150 experienced real-estate consultants and a track-record of satisfied customers.

One of the characteristics that makes Dhalia as strong as it is today, is its friendly approach to understanding prospect buyers’ needs and swiftly matching them to the property they are looking for. Indeed, Dhalia’s mission statement, ‘we make it easy for you’, is a reflection of their commitment towards their customers.


More leads for less

Just a few months after deployment, Dhalia’s brand new website has driven more profitable leads and has achieved:


Apart from being extremely competitive, the property market has also become increasingly digitised, with many customers turning to digital first, to carry out their search for the right property.  In fact, the “Real Estate in a Digital Age Report” states that “99% of millennials search online for property purchases” and over 50% find their houses on mobile devices.

For this reason, the organisation was seeking a digital transformation that enhanced its customer experience, captured its target audience and met its customers’ needs. Dhalia reached out to ICON to find a digital solution and attend to its two critical business needs:

Ensure consistency across internal processes

Over the years, Dhalia’s digital ecosystem had grown into disparate systems and inconsistent processes due to its vast portfolio of customers, consultants and properties. This led to fragmented data which impacted the company’s efficiency levels and presented several commercial risks. Dhalia wanted to improve and ensure consistency across its internal systems to guarantee first class customer data collection and seamless lead management processes.

Create a seamless user experience and generate quality leads

Dhalia was aware that a one-size-fits-all approach would not help them to target their desired audience and generate leads. The company, therefore, wanted to achieve a state-of-the-art digital presence which eliminated pain points and pre-empted their future needs. Two specific goals which Dhalia wanted to address in this project were:

  • an improved online user-experience to ensure prospective buyers could easily browse properties from the comfort of both mobile or desktop devices.
  • a more effective method to drive quality leads through the website, and reduce the dependency on advertising and related costs.

 Dhalia is made up of professionals who have built a reputation based on trust. Therefore, a very important factor that affected our decision to work with ICON was its consultative approach and their ability to listen to our ideas, concerns and objectives.

My advice to everyone undertaking a digital transformation in the real estate industry would be to find a supplier who listens, rather than pushes for unnecessary solutions.

Alan Grima

CEO at Dhalia


After a number of discovery workshops to understand Dhalia’s requirements and objectives, ICON began to analyse the organisation, its digital presence and more. The result involved a complete overhaul of the website. This started by carrying out customer-journey mapping to understand the customer’s user journey, working through different iterations, prototypes and wire-framing, to eventually build a custom web application which addressed Dhalia’s specific needs.

Beyond the aesthetics, ICON achieved the following improvements:

  • A mobile-first browsing experience: ICON developed a fast and responsive site to suit the needs of today’s tech-empowered consumers.
  • Reduced number of clicks to reach key content: Research shows that the more clicks it takes for a user to find what they’re searching for online, the less likely they are to convert. ICON, therefore, designed the website with a user-friendly and enhanced customer experience.
  • Faster experience to browse and search for properties: ICON knew that creating a seamless customer experience would give the agency an edge over its competitors.
  • Serving personalised content based on the users’ browsing patterns: This involved moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach to target customers with the relevant content at the right time in their property search.
  • Empowering users to compare multiple properties, add them to an inquiry form or share them privately via email or WhatsApp: Purchasing property is a high-commitment task. It involves research, price comparison, house viewing and more. By stepping into the shoes of the user, ICON understood the paint points and challenges typically experienced and designed features on the new site that facilitated property price comparison, property enquiry and the ability to share content with family and friends.
  • Optimised processes to collect leads and drive direct sales: ICON understood that SPEED is a critical success factor within the real-estate industry. For this reason, ICON developed a structured and improved processes, to collect leads from the website and automatically direct them to the respective branches in real-time.

To ensure business continuity, Dhalia wanted a digital solution which was secure, scalable and future-proof, a solution that would facilitate customer growth and be flexible enough to interact with new technologies, comply with new legislation, and easily adapt to changes in customer needs, or business processes. To reach these objectives, ICON integrated the new website with a headless CMS to make it more interoperable, secure and saleable. Unlike a traditional CMS integration, where the front-end is tightly coupled to the back-end system, a headless approach reduces dependency on the particular CMS. This presents the following benefits:

  • Connect multiple front-end outputs (websites, mobile apps and smart devices) to the back-end system via a secure REST API
  • No creative or technical limitations
  • Push content and system updates to multiple front-end outputs, via a single back-end system
  • Higher-performance, security and stability due to the decoupling of the front-end from the backend system, via a REST API
  • Refresh the front-end UI & UX without the need to re-build the back-end systems