Nigeria: Digital Landlord Adopts AI in Short-Let Home Rentals

13 April 2021

With the emergence of technological and its contributions to ease of doing business, a myriad of investments across sectors have taken the charge to leverage technological offerings to advance their businesses. Nigeria ranks very high among the list of nations where entrepreneurs and established businesses are powering their trade with the use of technology.

While internet penetration is currently witnessing rapid increase with more than 104.4 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2021, an increase number of 19 million (+22%) between 2020 and 2021, the level of penetration in Nigeria stood at 50.0% as of January 2021. This currently availa industry players needed boost to tap into the opportunities to provide services for varying end users.

The technological advancements and improvement in number of internet users has greatly worked in favour of players in the short-let homes industry, one of which Digital Landlord is a major player. The firm recently adopted the use of artificial intelligence to drive rentals of its short-let apartments where it witnessed a great increase in the number of requests since it launched.

Commenting on the move, the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Mr. Keji Giwa disclosed that his firm investied heavily in improving the customer experience on all Shortlethomes digital platforms "taking advantage of AI Chatbots to automate responses, creating a virtual agent to take bookings and deal with customer service issues 24-7."

According to him; "This will maintain an instant response time and a 100% response rate without the need for a human agent except for escalating 2nd line or 3rd line sales or customer service issues while at the same time making room for a personalised and fully customised native IOS and Android app by year end 2022."

He noted further that with the aid of technology; "We aim to increase our short-let portfolio to accommodate the 98 per cent of extra booking opportunities the company was not able to fulfill in 2020 due to its limited number of properties. In that short space of time, the company has taken bookings from just 500 guests out of it's 25,200 booking requests in a year due to a limited number of properties, accounting for only 1.98 per cent of total booking enquiries in a year."

With more investment opportunities becoming available for investors in the real estate and short let homes sector, Keji Giwa has predicted stated that in 2020, investors in his firm through Digital Landlords scheme received a 17 per cent short let rental net income on all properties. He argued that such investors are set to experience the same in 2021.

"In 2020, all existing Digital Landlords received a 17% short let rental net income on all their properties and are set to experience the same in 2021. Compare this to local rental income rates of around 3%-4% in Nigeria, that's a whopping 425% - 566% difference in margins. Digital Landlords can expect to get back their return on investment in just 5.8years compared to 20yrs for local rental income and then experience year on year profit after each consecutive year.

"These market dynamics suggest a less competitive, untapped market gap and therefore more attractive investments in increasing Shortlethomes short let apartments in Lekki, Victoria Island, Osapa London, Oniru, Ikoyi and Ikate. The brand aims to increase its short-let portfolio to accommodate the 98% of extra booking opportunities the company was not able to fulfil in 2020 due to its limited number of properties."

For Keji Giwa, acquiring 100 more short let apartments in Lagos, especially around the Lekki Phase 1 and Victoria Island / Ikoyi axis, not leaving out potential opportunities in Abuja, should help meet the ever increasing demands for our homes, giving Digital Landlords investors a healthy return on their investments for the next five years.

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