There are complaints that agents who achieve a listing in the forthcoming Best Estate Agent Guide 2018 are not being clearly told that in order to promote their attainment they have to pay a licence fee of £1,200 plus VAT per branch per annum.
The Guide, to be launched at the EA Masters event in September, replaces the Times and Sunday Times Estate Agent and Letting Agent of the Year awards which were held until last year.
Peter Knight, founder of the Property Academy which is behind the new Guide, has linked with Rightmove to get the new initiative off the ground.
Yesterday, he totally rejected claims that agents are not being aware of the costs of the licence to acquire marketing materials.
He said: “From launch, we’ve been very clear and upfront.
“There’s no cost to enter and there’s no charge to appear in the Best Estate Agent Guide. Only if an agent wishes to enhance their listing and have the ability to promote their achievement will they first need to purchase a licence agreement.
“Tickets to attend the EA Masters are £299+VAT which is also very clear on the website. Whether an agent attends or not has no influence on their being in the Best Estate Agent Guide – indeed, the process of identifying which branches were to be included was finished before the tickets went on sale.”
He said the EA Masters event includes nine world-class speakers, and that “there has never been an event like it in this country”.
There will also be an ‘innovation hall’ with 40 exhibitors, while the ticket price includes a hot buffet lunch, refreshments, a drinks reception, and the celebration dinner complete with wines and entertainment.
Knight also pointed specifically highlighted the cost of the licences back in March. It is intended to feature the top 20% top-performing branches in the country, and allow them to stand out from their competitors.
The new Guide will be promoted by both the Property Academy and Rightmove, while the rules state: “In addition, agents can choose to market their attainment by displaying a distinctive winners’ mark.”
Knight said that the optional £1,200 licence fee comes with a significant marketing package, including advertising templates; designs for brochures, stationery, etc; templates for direct marketing; a broadcast quality video promoting the agent’s achievement; a social media campaign with links to the agent’s profile pages; a SEO campaign promoting agents; and a training programme to help winning agents promote their success.
But agents who are receiving invitations to the new event and who are being congratulated on making it into the Guide, are apparently unclear that they have to pay for marketing materials to use in the branch, on boards, on websites including their own and Rightmove, and on social media channels.
One agent said yesterday that a competitor with whom they are friendly had had a letter from the EA Masters, but was unaware of the “large” and “looming” cost.
The agent claimed that the Property Academy had not mentioned the cost in letters sent to agents, or on the online payment page for buying tickets to the event.
The agent, who described the licence cost as “exorbitant”, said: “Even more concerning they say ‘The best agents will also be able to promote their EA Masters status and attract more valuation requests’ but conveniently forget to mention the cost.”
The agent said this was “misleading” and that agents could buy tickets to the event unaware of the cost of licences.
The F&Q section is here: http://www.eamasters.co.uk/faqs/
Does it cost me to be in the Best Estate Agent Guide 2018?
A: A basic listing in the Best Estate Agent Guide is free of charge. There will be opportunities to enhance your listing, should you choose to boost your presence in the guide.
Q: Why is a listing in the Best Estate Agent Guide important to me?
A: The Best Estate Agent Guide provides a way for agents who have performed in the top 20% of branches in the country to stand out from their competitors. The guide will be promoted by Property Academy and Rightmove (including on rightmove.co.uk and to home moving audiences registered with Rightmove). In addition, agents can choose to market their attainment by displaying a distinctive winners’ mark.
Q: Can I promote my attainment in my own marketing?
A: Yes, following the official celebration event, the EA Masters on 22nd September, winning agents can choose to promote their attainment within their own marketing materials (e.g. in branch, on boards, on their own website, on social media channels, on third party websites – such as Rightmove and printed materials). This is subject to paying a licence fee to the Property Academy. Using the winners’ mark, the Best Estate Agent Guide logo or referring to being listed in the Best Estate Agent Guide without paying the licence fee is strictly prohibited.
Q: How can I purchase a licence and how much does it cost?
A: The licence fee costs from just £1,200 +VAT per branch per annum and runs from September 25th, 2017, to September 21st, 2018.
Q: How can I purchase a licence?
A: Licences will be available to purchase from September 25th 2017 from the Property Academy at propertyacademy.co.uk. To find out if one or more of your branches will appear in the best estate agent guide and to receive a notification when licences become available, fill in the form.
How EYE covered the launch in March: