Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Crisis Management Strategies on Real Estate Agencies
This study aims to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis management strategies of the real estate agencies in Thailand. The pandemic and consequent lockdown by the Thai government severely hampered the real estate sector, which is heavily dependent on foreign buying and rental demands. The study took a qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews of 20 managers or owners. The concepts of crisis management strategy were used to separate the COVID-19 crisis into three stages: pre-crisis, ongoing-crisis, and post-crisis to study the different strategies that conform to the unique criteria in each stage. The research findings depict the strategies employed in each stage: offensive, challenge, passive, termination, and internal process change strategies. Applying/properly balancing these strategies during each crisis stage are critical and must be carefully considered. In addition, agencies are shown the importance of being prepared and planning for uncertainties under the pre-crisis stage. Therefore, well-prepared firms with a proper strategy are less affected by any crisis than those not well-prepared. Under the ongoing- crisis stage, it is about prompt responsiveness and timely implementation of the strategies prepared during the pre-crisis stage with some alterations in immediate reaction to the real-time situations. An internal process change strategy should mainly apply before other strategies to yield immediate/ effective results. Meanwhile, under the post-crisis stage, even though it is almost impossible to prevent the cause of the crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic directly, preparation readiness in the pre-crisis stage, which learned from the previous post-crisis stage is, directly affects the possibility to survive or to thrive of the companies. An evaluation of what strategies worked and what did not during the ongoing crisis must be encrypted, learned from, circulated, and prepared for the next crisis.