It’s conference time again, and we hope to see you at the ALTA ONE show in California. In fact, our own Keith Wellman will be joining an expert panel to discuss one of our favorite topics: using technology to improve staff retention. Yes, we know that this is a season of cost-cutting and, unfortunately, layoffs. But the market won’t be down forever. It will stabilize—and maybe sooner than some think—and concerns about staffing levels will be replaced by recruiting and retaining the best employees.
We’re also looking forward to ALTA ONE this year because we use it as one of our measuring sticks for how the industry is doing. Last year’s show in New Orleans was great, but we were still impacted by the pandemic. Judging by the early attendance indicators and the agenda for the conference at Coronado, we’re moving past those concerns (at least to the extent that they affect conferences).
But what we’re really looking forward to is seeing where the industry’s collective focus is, now that we’ve entered a different type of market. Last year, we wrote that it was exciting to see agents building tech stacks by combining production platforms with specialized technology. We believe that trend has continued, but we’ll be interested to know if title agents and owners will let budget cuts impact their automation process, or if they’re full steam ahead on streamlining their workflows. Most likely, it’s a little bit of both. We’d bet that RON and digital closings—and how close we are to fully adopting them as an industry—will be a hot topic as well.
We’ll also be very interested to hear what title business owners will be doing, in addition to automating, to weather the decline in order volume. In the past, some firms have increased their service offerings, adding such things as commercial or REO services. Obviously, the purchase market will be of primary concern for most title agencies, but there are any number of other areas where settlement services businesses can help their lending and real estate partners.
Finally, we can’t help but be interested in knowing what title agents are doing to compete for business from real estate brokerages and agents, the gatekeepers to a great deal of purchase business. Of course, we like to think that eliminating voicemail or email tag by using the most versatile of digital employees, Alanna, is a good start. But we’re looking forward to hearing about just how title agents are innovating to stand out from the pack in a competitive market.
Hopefully, we’ll see you at the show. Be sure to say hello if you do see us. We’re looking forward to hearing how you’ve been.