Technology will continue to enhance connections and the human experience.
When we began a new decade in 2010, it seemed far-fetched to think that paper processes would largely become archaic by the end of the decade. The term “smart home” hadn’t yet been unearthed, and concepts such as resident portals, chatbots and automation were several years from making an impact.
Yes, tech advancements over the past 10 years far exceeded any previous decade for the multifamily industry, which previously had a reputation for being behind the times technologically. At the fervent pace of innovation, it’s fair to project that the 2020s could exceed the current meteoric rate of progress.
In the multifamily sector, technology has the exceptional opportunity to foster connections and enhance the human experience rather than veer away from it. Innovations that connect communities, residents and families generally have the greatest staying power. Technology that emphasizes the human connection—by helping people feel heard and empowering them to better connect with each other and organizations—stands out above the rest.
With 2020 upon us, here’s a look at some of the tech concepts we believe will continue to gain traction as the decade begins anew:
Customer journeys: Over the past few years, the industry has made a pronounced effort to understand the renter journey. Innovations such as multi-touch attribution allow onsite teams to track every source a prospect interacts with en route to a lease and assigns weighted credit to each touch point. This information is invaluable, as it helps teams determine which resources are most effective in attracting renters.
The quest to understand the renter journey will further ramp up in the 2020s, starting with an increased number of chatbot-enabled community pages. When a prospect lands on a webpage, they’ll be asked what they are there for—vacation rental, housing, student housing, etc.—to help improve their experience on the website.
Self-guided tours: This has been one of the industry’s hottest topics at the tail end of the decade and will only continue to gain traction. Rather than a concept to replace leasing agents, self-guided tours serve as an extension to leasing teams by allowing prospects to see the community at their convenience. It provides the potential for an increased number of tours, and subsequently, conversions. In the new decade, Entrata will make self-guided touring a development focus moving forward.
Real-time information for brokers: Brokers will now have access to real-time availability at rental communities. In the past, privacy concerns have surrounded this practice, but new tech platforms will allow brokers to access availability options while allowing communities to mask private resident info. As part of that quest, Entrata is currently beta testing an AgentAccess portal that will enable brokers and locators to manage applicants with tracking and reporting features to accurately assign credit for conversions.
Advanced data analytics: One of the practical uses for AI is to provide visibility into valuable leasing metrics that can ultimately lead to better decision-making. Call it a sophisticated way to crunch data and transform it into useful information. AI will continue to improve leasing intelligence dashboards and allow them to develop stronger insights that ultimately can assist communities in previously unforeseen ways.
Technology will only continue to ascend, and it would certainly be interesting to peek into a crystal ball to the end of 2029 and take a look at what the top multifamily tech advancements of the 2020s will prove to be. Odds are, those innovations that help enhance the human connection will be atop the list.