Before the tech revolution, the user experience in multifamily was always collaborative. The user—the person searching for an apartment home—would meet with members from the property team, or at the very least connect with them over the phone.
Tech has shown us that many leasing functions, from the home search and application processes to the tour itself, can be done digitally. But in the quest to provide a wide array of expedient digital options, some property teams have drifted too far from the original roots of the renter journey. In some cases, the journey is entirely bereft of human contact.
And while an interaction-free option might appeal to some renters, the best user experience typically occurs with a mix of tech and old-fashioned human contact.
Here are some ways to strike that balance: continue
Now that 2020 has firmly underscored the idea that an agent-led tour isn’t the only option, it’s safe to say that processes surrounding apartment touring will be ever evolving.
A myriad of tour options now exist, and communities across the nation are trying to determine the approach that best attracts renters at their particular locale. Trevor Riley, senior vice president of product for Entrata, discussed the various tour types and morphing renter preferences at the Apartmentalize 2021 session What’s Next in Apartment Touring? continue
Tech receives a lot of credit for helping the apartment industry get through the pandemic. That’s fair, but speaking as a tech provider, we’re going to put ourselves in the honorable mention category. Why? Because onsite teams have been the true MVPs of the past year and a half—and it’s not even close.
For 18 months plus, we’ve observed as onsite teams held communities together through the most difficult period the industry has ever experienced. In what became a contactless environment in an era of social distancing, they put a human face on their communities and bridged the gap for prospects who still had to find a new home during the unconventional madness. continue
A prospect arrives at an apartment community, meets with a leasing agent and sees the property in a predetermined path. In the past, that was the only type of tour. But modern-day prospects want choices when they search for their next potential home — and they now have an ever-increasing amount of options.
Over the past year, the way people tour apartment communities has evolved in various ways, presenting more opportunities to convert more leads to leases. In reaction to the pandemic, many apartment communities began offering virtual and self-guided tours in addition to the traditional agent-led ones. The variety of tour types is almost certainly here to stay, as operators have learned that prospects love options. continue
Imagine if many mundane daily household tasks could simply be automated. Trash cans automatically transferred from the garage to the curb on pickup day. Groceries neatly placed in the fridge on the proper shelves. The backyard efficiently mowed on a weekly basis because you scheduled the lawnmower to do it at a certain time.
Much tedious busywork also surrounds the lead management process. But unlike those household tasks, many lead management procedures can be automated now. continue
The introduction of artificial intelligence to the multifamily industry has been a measured process. Yes, many are using AI in the form of chatbots and for advanced automation. But to a large degree, AI is viewed by the industry for its future capabilities rather than anything that can make an immediate impact.
The apartment sector can make headway on that front by envisioning how AI can augment existing platforms, and then pairing them. continue
Does it feel like your phone is ringing more than usual? Like it’s getting harder to keep up with new calls, much less return every call awaiting a response? You’re not imagining things. In the last six months, Entrata has recorded a year-over-year increase of calls to properties of anywhere from 11% to a whopping 21%. It’s not just people looking for new homes, you’re also getting more resident calls.
Add this increased call volume to the safety measures that have fewer team members in the office, and it’s easy to see why so many communities are feeling overwhelmed and reaching out for a little help. Call Centers are having a moment as they step in to provide a necessary service to properties, residents, and prospective renters alike. But it’s not as simple as making sure calls are picked up. continue
Remote communication has become the new norm, and by now, everyone is used to it. But that doesn’t mean everyone in the industry has perfected the art.
More than ever, effective communication platforms are a must as apartment communities continue to work with smaller onsite teams while striving to maintain service levels. While tech can certainly help to stay connected with residents, a few grassroots concepts are helping teams, as well.
Naturally, email is an effective starting point, as 68% of young renters prefer this communication method. But delving below the surface, here are some key tactics—both of the tech and non-tech variety—that can boost communication efficiency levels: continue
Pricing can be an obscure concept. There is no absolute right or wrong rate, necessarily, but problems can arise if you’re too far off in either direction.
While many variables factor in as to how apartment communities arrive at their rates, 2020 has introduced another in the form of the pandemic. The effects have meant different things to different markets, which adds another dynamic when attempting to accurately price units.
“Even in a tough year, we’re seeing solid results for our Entrata Pricing clients, over 2 percent lease trade-out increase year-to-date,” said Entrata Pricing product manager Matt Schultz. “This is a testament to the value and discipline that pricing software adds for our partners.”
With so many moving parts to consider, relying on guesswork or gut feelings generally fails to serve as a solid strategy. And with pricing as the primary component of NOI, it’s monumentally important to arrive at rates that strike the balance of making sense for the community while not alienating potential renters. continue
It’s 2020, and prospective renters are overwhelmingly searching for their next apartment online. It seems like only a few years ago when apartment marketers began talking about the day when digital marketing would take its rightful place at the heart of multifamily marketing strategy. That day is here.
But as the online apartment marketplace flourishes, it has also grown increasingly complex in both scale and strategy. Gone are the days when a property manager could update a handful of internet listing services with available units and call it good. Today’s digital marketers must master multiple platforms, deliver consistent branding across dozens of websites, and measure absolutely everything in order to adjust marketing spend. Keeping up with constantly changing requirements for Google My Business, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and dozens of ILS sites is no easy task, especially when you’re also working to manage the implications of in-person tours and leasing processes in a world that has made the shift to virtual for nearly every transaction. continue