A panel at NMHC OPTECH 2019 declared keyless access a“ticket to play” for multifamily housing, as tenants grant dog walkers, housecleaners and package delivery servicemen access to their properties. (It’s convenient for them, too.) Keyless access is most useful when individual units don’t lie behind additional access-controlled doors; if the grocery guy can’t get into the elevator, he won’t be able to make it into the apartment itself. (Technology that includes temporary codes or Bluetooth “handshakes” could solve these challenges.)
In 2016, nearly 90 percent of millennials said they’d pay more for a unit outfitted with automatic or remote-controlled devices, but soon almost everyone including Gen X and Y will consider smart-home amenities like USB outlets and programmable thermostats expected features, not premium amenities. Requests from smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home can be even paired with CRM software to automate service requests — or predict when scheduled maintenance is needed, which helps staffers have more meaningful interactions with residents, instead of focusing on low-value tasks.
We’re comfortable with self-service checkouts at grocery stores, and the convenience of keyless entries at multifamily housing developments has inspired the rise of self-guided property tours, in which prospects can examine units unaccompanied, at their leisure. It’s important to remember that “self-guided tour” does not equate to “self-guided sale,” but the benefit of self-guided tours to leasing offices is that it allows them to concentrate staff resources on the important conversion conversations, rather than earlier exploratory shepherding. Some estimates show that conversion rates of self-guided tours are 11 percent higher than those done with leasing agents.
It’s now possible to deliver mass communication on a micro scale, with content that’s customized to users in specific geographic locations. If you’ve noticed that several residents are students at a local university, or care providers at a nearby healthcare center, geotargeting lets you reach online users in that area with unique information about current availability or desirable amenities that will resonate with that demographic.
A recent study revealed that more than 60 percent of clicks on Google were done on links outside the “blue link” organic listings, thanks to the rise of searches on tools like Google Maps. The “knowledge panel” that shows up when users click on a result in Google Maps should be considered a mini-brochure — it links to a Q&A feature, ratings and reviews. Management teams can add their own description and photos to the profile, and even post specials and temporary tags.
In a stagnant-income market, multifamily housing developments can lose great prospects who’d be good residents but can’t afford a high security deposit. Some managers have cut back on incentives like iPads in favor of eliminating security deposits. When done wisely, it saves associates and property management firms time and money, because they’re no longer tasked with managing or issuing refund checks or handling disputes over the amounts.
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