Today begins the NAA Education Conference and Expo in Denver and the 75th anniversary celebration of the National Apartment Association. Hundreds of companies will exhibit in the expo hall. Thousands will listen to the keynote speakers, attend the education seminars, and gather together for the Learning Zone sessions.
As part of this series, on Friday June 20th, at Stage 3, Logware presents “Technology, Resident Retention and NOI”. We sat down with Logware Learning Zone Facilitator Gustavo Ortiz to get a preview of the session and learn about how technology is changing the face of property management today.
PackageLog: Thank you for sitting down with us, Gustavo. When it comes to apartment communities utilizing technology to increase resident retention and NOI (Net Operating Income), what are the achievable goals that leasing and management teams can be looking towards?
Gustavo Ortiz: Today’s apartment residents are more difficult to communicate to than ever before. With the non-stop bombardment of information that we experience today, information that requires any thought is often overlooked. There is just too much information in-bound to read everything. Today’s evolving technology allows us to not only communicate more effectively using the methods preferred by residents; it enables us to create a unique experience that speaks to their lifestyle.
PackageLog: What types of technology are you referring to when you talk about the evolution of these communication tools?
Gustavo Ortiz: In order to communicate and engage today’s resident, you have to utilize the same technology that they are using. Different residents prefer different technologies, so it takes a harmony of multiple methods to reach everyone. For leasing staffs, these should include SMS / text messaging, clubhouse digital displays, personalized e-mails, and – of course – social media.
PackageLog: Would you explain more about why text is so important?
Gustavo Ortiz: Text is the most personal way that you can communicate without a phone call or meeting in person. People only give out their phone number for valuable information. If your message (via text) relates to them personally, you will get to up to a 99% open and read rate. The package notification feature of the PackageLog system is an example of the types of SMS messages that a resident would want to receive.
PackageLog : You also mentioned email. How is this evolving to meet the needs of residents?
Gustavo Ortiz:Email is a challenging method to reach residents today. Just look at how many emails you receive each day. If an email is not personally for you, it is not relevant. However, when an email is personalized and engaging, it can be a strong tool. Surveys, follow-ups, and short communication snippets are most effective. Incentivizing residents to open emails is also a great method to achieve success.
PackageLog: So are you saying that a large part of technology is really about creating a unique customer experience?
Gustavo Ortiz: Technology is not the answer to all of today’s problems. It can only assist in the solutions. You still have to provide a human touch. It is still a social process of “me” talking to “you”. Technology gives you better tools for the discussion and helps you find new, creative ways to communicate.
PackageLog: So you say NOI is improved by communication. Resident feel they are receiving personalized attention and want to continue to live where they enjoy the lifestyle. What are some other ways technology is affecting NOI and ROI?
Gustavo Ortiz: There are a nearly unlimited amount of tools out there for management companies and apartment communities to use. There are even free tools available for those portfolios and assets that are more budget conscious. Social media is often free and a great way to help create a better sense of lifestyle. For leasing there are many tools (both fee and paid) to assist with contract signing. Even property management software is evolving to provide a better return on your investment.
PackageLog: So what does the future hold?
Gustavo Ortiz: The future is really about SAAS and PAAS products and the Cloud. We are evolving to a place where both residents and leasing teams are able to access software and the information they need from any device at any time. The communities that embrace this technology revolution will be the ones that achieve the best return and NOI.
Make sure to attend the Friday Learning Session on Stage 3 “Technology, Resident Retention and NOI” and learn more about these and many other items. Also, you can click here to learn more about PackageLog and how it can help your apartment community with resident retention and NOI.