Real estate tech trends: Innovation through automation The unprecedented rate at which technology is developing and advancing today will further transform the multifamily industry. Innovation is empowering companies to take efficiency to an entirely new level. If you don’t have a tech strategy in place for your real estate business, now is the time to get started. Today’s executives, employees and customers rely heavily on using smartphones and tablets to complete everyday transactions, as well as stay in touch with the people and businesses that engage and serve them. To empower your staff to work more efficiently from front office to back office, sign new leases and retain residents with convenient online services, you need the right tools at your fingertips.
Marketing automation: target and engage; lease and retain Search engine optimization (SEO) & search engine marketing (SEM) Digital marketing is taking hold of real estate companies because it is agile, it can be measured, it focuses on putting your listings where your best prospects are active and it gets results. With the help of technology and service companies, real estate organizations lacking digital marketing expertise in-house can convert more leases online. Leverage the companies that will help you develop and execute a winning SEO strategy. This should include full-site audits, on- and off-page optimization, strategic feature implementation, and monthly reporting and analytics to let you know where you’re doing well and where you need to improve. For optimized SEM, you need to tailor campaigns based on property needs and occupancy trends. You should target advertising based on demographics, location, timing and mobility.
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And with the right software tools, you can accomplish all of that and see immediate results. Also, using an Internet Listing Service (ILS) with enhanced property listings provides great exposure and delivers measurable results. Online leasing Completing the entire leasing cycle online enables you to see where each prospect is in the process of becoming a resident. With searchable price options and lease terms, self-screening, renters’ insurance fulfillment and utility setup built into an online leasing process, your prospects can speed though the application process while saving your staff time and your business money. Leases can even be signed digitally to complete execution. All you need to do is hand over the keys. Resident services Making it easy for residents to review balances, make payments, and book amenities and concierge services online are a few great ways to ensure that your residents are happy and stay with you. With online concierge services, your residents can authorize guest access, track package deliveries and submit maintenance requests with photos and voice memos. These automated services also save time for your staff. Now you might be wondering, “Do my residents really want these things?” The results of the Tenants Preference Survey presented at the Canadian Apartment Investment Conference in September 2017 revealed some compelling statistics about what today’s renters not only want but expect, including: •
66% visit property websites and read reviews to find a place to live
86% want high-speed Internet (and 34% won’t rent without it)
77% who found their units online are under the age of 40
52% wish to communicate with their property managers via email
31% use community website portals
47% prefer online debit rent payments
Chances are, if you’re not currently offering online conveniences, then you’re not meeting your customers’ expectations.
Process automation: track and analyze; maximize and profit Analytics & customer relationship management (CRM) The smartest strategy for running your back office better is automating tasks and services. This includes a streamlined CRM system so that you can quickly turn leads into leases, improve retention and maximize your marketing return on investment (ROI) with analytics that identify your most successful campaigns and prospect sources. Further, the ability to track prospects and residents through a centralized management portal allows you to enhance customer service through instant responses and automated reminders for re-engaging with residents to make sure they’re happy and apt to renew their leases. Business intelligence Today’s business decisions are driven by real-time data. Business Intelligence tools enable you to instantly view performance data across your operations, from marketing and leasing to operations and revenue. Integrated business intelligence solutions combine your real-time operational and ancillary services data to deliver key performance indicators (KPIs) and analytics that are easy to interpret and actionable. You can pinpoint ROI quickly, for example, to determine if your marketing campaigns are delivering leads and leases. And with just a few clicks you can view key data about your entire portfolio. For companies preparing paper reports and spreadsheets, compiling that information can take days. Today’s business intelligence software delivers the insight that leads to greater efficiency and increased revenue to your executives’ fingertips. Paperless procurement Ditching paper purchase orders and invoices saves significant time and money and creates a
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painless accounts payable process for your staff. For property managers and vendors alike, that’s great news. With automated vendor onboarding and paperless invoice processing and payments, you gain workflows with transparency into the status of every purchase order, invoice and payment. Vendors can upload the required documents and property managers can onboard vendors through the management portal. Once approved, vendors can view all properties and companies on the same platform, with access to purchase orders (POs) and invoices. Property managers can easily process invoices and make payments electronically. No more mailing costs, paper storage, lost invoices or late fees. Bringing it all together To be competitive, you need to ensure the days of working in silos, tethered to your desk and manually processing paper, are behind you. Portfolio-wide integration, where every aspect of your business is harmonized on a single management platform with mobility, is the key to working smarter and more profitably. You’ll reach your prospects and convert leads into leases faster, make your residents happier (and retain them), empower your employees to work untethered and give your executives powerful analytics to make smart decisions that increase your revenue — all while reducing your business costs. It doesn’t get better than that. At the end of the day, by embracing innovation you will set the stage for the future and the new generation of employees who will thrive and push your business forward in this tech-savvy, automated world. Peter Altobelli, Vice President and General Manager, Yardi Canada Ltd.
QUADREAL, Canada’s newest Top Ten landlord, will be presenting a panel on creating its new State-of-the-Art integrated, operations system at this year’s CFAA Rental Housing Conference, which takes place May 14 to 16, 2018, in Vancouver, BC. For more information, please visit www.CFAA-RHC.ca.
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