Managers and owners share some of the ways they have adapted over the past year.
“Taken as a whole, the multifamily industry isn’t exactly known for moving with lightning-fast speed to implement new technology and processes. But in 2020, operators across the country had to do just that.
With on-site leasing severely curtailed and social distancing protocols in place because of the pandemic, apartment managers had to turn on a dime and find new ways to serve prospects and residents. Self-guided and video tours are some of the more high-profile and well-known adaptations, but they are far from the only examples of multifamily innovation and ingenuity the industry saw this past year.
Creative operators engaged artificial intelligence (AI) leasing agents, cutting-edge resident referral platforms, and more intensive lead management, to name just a few of the innovations. They also emphasized thorough and frequent communication to associates and residents.
When Mill Creek Residential couldn’t offer in-person tours because of the pandemic, the apartment company saw the number of leads who initially reached out online or by phone jump dramatically—by up to 50%, says Stephen Prochnow, senior vice president of property management for Mill Creek.
As a result, the company intensified its emphasis on “providing prompt and thoughtful responses to customers,” Prochnow says.
To ensure those responses take place, Mill Creek created a robust database using a variety of sources to track the response time to each lead. The database also tracked which kinds of tours a prospective resident took (the company expanded its use of in-person, self-guided, and live video tours).
“We expanded our lead reporting to track which of those tour types were most effective and led to closing,” Prochnow says. “It was a focus on analytics and KPIs around the lead management and reporting process.””