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Training Trivia

Incorporating social media into your marketing and resident retention efforts is good practice for all student communities.

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Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
I attended a great session during the National Apartment Association Education Conference and Exposition called " Sustained Longevity: Reaping the Greatest Year-Over-Year Revenue Management ROI", and I picked up a few notes that I thought you all might enjoy on the topic of amenity pricing within revenue management.  Bryan Pierce of Holland Residential suggested you identify everything that could be an amenity, and then rather guessing at what value it might have, instead look at the data on how it actually rents.  Does it rent quickly?  That could indicate that the amenity has value.  Conversely, if it rents more slowly, it could indicate the reverse is true.  So rather than trying to guess at the values for your amenities, or determining if they have any value from a price increase point of view, simply look at the data and it will identify opportunities for rent growth. Kevin Huss of Harbor Group also shared that amenity pricing could change over the year.  For example, the pool view balcony may be a great selling point in the summer, but may suffer during the cold winter months.  Obviously, year long leases would ensure that the balcony has value in the summer, too, but the prospect may not always give it that type of value when it is snowing outside.   During the conference overall, there was much conversation about managing lease-end dates.  By looking at amenities in a seasonal point of view, this might also show a potential for pushing for lease end dates...

Posted by on in Property Management

So…I kind of fell off the grid the past month.  Episode 37 came out with great intentions to rock out multiple episodes the following week and so on.  Next thing you know, it’s a month later and I haven’t put anything together.  So here’s Episode 37 and 38 for your enjoyment.  As always, thanks for watching and subscribing.  Much appreciated. Episode 37 – Email, ResMan, and a Little Bit of Nothing Happening Episode 38 – The Attention Graph (Shout Outs to Jonathan Saar and Gary Vaynerchuk) ...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
  Question: “If you could live forever, would you, and why?” Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever; because if we were supposed to love forever, then we could live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”  -A 1994 Miss USA Pageant Contestant    Isn’t it funny that in this age of being able to communicate to someone halfway around the world that we still find it hard to communicate effectively with the people who are halfway around the office?    The multifamily industry is a people-driven business isn’t it? I mean, even if you wanted to get away from the people, you couldn’t . . . because they will find you!    In our people-driven work environments, how many times have you heard a co-worker sound like the Miss USA contestant above? How many times have you sounded like the Miss USA contestant? I know I have ... many times!    The truth is, communicating is easy. Communicating effectively is not. In other words, you can say anything you want and feel like you’re “communicating” right? But are the people you’re communicating to really understanding what you are trying to say?    When the answer is “no,” my experience has shown that it is often directly tied to the fact that we are all different, so we speak many different communication “languages" and we expect everyone else to understand and speak our own language.    Let me give...

Posted by on in Multifamily Training and Career Development
b2ap3_thumbnail_be-nice-to-everyone.jpg From the time I was old enough to listen, my grandpa imparted the following sage wisdom to me: “Be nice to everyone. You never know what side of the desk they’ll be sitting on.” This lesson in both relationships and humility has stayed with me my entire life. And, as I am wrapping up my twenty-second year in multifamily housing, I am struck by the truth within that statement. I have always tried to be nice to people, that’s my personality, but I realize the importance of this quality in business now more than ever. People help people they like, that is a fact. I recently left a career at a company where I planned to retire. As I performed a postmortem on my time there, I discovered the limit of my career at the company had been reached, largely because my boss did not invest in me. A critical piece to career advancement within the organization was missing. There are several lessons to be learned from my autopsy, and I will share them with you in hopes you are able to avoid some of my mistakes. Manage your reputation and your personal brand. There is so much talk about managing our online reputation and delivering exceptional customer service to our residents, but how are we perceived by our co-workers? Are we giving good customer service to them? Are we willing to go the extra mile?  Do we say YES to opportunity? Do we have a good attitude or are we...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
Let me start with a disclaimer..I really, really don’t like malls. I love shopping for sure and I do my part to keep the economy afloat but mall shopping for me is the worst and normally I shudder at the thought. Well with that being said, I stepped way outside my comfort zone this weekend and strolled through my local mall looking for a gift  and not only came away with an awesome outfit, but a great sales story to tell.   Ahh the joy of strolling around the busiest place on earth on a beautiful Saturday. I do have to admit, the air conditioning felt great considering the hazy, hot and humid weather we’ve been having. After stopping at Starbucks for some shopping jet power, I found myself being magnetically drawn into BGBG.  I was genuinely greeted with a warm welcome and offered assistance which at the time I had no need, but kept my options open of course. After doing a once or maybe twice around trying not to look too enthusiastic at any one item, a maxi dress did catch my eye. It was beautiful. Great flowy fabric, clean lines, classic yet on the edgy side. Not that I need another maxi dress, and had already begun talking myself into all the reasons to avoid this frivolous purchase. Of course I was spotted admiring this dress and the salesperson who seemed to appear from nowhere says, “Do you like that?” I said “Yes, it’s all right but the...

Posted by on in Apartment Marketing
In my role as Senior Counsel with For Rent Media Solutions™ I actually have more job responsibilities than my (favorite!) role as “Fair Housing Lady”.  Office leases, intellectual property matters, non-disclosure agreements, content licenses, Facebook contests, and other matters regularly constitute my “desk job”.  And that requires me to do reading and research to keep up with what is going on in all of those various areas.   Today I was reading an article about the Washington Redskins having their team’s trademark registrations cancelled by a federal judge because of concerns that such references to “Redskins” is an offense to Native Americans.  There will now be an appeal which will address possible Constitutional issues, PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) issues and the like.   So why am I posting about this?  Because some of the comments made by attorneys “in the know” about this matter may be something our industry should think about.   Howard S. Hogan, who is an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher said this:  “The recent confluence of public controversies over the Confederate flag and the Washington Redskins trademark make it clear that companies should be concerned about the continuing viability of logos or other marks that have the potential to offend a ‘substantial composite’ of discrete communities.”  He went on to say that “As a business matter…any company that employs trademarks based on terms or images that have a perceived historic connection to discrimination would be wise to evaluate their branding strategy and make sure that...

Posted by on in Resident Retention
My last blog dug into some great information shared by Francis Chow of Ellis Partners at the 2015 National Apartment Association Education Conference and Exposition, where it took a look into the idea of analyzing resident touch points, how that impacted the resident experience, and what even constituted a "touch point".  Today, I want to go beyond simple monitoring resident activities to discuss the possibility of altering our operations based upon that data. So what does that even mean?  Let's say that you have a beautiful gym, and when your leasing consultants showcase it, the prospects begin actively imagining themselves using the gym to finally get in shape.  They tell themselves how easy it is going to be to simply walk from their apartment to the gym before or after work.  The problem, however, is that selling a "dream" can mean that sometimes it remains a dream.  What happens when, after 6 months, the resident has not used that gym once?  While the gym had a huge amount of value during the dream phase, it starts rapidly losing value when it comes to the renewal phase.  The value of potentially going to the gym to get in shape simply isn't there, because they know they won't do it.  The problem in our industry, however, is that we often don't acknowledge this problem.  We know our amenities impact move-ins, but we don't know if they impact renewals.  We simply don't have data on usage trends in aggregate or for a specific resident, so...

Posted by on in Property Management
It’s the beginning of budget season, which likely means you’re considering how to spend your dollars for optimal impact during the 2016 year. For most residential property managers, this involves putting one critical endeavor above all else: filling your occupancy. Unfortunately, there are pitfalls as well as opportunities for progress when it comes to this task. One particularly ineffective technique which tops the list? Heavy-handed, inauthentic, gimmicky “sales” pitches which not only fail to engage prospective residents, but also risk alienating your current residents.  Let’s take a closer look. Enough with the CostumesMy newly graduated sister and I were out apartment shopping the other day, and drove past a person in a faded red parrot costume standing outside of an apartment community. This person wearing the suit was waving and holding a sign imploring passersby to, “Look Here!” While a human in a giant bird suit may appeal to toddlers on a television show, it did little for me or my sister. In fact, this bird-brained marketing attempt had what I can only assume was the opposite effect than intended. Why? Because these five things, and only these five things, immediately came to my mind. 1. “Wow, it’s 90 degrees out today. I hope that person doesn’t suffer a heat stroke.” 2. “I wonder when was the last time they washed that thing?” 3. “Do not make eye contact. Do not make eye contact. Do not make eye contact.” 4. “I really hope that’s not a property manager with nothing better to...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Social media is a powerful force. Most of the time that's a good thing. For some of you, it's the lifeblood of your brand's voice. But sometimes, social media can turn against you and in one trending hashtag, your brand is destroyed. Here are 5 such examples and how to avoid them.   5. J.P. Morgan AMA (Ask Me Anything) J.P. Morgan, the firm that helped underwrite Twitter’s IPO, decided to do an AMA with the hashtag #ASKJPM. For those that do not know what an AMA is, think interview but with the entire internet. The problem was, J.P. has been accused of everything from embezzling money for the Mexican drug cartels to involvement in the highly publicized Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Obviously, regardless of guilt or innocence, these were not topics that could be discussed over a Twitter hashtag. When thousands of tweets came in asking about scandals the company couldn’t answer, J.P. Morgan was forced to cancel the AMA the following day. The lesson: If you’re not prepared to answer tough questions, do not engage in an interview style that is literally titled "Ask Me Anything". If you want to have an open conversation with your customers, nothing can be off the table. Anything short of complete transparency and candor will be met with hostility and ultimately lead to a public relations nightmare.    4. Marriot #BloodMuffins For 9/11’s 14 year anniversary a Marriott hotel decided to offer free muffins and coffee “in remembrance of those we lost on...

Posted by on in Student Housing
Over the last decade, the market has seen a dramatic increase in the number of purpose-built student housing complexes. As student housing progresses more and more, innovation and modernization are being brought to this style of accommodation. Here are some unique and non-traditional examples of where the future of student housing may be heading.  1. Hub 01 Mobile Student Housing (Developed by dmvA and A3 Architects)     Image © Mick Couwenbergh Full Photo Gallery HereWhen someone speaks of mobile housing, the first thing that typically comes to mind is trailers; but Hub 01 is nothing like a trailer! Hub 01 has revolutionized the concept of mobile student housing with their concept resting on three main principles: mobility, personalization and an educational design.According to Arch Daily, the idea behind this project is to, “….provide an opportunity for students to take their own room to different places and attach it to a central terminal by a ‘plug-in’ system… By a simple connecting system, the individualized rooms can be attached to the terminal.”Each of the rooms has their own customized concept, which can be attached to the central terminal.      2. Tietgenkollegiet (Designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg)    Full Photo Gallery Here  While Tietgenkollegiet isn’t necessarily new (it was completed in 2006), it is still a leading model for the future of student housing. Tietgenkollegiet is aptly referred to as the “residence hall of the future”. The concept behind this residence hall is to create a space where students can grow both personally...