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Managing community pool pass memberships

For multi-family communities with member-only swimming pools, what's the best solution for keeping track of who has access to your pool, checking members in at the front desk, and processing their pool pass applications? Whether you're managing a swimming pool in a neighborhood or apartment building, management methods can be grouped into three categories:   1. Paper passes and a log-book. The traditional method is to process membership applications from your community members and then distribute paper passes. The pool front desk attendant collects them when members enter the community pool and returns them when they leave. Perhaps members sign-in on a paper logbook. Labor costs are high to process all the applications by hand. You can't suspend someone's pass easily. You can't easily determine how many people are using the pool each day. And you have to trust that the person holding the pass is really the person named on the pass.    2. Standalone computer with Membership software. Building your database can be as easy as filling out an Excel spreadsheet. You can load member images or take them from a webcam. Using pool passes with barcodes makes check-in easy using a barcode scanner.  You can suspend members at any time (for example, if dues aren't paid). And you can track pool usage much easier than a paper log.    3. Cloud-based membership software. Options abound for services that provide online membership management: these are usually geared for commercial facilities such as gyms. They offer features like member billing, class scheduling, employee......
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Insights into the Future of Property Maintenance

FPM1Technology has greatly impacted the sales and leasing side of property management. The industry has seen how companies like Zillow and Airbnb change how we market and sell online.  Facilgo wanted to understand if the operations and maintenance side had been similarly impacted.  Specifically, we wanted to understand how changes in technology or other external forces would cause fundamental shifts in how people were planning to allocate their workforce in the future.   External to the survey, our conversations with various property management companies revealed that changes in the labor market made it difficult to hire and retain maintenance personnel.  Specifically, they stated that Millennials often left maintenance jobs for jobs in other industries due to the heavy usage of paper processes and lack of mobile apps being available to complete their jobs efficiently.   Our survey touched upon how new strategies were being used to deal with changes in the labor market and whether technology was having an impact on their organizations now or in the future.   Facilgo surveyed 54 companies to better understand their visions for the future of property maintenance.  We were able to see several patterns in the industry as a whole, and although our sample sizes were small for certain sub-segments, we were able to gain some insight into them as well.   In general, we found that as of yet, technology had not substantially changed how companies structured their maintenance operations.  Larger properties continued to staff properties with dedicated maintenance personnel, while smaller properties had......
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Most Common Employment Screening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Successful companies all have one thing in common: hard-working, efficient employees. While you won’t always be able to determine which workers will fit best in their roles in your company, choosing the right screening service can help weed out undesirable candidates based on the criteria that matter to you and to the success of your business. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help ensure that you are hiring the best candidates for your company’s individual needs and that you are protecting yourself from litigation and pointless spending. Remember, good employees can make the difference between a good and a great company, and finding the perfect candidate should be a top priority for business owners and hiring managers. Choosing a Screening Process Without Proper Research Running a business involves many moving parts, which means that certain aspects can be overlooked, even by the most thorough business owners. Because all screening services are not created equally, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not doing the proper research before choosing a screening service. You’ll want to choose a service that meets your short-term and long-term screening demands, and that facilitates your company’s individual needs rather than the common needs of most companies. Failing to Abide by the Law All US companies must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but not all third-party services adhere to the FCRA when compiling data for their screening services. If you choose a service that is not FCRAcompliant, you open yourself up to legal action, which can cause statutory damage, punitive damage, actual damage, and leg......
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If You Are Not Advertising your Property Rentals On Social Networks You Should Be

We are always looking for the best ways to advertise our rental properties for lease with the company that will give us the best reach for the best price, if you keep your social networks current and active they may be the best way to reach potential new renters. Here’s how: 1) The majority of your target audience is on social networks – By keeping your listings current you can ask friends, family members, and current tenants to like and share your listing posts casting an even a wider net within the community.  Larger exposure will equate to quicker rentals. 2) Photography Is Important – be sure the photos you use are quality and show the entire property, especially areas you feel should be highlighted. Remember you want them to click onto your post to check it out, make it inviting. 3) Monitor Your Posts and Respond To All Comments -Be sure to respond to all comments in a timely manner, especially those that ask if/when they can see the property. If this comment came from a friends reposting of your post then be sure to reach out and thank them for the help. Everyone loves a thank you. Be especially aware of “internet trolls” that may post a negative comment just for the sake of it.  Respond in a professional way, a good strategy would be to ask why, or how they have experience with your property, if it is a valid complaint, thank them for bringing it to your attention......
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New Facebook Posting Precautions

 

Has your social media strategy been based on thinking that posting on Facebook would get your community seen more in News Feeds of potential renters?

Well, that strategy has been well on the decline since Facebook started favoring paid ads over organic in their algorithm.

Now, Facebook announced today (12/18/17) that "starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait" through the use of machine learning.

So for all of you trying to boost engagement and demonstrate an active community to prospects, be careful with your property page. Facebook will be rolling out "Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts."

What should you do going forward? Avoid these gimmicky posts and stick closer to Facebook's recommended content that's:

  1. Meaningful
  2. Informative 
  3. Accurate
  4. Authentic

It might take some more effort than explicitly asking folks to "tag a friend who would love living here!" But in the end, if you're posting great shots of your property with engaging copy, shouldn't people do that on their own?

Good luck out there in the ever-changing digital wilderness!

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How to Analyze 2017 Marketing and Plan for 2018

How to Analyze 2017 Marketing and Plan for 2018
  I once attended a team building event when I was with Greystar, presented by Afterburner who "teach the techniques used by elite military teams to drive accountability, increase agility and accelerate performance." The group presenting to us were a group of fighter pilots who explained a variety of topics but one hit home specifically to me. They stated that every mission they fly, before it is executed, they already have a post-flight meeting scheduled to analyze the wins and lessons learned from the mission. They explained how critical this is to the successful planning of future missions by learning how they could improve. In property management, we're in such a fast paced industry that it's difficult to slow down and assess all of the wins and opportunities at each asset, each month. However, NOT doing this is much more critical. As an RPM, I would have Property Managers present their wins and opportunities to me in front of their peers. We would discuss the ways they excelled in performance, how we could apply those wins to other communities and strategize about how to readjust our plan for the coming month to overcome any deficiencies. As 2017 comes to a close, are you dedicating time for your teams to look at their marketing plan goals they set forth at the beginning of the year and analyzing the actual year end results in detail? Are you bringing Property Managers together to review the collective performance of your marketing and see how you can improve......
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ReMarketing - The Secret Weapon of Apartment Leasing

ReMarketing - The Secret Weapon of Apartment Leasing
So you're browsing the internet. Let's say you're on Amazon.com. You view some items then decide to check the news over at CNN.com. Magically, you start to see ads for products you just saw on Amazon on the CNN site. How did they know? Is it magic? Some kind of sorcery? No, it's Remarketing. Remarketing is a relatively new way of showing targeted ads to individuals that have previously visited your website - as they browse elsewhere on the internet. It has been primarily used by big retailers over the last couple of years with great success and now, could be a game changer for the multifamily industry. Remarketing & Apartment Marketing One of the most significant deficiencies in the apartment marketing world has been brand awareness and website conversion. Let's say Jane Renter is browsing your website. She likes your building but isn't ready to pull the trigger. She leaves and keeps browsing the internet. You've now lost her as a lead. You've spent considerable dollars and time to get Jane Renter to your site, only to see her leave without contacting you. However, with Remarketing, Jane Renter will now start seeing eye-catching ads for your building on other sites she visits. This will increase your brand awareness as well as the overall conversion of your leads. Benefits There are a variety of different benefits to utilizing a remarketing campaign as part of your communities overall marketing plan. Inexpensive - Instead of paying for ads to a broad audience, you can......
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The Internet is under attack. Should you care?


We generally keep our blogs strictly multifamily focused, so I hope you all forgive me for sharing this critical message that may be a little off-topic.  I think most of us can agree that the Internet has fundamentally changed the world.  Digital communications have altered just about every aspect of our lives, but it is under attack.  You have 1,440 minutes in a day - please take 3 of those and watch this video, which can explain the threat much better than I can.

Now that you have watched it, please click here to make a difference: battleforthenet.com.

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Massive Change to Facebook Marketplace: Rentals Are Now Here

Facebook  Facebook Marketplace Rentals vs. Craigslist! ...and your ILS. Oh, and maybe even Google too.  Facebook Marketplace Rentals just happened. And it's about to get real for Craigslist first, but also Internet Listing Services (ILS). Heck, Facebook could even bite into Google's piece of the pie if users really go for it.   First, let's back up a bit. If you're an owner/property manages of a small to mid sized portfolio, then you needed to get the best return on their small marketing budget. So Craigslist, being free (and pretty clunky), was an obvious initial go-to option for many.  But Craigslist can take a lot of time, and depending on your target demographic, maybe didn’t even return that many quality leads. Then you got entangled with a pricey ILS contract. Hopefully that's doing something useful for you. And now you've heard about advertising on Google and on Facebook. But which would work better for you?  It used to be a no brainer for us.We'd pick Google for your budget first every time. That's because the difference between the two is that Facebook is "interest" based and Google is "intent" based.  Interest vs. Intent and Why it Matters If you're looking for a Mexican restaurant or a new dentist - you went to Google or Google Maps.  That's intent. (It's also making me hungry for tacos and slightly nervous to make that appointment I need) Facebook was just for expressing which movies, books, sports, etc. you loved. That’s interest. Most people who ......
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Apartment Chatbots: AI-Assisted Human Interaction vs. Human-Assisted AI

  There’s no denying that artificial intelligence is changing the way apartment communities interact with prospective renters.   But while AI-powered apartment chatbots are capable of performing tasks such as answering questions about amenities and floor plans, making apartment tour appointments, and sending rental applications, we don’t yet have the technology to remove humans from the equation if a question is posed that the bot can’t answer. There are two primary ways that leasing staff and chatbots can work together to give potential renters the kind of smooth and helpful interactions they expect: AI-assisted human interaction and human-assisted AI interaction. What sets these two approaches apart are how the messages are received and how the messages are responded to. 1. AI-Assisted Human Interaction This service is primarily operated by property managers, leasing agents, or other staff, who are supported by AI. Here’s one way this could work: A chatbot is the first point of contact. It uses AI to look for keywords to figure out what the prospective renter is asking. For example, the question, “Are dogs allowed?” might trigger keyword “dogs,” which falls under the bots understanding of the pet category. It walks the prospect through a set of pet category questions: “Are you asking if we allow dogs or cats?” The answers and the bot’s replies are received by human customer service agents. The bot suggests answers that the agent may use: “Cats are allowed” or “Dogs are not permitted.” The agent can approve the bot’s responses, or the agent can take over if the a......
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