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Mobile-Optimized Sites Versus Mobile Apps

Mobile-Optimized Sites Versus Mobile Apps
Let's face it: it's a mobile app world, and we're just living in it. According to eMarketer, smartphone users spend 90 percent of their time online in apps. One study showed that the total sessions in travel/navigation apps increased 50 percent worldwide between 2016 and 2018, while another one indicated that more than half of consumers (57 percent) have used a retailer's mobile app while in-store. Yet another one demonstrated that consumers are expected to download 258.2 billion mobile apps in 2022, up from 178.1 billion in 2017.These numbers provide powerful evidence that mobile apps play a fundamental, indispensable role in people's lives. And they should remain top of mind when apartment communities consider whether to offer residents a mobile app or a mobile-optimized portal.What's the Design Difference?We all know that the main difference is that apps must be downloaded by the user for use on a mobile device through an app store like Apple or Google Play. Unlike mobile-optimized sites, apps allow businesses to send out push and in-app notifications to the user. Generally speaking, apps can provide users with a more nimble and responsive experience than mobile websites can. Mobile-optimized websites are designed to easily accommodate different screen sizes. Users can access them through their phone browsers without downloading anything to their mobile devices. When contemplating whether to implement a mobile-optimized resident portal to allow residents to do things like make rent payments or file service requests, multifamily operators should bear in mind that users have different communication and......
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Maximizing Internal Communication in a Company

Maximizing Internal Communication in a Company
Property management companies depend on many things for success. For starters, they have to have strong marketing campaigns to attract the right prospects to their communities. And they need well-trained, high-performing onsite staffs to keep current residents satisfied and eager to renew their leases when the time comes. While sometimes an afterthought, strong internal communication is also fundamental to the success of a community and a property management company. When leadership takes the time to keep employees in the know, team members feel respected and appreciated, and that can help foster loyalty. And when employees can easily communicate with each other, that fosters the healthy exchange of ideas. Here are some different tools you can implement within your company to help optimize internal communication:  Internal e-newslettersCompanies use internal e-newsletters to bolster their communication with employees. Newsletters are highly effective ways to celebrate recent successes and to communicate long-term corporate strategies as well as a company's quarterly and annual goals. They can also provide employees with valuable information about new technology and new system rollouts, wellness programs, HR benefits, company events and volunteer opportunities. Additionally, e-newsletters serve as a great platform to highlight the successes of employees throughout the company. These types of shout-outs can really boost employee morale and show that good work doesn't go unnoticed.  Chat softwareInstalling company-wide chat software has been a big trend across many industries as tech-savvy millennials have grown into such a sizable segment of the workforce. Team messaging apps like Slack, Yammer and HipChat make......
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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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Can a ‘Mobile Doorman’ App Take Multifamily Communities to the Next Level?

Can a ‘Mobile Doorman’ App Take Multifamily Communities to the Next Level?
With all of the recent advancements in the way we access and manage every aspect of our lives–whether its managing our relationships with the world or managing our multifamily portfolio–it’s about time we start looking at the way we manage our properties and interact with our tenants. One way we’re making use of all this technology is through mobile apps. One such mobile app simplifying multifamily management and enhancing tenant experience is the Mobile Doorman. While other apps on the market focus on property managers’ concerns, the idea of allowing tenants to interact with both management and the property itself has begun to spark new innovations. With these apps, renters are gaining control over granting visitor access to the property, mobile reminders when packages are delivered, and the ability to report/track maintenance requests. The Mobile Doorman app acts like a traditional doorman would, acting as the property’s liaison. Instead of having to set up access for each new guest or relying on an employee to contact a tenant when a package arrives, the app cuts out the middle man and lets the tenant manage with ease. According to the app’s founders, the idea is to make it easier for renters to manage their own residential needs by granting them access and control right from their smart phones. The ability for a tenant to submit an after-hours service order for a jammed garbage disposal is only the beginning. That same tenant could go to work the next day and get a text notification once the repair is......
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Who Will Be the Mobile Platform App?

We have seen ILS apps for a while, but more and more we are seeing apps for services within the resident space.  At the AIM Conference, two companies at the startup competition, Remotely and Parcel Pending, both had a resident-facing app or a planned one, and there are rent payment and maintenance request apps already in existence.  Innovation like this is fantastic for the industry, but it begs the question:  Does a resident want to have 10 different apps to manage their apartment? 

I've talked before about the potential for one property management software becoming an open integrator and full platform for other services in the industry, and I wonder if a similar opportunity has arisen in the mobile space.  Rather than several different apps, could one app be a consolidator that allows other apps to be embedded?  To be clear, I do not have experience in app development, so my question may be more theoretical than practical, but it appears that there are opportunities to clean up the user experience for the resident as we provide more apps to manage their lives.

If there is a possibility to create such a nested app opportunity, it appears that we will see different companies vying to be the "platform" by which other apps are integrated.  And if so, it creates a another point at which technology based companies in multifamily continue to meet up to integrate and provide a seamless solution to both multifamily professionals and their clients.

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How to become a geeky apartment shopper

Coffee and the newspaperGrab the morning paper - it's apartment hunting time! It certainly isn't your grandmother's apartment search experience anymore. Not even close. You can imagine how the process used to be. Cup of freshly brewed coffee, a donut, the Sunday paper, all the while making wide circles over ads that looked interesting. You'd gather up your list and head out on Monday morning, hit the streets, drive to some of your favorites or maybe you'd even pick up the phone and call around. Trouble with that approach, as we now know, is the limited amount of information you had at your fingertips. Newspaper descriptions manipulated by marketing departments have a tendency to be predictable, loaded with too many descriptive phrases (an inordinately quaint living space!) and certainly doesn't fill in the information you'd really like to know. It required a lot of work and effort on your part to narrow down your choices. The days of rummaging through these machines for the last copy of The Apartment Guide are fading. Fast forward a whole bunch of years and the internet comes along and search engines and coffee holders using CD trays. Boom. Sunday mornings now become pajama days while you surf the internet and dig into information about your future home. Gone are vending machine style racks from street corners. Print magazines and circling newspaper ads with your pen have been declared dead. Still though, even with new ways of finding an apartment, your level of apartment searching geekiness will vary. Some......
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