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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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The Busy Marketer’s Guide to Sending eBlasts

The Problem with eBlasts in Multifamily eBlast. Email Blast. Mass Communications. These names all refer to the same thing and evoke the same heavy sigh and eye-roll combo from your marketing team. Why? Because sending eBlasts is a pain in multifamily.   Why do marketers struggle to send eBlasts? There is a lot more involved in sending an email than people realize. You have to write the copy, find graphics (if needed), come up with a catchy subject line, format the email, select the right target audience (this can be a real pain depending on the software used), and finally schedule it for the appropriate time and day. On average, this process takes two to three hours per email. Most PMC’s only have one marketer managing five to ten properties. That’s a lot of emails for a marketer to be responsible for on top of the rest of their marketing initiatives.   Why can’t agents send eBlasts? Each property has three to six agents on staff, why don’t they send the eBlasts if marketing doesn’t have the time? Every communication from your property should be written with the look and feel of your company’s brand. Your marketing team knows what image sizes work for your email and how to write with your brand voice. Your agents don’t have the time, training, or expertise to create emails that truly reflect your brand. Most PMC’s are forced to choose between brand consistency and response time. Neither of which you want to sacrifice. So, the question re......
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10 eBlasts your Residents Actually Want

Chances are your residents have email inboxes filled to the brim with eBlasts from well-meaning companies trying to make a sale. Don’t add to their pile of digital junk mail. Instead, send them the content they care about. We have created a list of the top ten eBlasts your residents actually want!   Happenings around the community Let your residents know what fun and exciting things are happening around your property! Upcoming Events. Let your residents know about the cool activities you have planned. New Amenity. Tell your residents when your new amenities are open for business. New Features. Clue your residents in about your new features. Whether it is a new piece of gym equipment, ride-sharing stop, delivery lockers, or whatever else, your residents would be happy to hear about it. Opening Day at the Pool. Nothing says summer is here like the first day at the pool! This is one grand opening your residents aren’t going to want to miss.   From your Team While every eBlast comes from your leasing team, the emails in this category are used to make your residents feel respected by and connected to your leasing team. Holiday Greetings. Send your residents well-wishes during the holidays to show them you care and create an opportunity to connect with them. Resident Survey. Give your residents a chance to voice their opinions by sending them a resident survey. Office Closing. Keep your residents up-to-date by letting them know if you aren’t going to be around during regul......
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5 Ways to Create a Great Move-Out Experience

5 Ways to Create a Great Move-Out Experience
It can all fall apart in the end.   An apartment community may have a great relationship with a resident and provide that person with a truly outstanding living experience. But if the resident encounters a rocky move-out, it can completely sour their feelings about the community and lead to angry online reviews and feedback.   Things certainly don't have to turn out that way. Below are some tips for creating a positive move-out experience for your residents:   • Set expectations about the security deposit – or eliminate it altogether. Anger about the small amount of their security deposit refund (or anger about getting no refund at all) is a common sentiment in online reviews, just ask your onsite teams.   Because of the tension refunds can create at move-out and because of the various administrative hassles associated with managing deposits, more and more apartment communities are making a fundamental shift in operations and  eliminating security deposits.   If that route doesn’t feel right for your company at this moment, you should at least work hard to manage residents' expectations about their refund. Give them some sense, both when they're paying the deposit and again when they're nearing move-out, of what the average refund looks like at your community. Explain the reasons why charges are typically deducted from a refund. Provide a checklist of the steps a resident needs to take to maximize their chances of getting a sizable refund.   • Communicate, communicate, communicate. This one would seem to go with......
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How Technology Can Be Used to Build a Sense of Community in Your Multifamily Properties

How Technology Can Be Used to Build a Sense of Community in Your Multifamily Properties
As a property manager, you probably feel in your business how big the rental market has become. But do you know how big, exactly? A Pew Research Center report built with Census Bureau data indicates that 36.6 percent of household heads were renting their property in 2016 — the highest number in over 50 years and close to the 37 percent peak in 1965.   The booming rental market is no doubt good news for property managers, but it also means more competitors are entering the space. Developers are in an amenities arms race as they rapidly install poolside cabanas, indoor basketball courts, and the latest golf simulators in an effort to differentiate their offerings. With rising interest rates and limited new home supply likely to continue into the foreseeable future, a strong and growing rental market is likely here to stay.   It's no shock to a property manager that improving retention is great for the bottom line — but how? As competition heats up, a clear trend is emerging — half of the top 10 most popular amenities added since 2014 revolve around bringing people together. But you don’t need to spend thousands on new swimming pools or outdoor kitchens to entice new residents to call your property home. Instead, smart use of technology can do the trick.   It’s Not Just Technology — It’s How You Use It   There’s a common misconception surrounding our use of technology — namely, that it isolates us and reduces the quantity and quality of our human interactions. Fro......
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Hey Property Managers — Branding isn’t just for Apple and Google

BrandingResidentLoyalty Most companies think branding is for giants like Apple and Google. After all, these tech monsters yield a combined $270 billion in value from their efforts. All the result of a well-coordinated branding effort that includes frequently focused messaging and a consistent visual presence at every touch point.However, just because you’re a smaller property management company, don’t think for a moment that branding isn’t just as important for you.Branding maintains consistency with messaging, emails, and other regularly used outreach tools that over time leaves with the consumer a lasting impression of the quality of your company. Done properly, branding can also influence the reactions and thoughts prospective residents, current residents and first-timers have when they interact with your property. First impressions last a lifetime - and with so many other choices out there for your potential residents, it's important that you're building trust and brand loyalty every step of the way - whether they're still a potential lead or an active member of your community.Think about it—a potential resident is evaluating whether or not they want to live at your property (or continue living at your property.) If they walk away feeling like your company is “cheap”, lackluster and disorganized, they’re going to pass you over and set their sights on somewhere else. Having a strong and consistent internet presence is more important than ever - resident communities have become a world full of choices. Properties are a dime a dozen in the mind of the resident, so it’s your job to present y......
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Rethink renter communication in today’s hyper-connected world

Electronic communication is dominating our waking hours.   According to Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey, people spend 5.4 hours every weekday checking email. Add that to the nearly two hours per day consumers spend on social networks, and that’s nearly seven-and-a-half of our 16 waking hours.   Getting consumer attention in this saturated, hyper-connected consumer environment isn’t easy. So, how can you make your messages stand out?   Data-driven personalized interactions Prospective renters are tired of having to set the same preferences and fill out the same forms over and over again in order to shop for their next home. They want to complete these tasks once and for the property managers to provide some degree of personalized interaction based on those preferences.   This expectation will be even more important when Generation Z, the next big multifamily market, reaches renting age. According to a WP Engine study, 50 percent of Gen Z consumers said they would stop visiting websites that don’t anticipate what they need, like or want.   Property managers need to utilize technology that remembers a person’s browsing history, automatically redirects a prospect to the floor plan they spent the most time on, and auto-fills their contact form or online leasing form.   Leverage advancements in social media marketing The industry has been talking about the role of social media since Facebook was a private company, which in tech time was a hundred years ago. Yet most multifamily owner/operators still aren’t leveraging social media to advance thei......
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Tips for helping residents prevent ID theft

The economy is strong and consumer confidence is up, meaning people are spending more than ever before. Unfortunately, all those transactions could put them at a heightened risk of identity theft. Identity theft is on the rise. In 2016, 15.4 million U.S. consumers experienced some form of identity fraud, up from 13.1 million in 2015 and 11.6 million in 2011, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research report. As identify theft rises, apartment operators can help residents mitigate their risk of identity theft. Here are some tips: Host a shredding eventOrganize a shredding party in the leasing office or somewhere onsite to give residents a chance to shred documents containing sensitive personal information for free. Such documents may include packing slips and invoices related to online gift purchases as well as credit card statements, utility bills and ATM receipts. Residents should always shred anything that contains their name, address, phone number, Social Security number or bank account information before they dispose of them. Identity thieves have been known to go “dumpster diving” to get sensitive information out of people’s trash. A shredding party can be a great way to mix and mingle with residents in a relaxed setting while offering them an invaluable service. Provide refreshments, play games and enjoy a bit of camaraderie. Urge residents to shop only on secure websitesRemind residents to make sure that HTTPS — instead of just HTTP — appears in the URL of websites they are visiting. This shows the site is secure. Web browsers also typi......
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Weather or Not, Residents Appreciate Notifications

Weather or Not, Residents Appreciate Notifications
No, that was not a typo… Residents of apartment communities appreciate communication from their property managers, especially when it comes to critical information like severe weather alerts. Even for everyday occurrences like maintenance, resident satisfaction tends to increase as communication increases. Providing residents with a way to respond — and reach a live staff member when necessary — also fosters positive relationships. In all these situations, an automated resident notification system serves as a valuable tool. Here are some common situations in which automated systems can help. Severe weatherEveryone wants to know about severe weather. Keep an eye out for any weather alerts or warnings such as thunderstorms and flash flooding in the desert, winter storms on the East Coast, and freezing rain in the Pacific Northwest. You can use your automated notification system to let residents know how to avoid weather related annoyances, for example dripping faucets to avoid frozen pipes. Maintenance announcementsAutomatic notification systems can alert your residents about upcoming routine maintenance, like annual appliance checks or carpet cleaning. If you need input on scheduling a time, you can let residents know their options and how to reach you. Once you’ve scheduled with a resident, your automated system sends reminder calls prior to and after the appointment. New business openingsAlerting residents to the opening of new restaurants and other local businesses is a great service. Sending out business-opening notifications through your automated system supports the local business community and helps busy working people plan their time off effectively. Public service announcementsYou can use......
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How Climate Change Is Affecting Property Management

How Climate Change Is Affecting Property Management
If you think that climate change has nothing to do with property management, think back to the last time you experienced a weather event at your managed properties. Hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, deep freezes, and other weather events can affect the property and units. To be prepared, property managers must anticipate how climate change will impact their buildings and plan for protection. The Real Effects of Climate Change While the debate on climate change continues, everyone can agree severe weather can cause real, lasting damage to property assets. Imagine the effects of a flooded basement where renters have stored their things, or where your common laundry facilities are located. Or consider how a wildfire brought on by drought and dry weather could ruin your landscape and your apartment in a worst-case scenario. The best way to protect your property is to understand the risks you face and be prepared. Consider the different weather events that could impact you, and then plan ahead. Do a test run of your disaster recovery strategy to make sure everything works. If you’re nervous about flooding, for example, you may relocate expensive equipment to higher ground or perform preventative maintenance. By safeguarding gutters and downspouts, cleaning drains regularly, patching cracks in the foundation, and installing a sump pump, you can mitigate water damage. For added insurance, invest in a wet vac or set up a priority arrangement with a local water damage company.  Since flooding may disrupt electrical systems, install a generator. With many disasters, time is o......
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