Looking Back on Memorable Moments of 2017

The most anticipated solar eclipse on record. The emergence of bitcoin and continued technology advancement. One of the most devastating hurricane seasons on record. The #MeToo movement. Selena Gomez retained her status as most-followed celebrity on Instagram with more than 130 million and #love was the most used hashtag. Massachusetts earned designation as the healthiest state (shout out to our home state!) followed by the Aloha state Hawaii. Meanwhile, Florida and Utah, experienced the largest improvements. 2017 has certainly been filled with memorable moments.

The multifamily industry produced its share of news as well, as hints of a slowdown were premature and the latest tax bill might prove to have numerous wins for the industry. With that in mind, here are some of the industry’s most noteworthy and memorable moments from the year:

    • Package Concierge® sold to Gibraltar

      An exclusive multifamily partnership was forged when Gibraltar Industries acquired Package Concierge® in February. As the apartment industry’s leading supplier and innovator of electronic package management solutions, and Gibraltar, a leading manufacturer of commercial building products, come together multifamily properties gain access to the most innovative package management solutions. We are excited about what 2018 holds for us and the Gibraltar team!

    • Apartment List getting aggressive with ads

      Apartment List got hard-hitting with its social media marketing strategy by partnering with Facebook and Realtor.com. Now the ILS will display ads more prominently on platforms visited by millions on a daily basis. The move represents the massive shift in the way renters are searching for and finding their apartments online.

    • NMHC/Kingsley survey recognizes package boom

      The emergence of ecommerce is a new-school concept that the largest resident survey didn’t even include package questions on its previous edition. In August, the NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report unveiled 57 percent of respondents were very interested or highly interested in package lockers. And 47 percent of those individuals indicated that they receive at least three packages a month.

    • New tech companies make waves

      Technology has been shaping many different industries. But the ways it’s playing into the multifamily industry is groundbreaking as it has notoriously behind the tech curve. SOCi, STRATIS and ApartmentJet are the three biggest shake-ups. SOCi is changing the social media and marketing management game. STRATIS is innovating through its mobile access for residents and property managers to adjust energy and automation control for their units. ApartmentJet is the only existing short-term rental platform to assist multifamily operators to generate revenue through vacant units.

    • Bitcoin emerges

      We’ve been hearing about the infamous bitcoin everywhere. So it isn’t surprising the emergence of the digital cryptocurrency has been seeping into multifamily as well. Bitcoin can be used to purchase real estate in the U.S. and other countries.

These are just a few of the defining moments of the past 12 months and some of the apartment industry’s. As we move into 2018, these trends can suggest that even more tech and digital marketing changes are on the horizon.

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Is Your Leasing Team Too Busy?

Your leasing team is an integral part of your company. They’re the public face of the property. They are the key liaison between the management team, the current resident and the prospective resident. Managing incoming packages used to be a minor part of leasing offices duties. But today, maneuvering the influx of package deliveries eats up significant time in the day of a leasing associate.

Some leasing offices are quite literally drowning in resident packages as ecommerce continues its skyward surge. Our data shows that an average 250-unit apartment community receives over 50 packages a day. This number increases three-fold during the holiday season with some communities seeing close to 150 packages come through the doors.

Deliveries can be so time demanding that onsite leasing teams have no choice but to neglect tasks that are more integral to community success. Often companies are limited on the number of staff per property. And adding more personnel is an additional expense.  Sure, leasing teams have time to handle packages, but wouldn’t you rather have your leasing teams performing more valuable tasks?

Giving tours to prospective residents

The community tours are critical to closing with your prospects. Highlighting the key features and amenities that set you apart from your competition is vital to any property tour. Apartment shoppers want to be able to get a good feel of their community, see their next home, and they want to love it. If your leasing associates are tied up with organizing packages in the office, the prospect will move on to the next property that has the time to give them tour of their property.

Addressing resident concerns

One of the most crucial duties of the onsite job is making sure residents are happy and satisfied with their living experience. Addressing resident concerns and servicing the community is of upmost importance and can make or break the community’s reputation – especially online. A majority of happy residents will renew their leases which help retain the high occupancy rate.

Freedom from package duties means spending more time engaging with residents to make sure everything is operating smoothly for them. It’s also a great opportunity to discover upgrades and improvements that can be made to community operations and amenities.

Respond to online reviews

Online reputation management is a necessity of today’s apartment industry. So, having a good ORA rating is a must have. Many prospective renters review the ratings and reviews of every item they purchase, including renting their next apartment and positive ratings and reviews of current residents are key to gaining the new residents. Leasing associates and community managers should be responding to online reviews and maintaining digital content.

Following up on prospect leads

A lot of money is spent on the marketing to attract the new leads for your property. So, how are you going to gain new prospects if you don’t follow up on all your qualified leads? Answer: you’re probably not. Chasing down leads and following up with potential customers are high priorities in the multifamily industry. It’s key to a solid NOI.

These are just a few things the leasing team should be doing instead of grinding away organizing packages. These items make all the difference. And the time adds up quickly when it comes to gaining and attracting and retaining residents.

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Apartment Communities and the Increasing Carrier Companies

As ecommerce continues to grow at an astounding rate, the package delivery process has no choice but to expand.

Not long ago, FedEx and UPS were responsible for most forms of package delivery. Today, there are even more carriers in the delivery race with the innovation of services like UberRush and Roadie. Combine these new delivery services with the increasing number of national retailers – like Costco and Kroger and the recent announcement from the USPS about Sunday deliveries, it might grow increasingly more difficult to determine just who your carrier is.

This trend, naturally, is to offer increased convenience for consumers. But as apartment operators and community managers, are you ready for it?

Apartment communities are constantly devising and revising driver training as package delivery continues to mutate into a much larger entity. Training was a relatively simple task when there were only a few carriers to educate. Now it’s becoming more challenging with the possibility of several different drivers arriving on a daily basis.

The more prepared you are – whether its having a capable package management solution in place or have an all-encompassing training process that can easily be relayed to the endless stream of new drivers – the less likely it is that package management will disrupt your day. Here’s a look at some of the new carriers that will be delivering packages to your communities soon, or more likely, already are:

UberRush

Just like the popular ride-share service drivers are at the ready and those closest to the shipment can retrieve it and shuttle it to its destination. The service also partners and integrates with businesses such as Shopify, Clover, Bigcommerce and 1-800 Flowers to help build deliveries into day-to-day operations.

Roadie

These carriers are similar to Uber, Lyft and Amazon Flex drivers. Like the ride shares, these drivers set their own schedule and work at their convenience. That means apartment communities might see a different driver every time a shipment is delivered. Guiding them to your package locker system and showing them how to operate it can become a repetitive task, which is why it’s best to have a streamlined process in place.

DHL Parcel & eCommerce

For international shipments, a DHL driver might arrive at your community. The service supports work-from-home retailers by offering international and domestic ecommerce services. While the company sometimes seeks out reliable transit to deliver shipment, it offers last-mile delivery in some markets.

The overriding theme is that packages are coming from all angles, and like the ecommerce boom itself, the trend shows no signs of dissipating. Are you ready? If you have a solid solution in place and have educated yourself on the vast amounts of carriers, you’re one step ahead of the game.

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