The Demand Solutions Blog

Apartment Leasing: Are You Looking in the Right Places to Differentiate your Property?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Nov 8, 2018 9:22:35 AM

A headline about consumer preferences caught my eye recently. It was from the recent annual meeting of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Boston, and it read: "Walkability Now May Outweigh Transit Access in Valuing Location."  

The idea is interesting for several reasons: proximity to transit has, after all, been one of the most critical attributes of apartment locations in the urban core for decades. What can be happening in our ever more densely populated cities to push it down the list of priorities? The short answer - according to the panel of industry luminaries including Green Street Advisors and AvalonBay Communities - lies in changing workplace demographics and travel habits. Read More

Topics: multifamily sales, Customer Experience, Multifamily Trends, apartment marketing

What Do These Millennial Insights Mean For Your Business?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 30, 2018 10:44:54 AM

A couple of weeks ago we posted the latest in a series of blogs about the tastes of the millennial generation and how to appeal to them. It's always interesting to lift the lid on this much-discussed generation, especially when it gives us insight into the kinds of experiences that they like - and more to the point, don't. But it isn't always clear what multifamily operators should do to cater to these tastes. Below we relate some of the findings of the previous post to some actionable recommendations.

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Topics: Millennials, Multifamily Trends

Is Your Sales Process Creating a "Buyer-Beware" Environment?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 25, 2018 4:40:37 PM

Fall is upon us. As usual for multifamily operators, Halloween preparations and pumpkin spice treats provide the backdrop to the main event - next year’s budget. As we grind through the seemingly endless iterations of revenue and cost numbers and reconciliation between properties and central teams, at some point the light will appear at the end of the tunnel. At that point, we will get to turn our attention not merely to the goals, but how we will achieve them.

We will bring 2018 to a close with a decade of growth behind us. We will enter 2019 facing what is now an annual question "is this going to be the year when things slow down?"  Of course, nobody knows the answer to that question, but there are good reasons to take our preparations for next year as an opportunity to revisit sales. A decade when demand has outstripped supply more often than not has delivered spectacular returns but in many cases, less-than-spectacular sales performance.

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Topics: Sales Coaching, property management, Leasing Performance

More on that Strange Creature, Homo Millennius

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 17, 2018 10:40:07 AM

I’m an avid reader of The Economist, and I recently read an interesting article on how marketers are trying to address the Millennial generation. As readers of past blogs may recall, I’m a confirmed cynic that the generation represents a fundamentally different species (metaphorically); so, I was immediately drawn in by the observation in the article that the reason so many companies struggle to understand the differences between Millennials and other generations “may be because such differences are overblown.”  

Ipsos-MORI is quoted as saying that Millennials are “the most carelessly described group we have ever looked at.” The article quotes a MillerCoors failure to sell to Millennials by creating TwoHats, a light-flavored fruity brew they said would appeal to Millennials taste and budget with the tagline, “Good, cheap beer. Wait, what?” 

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Topics: Millennials

Allowing Short-term Rentals in Multi-family Buildings: The Benefits and the Risks Based on Real-world Data.

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Sep 27, 2018 9:16:13 AM

Just yesterday, Pillow Homes released a white paper I authored, “Allowing Short-term Rentals in Multi-family Buildings: The Benefits and the Risks Based on Real-world Data.” Though in full disclosure I was compensated for my work, I am particularly proud of this piece of analysis as it’s the first time I’m aware of any comprehensive case study of what really happens when buildings actively allow residents to sublet their homes out for short-term rentals (STRs).

The paper was made possible by data collected on the Pillow Homes platform and the courtesy of two management teams of Denver multi-family communities allowing me to interview them to bring their experiences into the analysis along with the “hard” numbers. The study was made all the more interesting as one of the communities was a stabilized property and the other is going through lease-up, thus giving different perspectives from different operating imperatives.

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Topics: Short-Term Rentals, Leasing Performance, multi-family housing

The Fill Down Function: A Fast Way to Repeat Excel Formulas

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Sep 12, 2018 9:48:49 AM

I’ve often had customers watch me work in an Excel sheet and ask about various shortcuts they see me use. So, this is the first in a series of occasional blogs on Excel tips and tricks I hope you find useful. 

If you’re not familiar with the “fill down” function, this is a great way to repeat a formula down a column. For example, let’s say that you have a row of unit types with the number of expiring leases and the number of renewals and you want to calculate the renewal rate as the number of renewals divided by the number expirations. In the example below, you can see that the studio rate is 58.3%. 

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Topics: Technology, property management

4 Ways Multifamily Operators Can Use Technology to Improve Resident Experience

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Aug 31, 2018 1:15:52 PM

As we head into the Labor Day weekend residents will be heading out of town to visit family, welcoming visitors into town, or heading out to picnics and “firing up the grill.” Can you believe it, the unofficial end of summer is here? Next week we’ll all be “back to the grind.”

An event coming a week later has some of us at D2 Demand excited (but not Donald…he’s a PC/Android guy). On September 12th, Apple will be hosting their annual event to announce their new iPhones, and Apple Watches, oh yeah, and one more thing. This got us thinking about how multifamily operators can use technology to make residents (and prospects) happier.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Customer Experience

The 7 Most Common Mistakes Found in Our Amenities Audit

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Aug 21, 2018 1:03:24 PM

Over the past couple of years, our company has conducted unit amenity audits for many different operators. The good news is that the concept of identifying unique attributes of each unit and attempting to realize the value of those attributes through variable pricing is a well-established practice in multi-family housing.

The not-so-good news is that we rarely see examples of highly proficient amenity setups. So, at the risk of giving away a little of our secret sauce, here are several of the most common mistakes and/or missed opportunities we’ve seen:

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Customer Experience

5 Highlights of Donald Davidoff’s Multifamily Matters Interview

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jul 9, 2018 2:00:00 PM

You probably already know that D2’s CEO, Donald Davidoff, revolutionized the multi-housing industry seventeen years ago when he led the team that built the first automated pricing and revenue system.  But he certainly wasn’t content to rest on his laurels. Donald, an engineer by training, has continued to transform the industry with a holistic viewpoint tied together by a common thread: data.

Multifamily Matters, a national weekly radio show dedicated to interviewing the best in the industry, was eager to have Donald on as a guest so he could share his unique perspective. After all, as host Paul Marks pointed out, not only was Donald prescient about the multifamily industry’s need for analytics, he has continued to be a “legendary thought leader” for Pricing and Revenue Management (PRM).

Here are some highlights from Donald’s hour-long interview, followed by a link to the full conversation with Paul Marks and Donald’s former client, Brian Hilton. Hilton is the current head of PRM at Simpson Housing, which was the second multifamily operator in the industry to implement PRM software. 

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Topics: Artificial Intelligence, pricing and revenue management, Pricing

The Multifamily Executive's Quick Access Guide to Artificial Intelligence

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jun 15, 2018 4:00:00 PM

There’s a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) these days, so much so that it’s hard to separate the reality from the hype. Add to that the fact that multifamily housing (MFH) is typically a technology laggard, and it’s easy to assume that MFH executives can afford to wait a few years to see how things shake out before worrying at all about AI. Yet AI is potentially applicable to any business process that has measurable data inputs and a complex process to get to outcomes that are also measurable—a description that matches many MFH processes.

Not surprisingly, AI has been accompanied by a tremendous amount of hype, myth and confusion. To help MFH executives makes some sense of AI, we’ve put together a quick guide on the key areas where AI can (and often should) impact your operation. We highlight:

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Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Future, Technology, Multifamily Trends