The Demand Solutions Blog

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: property management, Technology

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: Pricing, pricing and revenue management, Artificial Intelligence

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: Multifamily Trends, Technology, Future, Artificial Intelligence

Marriott & Short-Term Rentals: A Key to Increasing Multifamily Housing Revenue

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 29, 2018 2:00:00 PM

I’m not sure how many people in multifamily housing pay close attention to the hospitality industry. Partly because I grew up in travel and hospitality and partly because it’s maybe the closest cousin to housing rentals, I’ve always kept an eye on developments in that world.

Last week, I saw an announcement that could be a doozy. Marriott, the world’s largest hotelier has partnered with Hostmaker, a London-based homestay property management company, for a six-month trial of Tribute Portfolio Homes.

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Topics: Demand Management, Multifamily Trends, Short-Term Rentals

The Quickest Way to Reduce Vacancy Loss As Much As 75bps

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 21, 2018 2:00:00 PM

I was recently reviewing detailed lease data for a large metropolitan market for one of my clients and saw something that absolutely fascinated me. Fully one-third of the leases had synchronized expirations at the end of the month rather than exactly one-year leases.

This harkened back to the days of 1999 when, at Talus Solutions (the company I worked for back then), we were doing analysis and simulation for Archstone in the work that would eventually lead to the creation of LRO, the industry’s first automated pricing and revenue management system.

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Topics: Longstanding Vacant Units

11 Takeaways from the Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) Conference 2018

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 14, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) conference. Aside from the great location in Huntington Beach (I don’t normally pay much attention to conference locations, but I’ve really come to love that particular one), the content this year was spectacular. It’s sometimes an industry sport to complain about conference content, so Steve Lefkovits and Dennis Cogbill deserve a special shout out for curating a truly great conference.

The conference covered such a wide canvas of topics that I thought I’d replace my normal detailed review of 3-5 key themes from any conference for a quick tour of all the things that struck me. Here goes:

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Customer Experience, Future, Artificial Intelligence, Email ReMarketing

7 Tips to Help Leasing Associates Make Sales Faster (And Delight Residents)

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

Over the last 20 years, the multifamily industry has gotten better at managing the core elements of their business. Companies are smarter regarding where they're building or buying their properties, and how they're operating them. The use of pricing and revenue management systems has become the norm, not the exception. Utilizing sophisticated property management systems, online marketing tools and so forth--again, the norm. That means we're operating more efficiently than we ever have before.

With all of these improvements, there is still one area that has been (and often still is) overlooked: sales. As the demands of customers continue to evolve and liquid expectations impact their expectations, experience and buying journey, smart operators know this needs to change. At these companies, sales acumen has begun to “earn its seat at the table” as a key driver to operational performance.

It's important to note that selling today isn't like what selling used to be. Daniel Pink, noted author of the book To Sell is Human shared, "Most of what we know about sales comes from a world of information asymmetry. Sellers had far, far more information than buyers did." That was certainly true in multifamily. Sellers could manipulate buyers and force them to play the game that salespeople wanted to play. That is no longer true.   

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, Leasing Performance, Sales Coaching

A Data-Backed Strategy to Drive 150bps to Multifamily Rent Per Unit (RPU)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Apr 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a piece of the demand management platform that often doesn’t get much attention—handling the initial prospect call. Specifically, I’d like to make the case for using a professionally-run call center (full disclosure: I am on the Board of, and an investor in, Anyone Home though I like to think of that as “putting my money (and time) where my mouth is”)

So as not to bury the lede, I’d like to ask you if you would be attracted to a solution with a proven track record of raising RPU (revenue per unit) by 150bps? Okay, that’s the kind of “salesy” question meant to get your attention since there’s clearly only one logical answer to that. However, those of you who know me, know that I’m educated as an engineer and I don’t make claims like that without solid, proven test data. Though not necessarily well publicized, that very specific data exists.

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Topics: Demand Management