The Demand Solutions Blog

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

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

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: Short-Term Rentals, Multifamily Trends, Demand Management

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

More Insights from A Millennial (and my shortest blog ever)

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Apr 10, 2018 2:00:00 PM

A week or so ago, I blogged on my daughter’s reaction to a study allegedly sharing insights into how you need market to millennials differently than everyone else. I got so many responses to the raw honesty and insight, I thought I’d go back to the D2 Demand Solutions Millennial Focus Group (again, really just my 23-year old daughter who is a renter) and ask her what she thought about the buzz around micro units and co-living concepts.

The good news is that, unprompted, she’s heard plenty about both of these. The not-so-good news? Just read her response:

Literally every millennial I have seen comment on them thinks they are glorified college dorms, and no one wants to live in them over a normal apartment. People just have to in places like San Fran because rent prices are ridiculous. There is a lot of grumbling about how baby boomers screwed over the housing market and now they think we want to live in dorms forever. Seriously, no one wants a communal bathroom and kitchen.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Leasing Performance, Multifamily Trends, Millennials

The Best Apartment Marketing Tips for Millennials...From a Millennial

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

A few days ago, I was catching up on my reading and downloaded a white paper from one of the many marketing vendors in multifamily housing. As with so many of these, the paper purported to unlock the secrets of marketing to millennials. I’m always a bit skeptical of these sorts of buzzword-laden attempts to claim that somehow this strange beast, homo millennius, is a completely different offshoot from the rest of homo sapiens and thus needs special care and attention.

The paper started with some basic facts that seemed reasonable, though hardly differentiating. For example, Milliennials have been slower to marry than earlier generations. A true statement that means they will probably be renters longer than prior generations; but it hardly seems to indicate that we need to do something different in marketing to them than everyone else.

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Topics: Millennials, Multifamily Trends

MTEC Wrap-up: 5 Key Takeaways

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Mar 13, 2018 4:00:00 PM

I just got back from the 2018 edition of MTEC, the Multifamily Technology Entrepreneur’s Conference, and I must say I was unusually impressed with the quality of the content. Here are a few of my key takeaways:

1. The MFH tech ecosystem is getting stronger.
MTEC set record attendance with more than 160 attendees. Given the somewhat lagging nature of tech in MFH, this bodes well for the future. There was a wide range of tech companies from both an “area of focus” and a “maturity of business” perspective. One of the highlights each year is the “Shark Tank”-style presentation of new businesses. In past years, I confess to feeling that some (even half) of the presenters simply did not have a compelling enough business proposition to be worth my time listening. This year, there were 10 presenters and each held my attention as I could see a need for all of them.

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Topics: Technology, Multifamily Trends

2018 NMHC Recap & Reflections for the Multifamily Industry

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jan 19, 2018 4:00:00 PM

NMHC-2018.pngFlying back home from the NMHC Annual Meeting in Orlando, I can’t help but reflect on how fortunate we all are to be in this particular industry, at this particular moment in time. After several years of record 4-5+% rent growth, the past 16 months have seen remarkably stable rent growth with Axiometrics reporting YOY growth in the very narrow range of 2.1% to 2.5% (the long-term historical average is roughly 2.2-2.3%).

It’s not often we get to experience a sustained period of “Goldilocks” growth (“not too high, not too low”). Not surprisingly, the single biggest theme I observed at the session was a general satisfaction and confidence in the industry. The tone was clearly optimistic, but not heady. I realized that many of the CEOs and COOs attending were in the same or similar positions with their companies back in 2006-07. So while everyone feels good, the lingering memory of how that bull run came to a crashing end tempers any irrational enthusiasm.

Despite the stability of current market conditions, we are clearly in a transitional period not just in our industry, but in the larger business world as well. Here are a few key observations from my vantage point:

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Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Future, Leasing Performance, Multifamily Trends

A Tipping Point on AirBnB?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jan 5, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Typically, press releases in our industry are more “promotion” than news, but a press release this past December 18 might just be a critical exception to prove that rule.

This release announced that Brookfield Properties has invested $200 million in Niido, a new home-sharing concept launched in partnership with AirBnB. The investment will fuel developments and acquisitions of communities that will be branded as “Niido powered by AirBnB.” Residents in these communities will be able to rent their units through AirBnB for up to 180 days a year. The communities will also be “optimized for home sharing and flexible living,” though details were not provided in the release.

Why might this be a tipping point? Up until now, participation with AirBnB has seemed to be mostly smaller operators. I have a strong sense there are some bigger players testing out allowing various forms of homesharing, but they’ve been doing so in a very quiet and secretive manner. The only large company to publicly stake out a strong position is Aimco, and they did so by suing AirBnB in an effort to prevent homesharing.

Now, for the first time, a large company is publicly on record that they are openly investing in this concept, and in partnership with AirBnB; and few, if any, companies are more well respected and more thoughtful about their approach than Brookfield.

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Topics: Future, Millennials, Multifamily Trends, Technology