The Demand Solutions Blog

Why This Downturn is Different for Multifamily

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Mar 26, 2020 4:01:22 PM

I often think of the economy as a metaphorical set of pipes with money (the "water") flowing through them. Recessions typically happen when the pipes "clog," causing the water to flow well below its normal pressure. Governments have to respond, taking actions to "unclog" those pipes to get the "water" flowing again.

But the recession I believe we've already entered is very different in kind, not just degree. The coronavirus pandemic has forced large sectors of our economy to close down, severely restricting consumption and economic activity. This time, the "pump" has broken. It may not matter how much anyone tries to unclog the pipes, as little will flow until the pump starts working again.

This metaphor has some significant ramifications for what we'll experience over the next few months (yes, months, not weeks). It feels like we will have a two-stage recession:

  • Stage 1 will be unlike anything we've ever encountered before. This is the current stage, where the pump is frozen. Many industries will experience an inability to stimulate demand no matter what they do. For example, Las Vegas casinos are not allowed to do any business and thus can't even make an offer. Airlines can cut prices to practically zero, yet very few people will fly. Normal pricing and revenue management actions like lowering the price to boost occupancy simply won't work the way they typically might.

  • Stage 2 will be more like a typical recession, where weak demand meets excess capacity until supply and demand rebalance. Government stimulus will drive investment and demand and slowly, but surely, the engine roars back to life. Whether this will be a "V shape" like typical recessions or a shape more like the balance sheet-driven "Great Recession" is hard for me to predict (I'm an engineer, not an econometrician). But whatever it will be and however long it takes, it will mark the process by which we get back to "normal."
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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Future, Change Management

Are Short-Term Rentals The Pet Rent of 2020?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 15, 2019 4:10:33 PM

 
“What about the liability?”

“What about noise complaints from neighbors?”

“What about the extra costs involved?”

“It will totally change the character of our community, and we don’t want that!”

To anyone who’s been involved in talking about short-term rentals (STRs), the above looks very familiar, right? They’re the most common concerns about the risks (and hassles) involved with allowing residents to sublease their apartments on short-term rental platforms.

Except that’s not where I first heard these concerns. Back in the late 1990s, hardly any apartment communities allowed pets, particularly dogs and cats, in their apartments. When I asked why not, I usually heard the same four objections.

Yet a few intrepid pioneers, sensing the growing importance of pets as part of their prospective residents’ lives, took a risk and started allowing pets.

I remember visiting one of those in the early ‘00s, Archstone South Market, at the edge of the financial district in San Francisco. I was touring and noticed there seemed to be a lot of dogs. So I asked the community manager whether that was true or it was just me thinking it was.

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Topics: property management, Change Management, Short-Term Rentals

Multifamily’s Last Technological Inflection Point

Posted by Dan Amedro on Apr 9, 2019 8:15:00 AM

Since we published the findings of our 20 for ‘20 research, we have found a broad consensus that multifamily technology is at a technology inflection point, the like of which we have not seen since the 1999-2004 timeframe. During that period pricing and revenue management, web-based property management systems and resident and prospect portals all came to market at once. Dan Amedro was CIO at Archstone from 1997 through 2012. He not only had a front seat to all those changes but as often in the driver’s seat. We asked him to reflect on that time in the industry. As you read this, we think you’ll agree that the experience 15-20 years ago provides a great map to help navigate technology today.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Technology, Future, Change Management

9 Tips for Implementing Successful Change Management

Posted by Joanne Chapman-Reps on Jul 14, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Companies spend a lot of time, effort and energy introducing new initiatives into the organization (often referred to as a rollout), some with more frequency than others. Before starting a ‘rollout’ it’s very important to remember that what you’re doing is introducing a change. And, more importantly it’s important to realize that change is not easy to introduce (or sustain), and it certainly doesn’t happen on its own. 

Have you ever participated in a conversation with other leaders where the topic of conversation is focused on frustration about a new initiative that the teams are not embracing? Often the solution for that problem is a request for more training since the belief is that the teams didn’t ‘get it’ the first time. However, if you dig deeper you will probably discover that the root cause of the problem isn’t that the teams didn’t understand the training, the reality is that the initiative wasn’t introduced with an intentional change management approach. As a result, the teams (for one reason or another) are still doing things the old way. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, Change Management