The Demand Solutions Blog

7 Ways to Tell if Your Revenue Manager is Skinny Dipping

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jul 24, 2019 8:36:00 AM

One of the challenges with pricing and revenue management (PRM) being more than 18 years old is that most of the pioneers in designing and developing the software are no longer involved. In some cases, companies are on their 3rd or even 4th generation of associate (this holds for both software vendors’ and operators’ teams).

The result is that we often no longer have a healthy skepticism that drives deep knowledge of both the software’s capability and the ways various parts of the demand management ecosystem (all the policies, procedures and other activities that affect demand) affect how we should use the software.

After a decade of growth in the multifamily sector - when it's been relatively easy to deliver upside - senior operators might ask how much of their growth comes from proficiency in PRM, and how much from riding the market.  As Warren Buffett famously said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.”

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Topics: Pricing, Revenue Management, Demand Management

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

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

How Airlines Can Teach Us to Make Student Communities Take Off!

Posted by Jessica Mills on Feb 2, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Students can provide a wonderfully reliable demand stream year after year. Knowing that a large pool of prospects will be looking to move in by a particular date is more data certainty than we have most of the time…what could possible go wrong?

A lot, actually. For as certain as students start school in the fall, management will panic mid-summer. What if school is about to start and you’re not full? Will you lower prices/add a special at the last minute to attract what remaining demand there is? If that happens, you can bet word will get out to the students who leased earlier at the higher price faster than you can say Snapchat…or however they are communicating these days. 

Worse yet is your situation if you didn’t lease up in time. You’re stuck with a slew of vacant apartments, a steeply declining seasonal curve (autumn is the season everything starts to die…including your traffic), and a marketing/sales conundrum around how to convince conventional demand that they would enjoy residing in a property filled with students. Your rents don’t have a chance…and neither do your revenue goals for the year.

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Topics: Demand Management

Is Pot the New Pets?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jan 18, 2017 12:00:00 PM

(Warning: Don’t read this if you’re not interested in hearing a provocative point of view)

I was meeting with a client of mine who has communities in California, and they shared a letter they were sending their residents. The letter was informing residents that, while California had passed a recreational marijuana initiative, the law gave apartment owners the right to declare their property to be marijuana free. The letter went on to inform residents that this company was exercising that right and that any use of marijuana in their apartments would be a violation of their lease and could result in eviction.

As a resident of Colorado (one of the earliest states to approve recreational use in homes) and a demand management modeler, this got me thinking. I wasn’t surprised that my client exercised their right; in fact, I expect that virtually all professionally managed communities will do or have done so already.

But is that really the right business answer? Perhaps the continued disconnect between these state laws and federal laws makes it the right answer. Perhaps there are indirect liabilities I’m not fully aware of (though not a lawyer, I would struggle to understand how liabilities surrounding marijuana would be any different than what already exists with alcohol consumption)? Or perhaps there are legitimate concerns related to managing issues like the potential for, shall we say earthy, aromas to permeate a building and annoy other residents (more on that later)?

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Topics: multifamily sales, Demand Management

8 Drivers of Demand Management in Multifamily Housing

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Nov 4, 2016 5:23:50 PM

Multifamily housing operations often takes a cue from travel and hospitality management. In that vein, I would like to talk about a business term that is fairly common in the world of travel and hospitality but hardly ever used in multifamily housing. That term is “demand management.”

We’ve borrowed many pricing and revenue management (PRM) concepts from travel and hospitality; however those industries have moved far beyond mere PRM and into the much more integrated and sophisticated world of demand management. The “PRM view” focuses on how pricing translates available demand into realized demand (in our case leases); in contrast, a “demand management view” expands well beyond pricing to include everything else about how we generate demand and convert it to leases.

As with PRM, we’ll need to modify the concept of demand management to the unique characteristics of multifamily housing. Doing so uncovers the key drivers to managing demand within our capacity constraints:

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Topics: Demand Management