The Demand Solutions Blog

How to Measure the Impact of Technology on Rent Growth

Posted by Donald Davidoff on August 11, 2020

In recent weeks we've been examining some changes to technology adoption through the COVID-dominated months of 2020. Curb-to-couch access control and self-show are obvious examples of innovations that have become a necessity as communities have grappled with social distancing. But as we discussed last week, we still need to understand the numbers when considering technology investments.

Most of the time, proptech investment decisions turn on whether or not the cost can be justified through rent increases. But rent growth is a complicated thing, particularly when it is influencing an investment decision. Correlation is not causation, and given the typically broad range of factors that influence rent growth, it is never easy to isolate the role of a single factor in driving it.

The challenge is to find evidence of the impact of the technology on rent growth. That means getting comfortable with estimates of future rent increases and, assuming they justify moving forward with implementation, conducting tests to prove revenue lift.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Multifamily Technology

5 Ways Smart Multifamily Communities Generate Higher Returns

Posted by Dom Beveridge on August 04, 2020

Over the last year or so, as proptech has exploded, showering the multifamily industry with new and exciting technology, it has become harder to understand the return on technology implementations. As we wrote earlier this year in our 20 for ‘20 white paper, an ever-growing vendor population is competing to deliver ostensibly the same benefits to multifamily communities and companies. To make good decisions, operators have had to sharpen their ability to estimate financial benefits.

The problem gets harder still when a technology offers numerous sources of potential upside. Smart home technology is just such a case, with the combination of access control, thermostats and leak detection providing numerous ways to improve operations and customer experience. The challenge is to identify a credible and measurable source of upside, and figure out whether or not the investment makes sense.     

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Multifamily Technology, COVID-19

18 Months That Shook Multifamily Leasing (And What’s Next)

Posted by Dom Beveridge on July 28, 2020

Several months ago I started to write a post about the extraordinary changes to leasing processes that we had seen over the previous 12 months. The post, which was to be called “12 months that shook multifamily leasing” went on hold as COVID-19 took over our industry discourse. Few would have predicted the breakneck acceleration of automated leasing that has taken place in the first half of 2020. It has caused us at D2 to discuss extensively and to speculate on what this all means for the future of leasing. I will share some of our thoughts in this post.

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Topics: Multifamily Technology, COVID-19

Two Multifamily Misconceptions About Smart Home Technology

Posted by Dom Beveridge on July 22, 2020

Now I'll admit that it's hard to remember what was going on in the days before the COVID-19 lockdown disrupted our industry, but stuff was going on. New technologies were already transforming operating models before any lockdown started. Forward-thinking operators were already reaping the benefits, removing friction from the day-to-day lives of their residents and site teams, and creating new automation opportunities.

In our March 2020 "20 for '20" white paper, we noted the remarkable acceleration in the industry's acceptance and adoption of self-show in the previous 12 months. As social distancing measures have forced operators to find ways to show apartments without human interaction, adoption has accelerated more quickly than anyone anticipated.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Multifamily Technology, COVID-19

Multifamily's BI Evolution (Not Revolution)

Posted by Dom Beveridge on June 30, 2020

When we come to write the history of the changes that coronavirus forced upon multifamily, there will be plenty to say about its impact on technology. With social distancing virtualizing property operations, demand for proptech has skyrocketed, for example (as we will discuss on this blog in the next few weeks). But as companies have accommodated work from home, another, more traditional technology has come to the fore: Business Intelligence (BI).

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Topics: BI & Analytics, Multifamily Technology, COVID-19

20 for ‘20 - What a Difference a Year Makes!

Posted by Dom Beveridge on March 24, 2020

As many of you will already be aware, we recently published the 2020 edition of our 20 for '20 white paper.  Just as we did a year ago, we sat down with another 20 senior executives to get their perspectives on the outlook for the immediate future. Of course, the interviews took place before the coronavirus disrupted our 2020 plans, but the findings tell us a lot about what companies are working on from a technology perspective. As we shall summarize in this post, the industry has experienced a significant year over year shift. 

In our new 2020 paper, we have identified a new set of trends and observations about current projects and priorities, some of which we will highlight on this blog in the coming weeks. But below, we will recap the five big findings from last year and see what's changed in the interim.

1. No more "One Big Project" dynamic

A year ago, we were struck by the number of respondents (a half) who reported having spent 2018 focusing on a single project that had dominated their year, effectively consuming all IT delivery capacity other than business as usual. Seven of the ten had been PMS switches or major upgrades, in itself an anomaly.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Multifamily Technology

The Coming Dichotomy of Multifamily Leasing

Posted by Dom Beveridge on March 02, 2020

Where I come from (the UK), the English language is peppered with curious variations. One of the strangest is the perpetual controversy over the pronunciation of the word "scone." Everybody pronounces the vowel either as "own" or "on." Which side of the divide that people fall on follows no clear regional or socio-economic pattern. People adopt one pronunciation or the other and never change thereafter. And everybody is convinced that people who pronounce it the other way are entirely wrong to do so.

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Topics: Multifamily Technology, Leasing

NMHC Annual 2020: When Even White Shirts Get Disrupted

Posted by Dom Beveridge on January 23, 2020

It’s not often that one finds oneself struggling to stay warm in Florida, but it’s been happening this week in Orlando, where we’ve been these last couple of days, along with a few thousand of our closest friends at the 2020 NMHC annual meeting.  

Among the gathered throng of multifamily dealmakers huddled (mostly indoors to avoid the cold) one could not help but notice a marked break from the previously mandatory uniform of grey pants, white shirt and blue blazer.  Many attendees commented on the degree of self-expression in the clothing (we’re talking blue, and even the occasional checkered, shirts) and the apparent disruption of a long-established order. But it was a different type of disruption that grabbed at least some of the attention this week.

About that tipping point

On Wednesday we were treated to a rapid-fire panel featuring luminaries of three technologies that have more potential than anything to transform multifamily operations. A succession of providers of AI leasing agents; smart home technologies and self-tour came to the stage to answer questions from operators.  The dialogue - although too quick to do much more than whet the appetite for further research and discussion - touched on some themes to which our industry should be paying attention.

As Rick Haughey (NMHC’s VP of Industry Technology Initiatives) reminded us at the start of the session, our industry has moved “from laggard to leader” in proptech.  A year ago in our 20 for ‘20 white paper, we noted that the industry was at a technology tipping point, largely because of those three technologies.  What’s impressive is the progress that has been made in 12 months.

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Topics: Multifamily Technology, Leasing, Industry Events

Five Hot Takes from NMHC OPTECH

Posted by Dom Beveridge on November 15, 2019

I think it was probably a record, and by some distance.  A whopping 2,300+ attendees were registered for NMHC OPTECH, and it made for a busy, busy show.  It will take us some time to decompress, organize and reflect on the many learnings and insights.  While we do that, here are a few instant reactions from the show.

Self-tour is HOT! 

Attitudes to several key technologies are quite different this year compared to a year ago. Nowhere is this more apparent than self-tour.  Last year, as we interviewed operations and technology leaders for 20 for ‘20, we were surprised at the push-back against this exciting and impactful technology.  While the range of views remains wide, the tide has clearly turned.

You might say that self-show has officially taken the place of short-term rentals as the hottest topic in the industry, as evidenced by the standing room only crowd at the “Cage Match” session on Tuesday.  Several companies who are experimenting with self tours shared their experiences, which ranged from working with the tech solutions to running manual tests with their on-site staff handing out keys. The panelists shared their excitement about the initial success and stats they've seen thus far, and it seems set to grow in 2020.

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Topics: Multifamily Technology, Industry Events

NMHC OPTECH 2019: We Need To Talk About Pricing

Posted by Dom Beveridge on November 04, 2019

Can it really be time for NMHC OPTECH already? It appears so, and I’m looking forward to joining industry leaders and technology luminaries next week for what is usually one of the highlights of the fall, as we make our way to Dallas to learn about what’s new and what’s working in multifamily technology.

There are many reasons to be excited. It looks like there will be a record crowd for this year’s show, and it’s probably the proliferation of exciting new proptech that’s drawing the audience. But alongside the new and shiny, we will be taking some time to celebrate 18 years of multifamily Pricing and Revenue Management (PRM). This year I’m delighted to be leading the first PRM panel that’s taken place at OPTECH for years.

The fact that PRM has been strangely neglected for a few years at this leading technology show is at the heart of what this panel is all about. February of this year marked the 18th anniversary of the first-ever system implementation. However, the last ten of those years have coincided with unprecedented industry growth. There is good reason to think that it may be time to re-sharpen our focus on this critical capability and the technology that supports it.

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Topics: Revenue Management, Multifamily Technology, Industry Events