The Demand Solutions Blog

Gross Potential Rent: A Case Study in Wrongheadedness

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 22, 2019 8:54:05 AM

In recent weeks we've been both thinking and writing about two things: pricing and revenue management (PRM) skills and the possible impact of an economic downturn.  A recent conversation reminded me of another related topic: the metrics we use to measure performance.

Given the importance of pricing and business analytics to our success, the metrics we choose to measure performance matter.  Yet while the industry has made great strides in employing ever-more sophisticated software, many processes and rules of thumb remain that have not caught up to where the technology is.

There is perhaps no better example than the metric "gross potential rent" (GPR). This metric is so ubiquitous that many property management systems (PMSs) embed it in their data model and standard reports.

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, financial performance, Leasing Performance

Ten Questions Asset Managers Should Ask About Pricing

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Sep 10, 2019 8:26:00 AM

Recently we have written extensively on the skills that are needed to run an effective pricing and revenue management (PRM) organization.  We normally take the perspective of an organization looking to bolster its PRM capabilities - something that we feel companies should focus on after a decade of growth in multifamily.  But there is one important stakeholder group whose perspective we have not addressed as directly as the others: asset management.  

Through our industry connections and our growing roster of institutional ownership clients, we have come to pay more attention to the asset management perspective over the last year or so.  With regard to revenue management, asset managers have the often unenviable task of overseeing the revenue management decision-making of third parties, usually either management companies or software vendors.

In either case, an asset manager has to understand enough about market conditions and strategy to be able to evaluate a property’s pricing tactics.  They must resist getting into the weeds, of which there are many in the case of PRM, but still provide oversight. With this problem in mind, we recommend asking ten questions that will help you understand where your PRM opportunities might be.

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Topics: Pricing, Revenue Management, multi-family housing, pricing and revenue management

It’s the (Revenue Management) Strategy, Stupid!

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Aug 14, 2019 11:03:51 AM

You reach an age when everything reminds you of something in the past, often for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious. A few weeks ago I was talking to a seasoned pricing and revenue management (PRM) practitioner, and I found myself reminded of an old political slogan.

Most readers of this blog are probably too young to remember the 1992 US general election. But after Bill Clinton won it, it came to light that the mantra “It’s the economy, stupid,” had been drilled into campaign staff. The slogan was intended to remind them never to stray from the core theme of the campaign, which was the plight of the American worker. An overarching strategy begat an overarching message that dominated an ultimately successful campaign.

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management, Future

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

Multifamily Pricing: The Danger of “Doing Fine”

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Jun 25, 2019 3:57:01 PM

A couple of weeks ago, we published a post about the risk to multifamily operators of complacency in their approach to pricing and revenue management (PRM).  Frequent readers of this blog will be familiar with this theme, which was a major finding of our 20 for '20 white paper.  To summarize, PRM seems to have slipped from the senior management agenda, resulting in a pervasive view that "PRM is doing fine."

PRM has been doing fine in multifamily for a number of years - in fact, it's been doing exceptionally well, delivering outsized returns for operators and investors alike.  Looking forward, however, our concern is not so much with the current business practice, but its future evolution. With reduced senior management attention and technical innovation delegated to a highly consolidated vendor community, several of the drivers for big change appear to be missing.  To put it another way, the source of the next big thing in PRM is far from clear.

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Topics: Pricing, Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management

Floor Plans: Why Too Much Choice Can Be Worse Than Too Little

Posted by Trachelle Spencer on May 1, 2019 9:45:09 AM

A few weeks ago we discussed the experience of leasing up big projects and the importance of setting up unit type groupings in the pricing & revenue management (PRM) system. In that article I noted that too many operators neglect unit type setup, creating categories that make no more sense to a prospect than a shoe store that grouped all of its shoes by size alone.

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Topics: Revenue Management, multi-family housing

Leasing Up in London - Familiar Challenges in a New Multifamily Market

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Feb 19, 2019 8:04:00 AM

Last week I was in London – the city where I grew up and spent most of my formative years. I have never used trips home to view multifamily real estate, but this time was different. A couple of weeks ago at NMHC Annual, I attended the session that provided an overview of London’s Wembley Park project. With that presentation still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t leave my home town without taking a tour of the development.

For those unfamiliar with the project or its locale, Wembley is home to England’s national soccer stadium. It is familiar to most people as a concert venue, the home of the annual FA Cup final, and the iconic site where England won the World Cup (in 1966). Although it is not far from central London, all paths lead to the imposing stadium that dominates the whole area. Crowds arrive for the game or concert and then leave – or at least that’s the way things used to work. Today a revolution is underway that will change that forever.

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management

Four Common Misunderstandings about Centralized Revenue Management

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jan 23, 2019 12:35:33 PM

There’s an interesting debate we’ve seen start to percolate in pricing and revenue management (PRM) these days—whether to have pricing authority centralized or whether to decentralize it. From the examples we’ve seen with clients and prospects, there seem to be three approaches: 

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Topics: Revenue Management, pricing and revenue management

How to Make That Big Box of Unrealized Revenue Your 2019 Resolution

Posted by Jessica Mills on Jan 7, 2019 11:06:52 AM

Happy new year everyone! Now that the holidays are over, we turn to resolute goal setting for the year to come. My gift to you is a big box of unrealized revenue - if you can make it your 2019 resolution to find it.   

The source of this revenue is unit amenities. This is nowhere near a new concept, and I’m sure you are currently utilizing amenity pricing on your assets as most of the industry now is. However, the amount of revenue we’ve uncovered in our client work from doing amenity analysis is always surprising (maybe even stunning) so much so that it’s hard to remark that as an industry, we’re managing amenity pricing well. There aren’t many ways to dig up that much value so quickly, which is why I’m always shocked that more people aren’t regularly doing this exercise. 

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Topics: Revenue Management, property management, New Year's Resolutions

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