AIMx, The Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference’s Vendor Partner Discovery, event took place on Thursday. Industry experts from companies including RentCafe, ICONIQ Capital, Real Estate Business Analytics and Airbnb trends around multi-family housing, property management of the future and new technology solutions are discussed.
The Property Management Company of the Future – Progress Report
Heather Wallace, managing director at Stupidwith Carol Enoch, CEO of Enoch and Coand Jaja Jackson, senior vice president at ICONIQ Capital, talked about how management companies can better position themselves to better help their clients.
Tips for real estate companies, or PropCo, provided in the virtual event included being flexible, listening to consumers, building partnerships with aligned incentive structures and getting in the weeds.
Jackson talked about the property management company that uses as well as partially owns ICONIQ, Central. After realizing that innovations could be made in the multifamily market, and that there was not yet a property management company that could fully provide what ICONIQ needed in one location, Sentral was started. Jackson noted that a deep partnership stems from a collaborative relationship as well as access to centralized key information.
“Having more access to better information faster creates a greater bond of respect between the owner and the operator. It’s that change that creates the resourcefulness for deeper partnership,” Jackson said.
Other trends discussed in this part of the conference include virtual tours.
“Virtual tours are here to stay,” Wallace said. Enoch and Jackson agreed, adding that a high percentage of tours are now virtual and will remain so. Elements such as virtual tours are one way service providers can move themselves closer to an owner’s mindset in terms of their offerings.
Budget Season: How to Determine and Justify Your SEO Budget
Esther Bonardi, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Head of REACH by RentCafegave a presentation on understanding the impact of search engine optimization and how to make the case for including it in future business decisions.
Bonardi noted that to justify the case for why SEO is so important, one has to look at the financials. She said that the return on investment for professional SEO marketing is much greater than other forms of paid advertising. Case studies show that organic leads from optimized versus unoptimized websites are much higher. Return on ad spend is often in the triple digits for SEO, while other sources of advertising often only have a return on ad spend in the single digits.
Good SEO providers will have automated ways to collect volume and data from click-through rates, query data, bounce rates, etc. detect and analyze. SEO providers are constantly working.
“SEO doesn’t set it and forget it. It’s ongoing,” Bondardi said. She went on to say that SEO is the lowest cost, highest producing paid marketing source available.
ALSO READ: Drive your SEO strategy to outperform the competition
Data pain to data gain: REBA
Owners, operators and asset managers need to make smart decisions quickly. Meaningful insights come from analyzing rich data. In rental housing, real estate technology capabilities have increased, creating more data that can be time-consuming to sort through. Donald Davidoff, co-founder and CEO of REBA, said that a single source of data and truth is possible through REBA.
Davidoff showed how REBA creates 3D building models as opposed to charts and graphs so business owners can look in one place for occupant, financing, maintenance and management data.
Furnished rentals, short-term rentals and the future of living
Lisa Tully-Lavian, SVP of Marketing at Centraland Curtis Palmer, EVP of acquisitions and capital markets at Dreamscape Companiesdiscuss post-COVID initiatives around flexible short-term rentals and the future of what consumers want.
“We want to disrupt what is happening in the industry. We understand that today’s renters are looking for something new,” said Tully-Lavian. She said that Sentral offers residents any length of stay. Sentral is backed by ICONIQ as well as Bozzuto.
“Lisa said the future in short-term rentals. I think it’s the present,” Palmer said.
There is a misconception that residents are against short-term rentals in their apartment buildings, Tully-Lavian noted. Home sharing, as a convenience, is a way to have flexibility and earn a living. There is a value proposition in long-term rentals as well as short-term rentals and home sharing, depending on what residents are looking for. This is just one of the many ways to attract and retain tenants.
“There is no cost to share a home,” Palmer said. Dreamscape Companies and Sentral embrace changing times and bring home sharing and short-term rentals as an addition to their management structures in multifamily buildings. Incorporating these types of options into traditional rentals is their business model.
“Flexible living is the future, and the people who are going to move on it first are going to do best,” Palmer said.
Maximizing Real Estate Asset Value
Jesse Stein, Global Head of Property at Airbnband Steve Lefkovits, executive producer of Joshua Tree Conference Group, discusses how multifamily is benefiting from new innovations and changing trends. Airbnb works with partners who are owners of apartment communities to create tools and initiatives to benefit residents to earn incremental income when they travel.
“I think the best example is a property we launched in San Diego earlier this year,” Stein said. He went on to describe a property where residents can rent out their homes while the property owners have controls and transparency as well as a dashboard. He noted that hosts in this property earn enough through Airbnb in incremental revenue to pay for 61 percent of their rent. This benefits both residents and owners. Residents who live full time in the asset open their homes and earn money. Plus, property managers collect a small commission on that income. There is additional flexibility and earning potential for both parties.
“At the end of the day, people are looking for flexibility in where the puck goes. Plus, costs are going up, and people need a place to live, but people also want to travel,” Stein said. He argues that this is a way to create a unique real estate experience as well as a unique living experience.
“We’re always iterating and coming up with new concepts, and we scale those concepts,” Stein said. “We will grow”.