Marketing Analytics Jan27

Marketing Analytics

How do you create the perfect property marketing strategy? One that delivers the biggest ROI for your budget? In the days of flyers, yard signs and billboards, creating a winning marketing program used to be somewhere between a guessing game and an art form. But now that most rental searches begin (and sometimes finish) online, successful property marketing is more of a science thanks to the amount of data available. Today, property marketers can access data on prospects, leads and leases from multiple sources. Taken as a whole, these make up the marketing analytics that can make or break your strategy. “In terms of marketing, we understand you have a few critical priorities to keep your units filled and drive good revenue. First, you have to create a marketing and lead generation strategy. Then, you have to monitor and evaluate the success of your strategy. And finally, you have to adjust your plan to make sure you are getting the very best results for the least amount of spend,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. “But it’s difficult to compile and compare the data you need. That’s where a lot of good marketing strategies fall apart. And it’s where RENTCafé Marketing IQ can help.” What marketing analytics are important to property marketers? To effectively increase marketing ROI and reduce spend, these are a few of the data points you should keep a close watch on: Total exposure: Understand not only current vacancy and availability, but also month-to-month leases and uncommitted lease expirations to gain a better view of your total vacancy risk and greater insight into how much marketing is needed. Prospects by source: Compare the number of prospects each source brings in. When you understand where the greatest volume of leads is coming from, you’ll know which sources are ideal for creating awareness, an especially important metric during a lease-up or rebrand. Leases by source: Compare the number of leases each source delivers over any period. Which sources are outperforming others? Are there any that aren’t performing at all? Conversion rate by source: Compare the conversion rate of each source. Getting a lot of leads is good but getting a lot of targeted leads that convert is better. Where are you seeing the most success? These are the sources you should focus your spend on when there’s a need to fill vacancies. Cost by vendor: Compare the cost of each vendor to see where you are spending the most each month. Cost per prospect: Determined by dividing the total marketing costs by the number of prospects. How much are you spending to increase brand awareness? Cost per lease: See how much you are paying for each lease. Are you paying too much to an ILS that doesn’t deliver? Where are you getting leads for less? This data point shows you where you may have opportunities to redistribute or cut your budget. Taken individually, these metrics are easy to understand. But it can be challenging to get them all in one place for analysis quarterly — let alone monthly or weekly. And how do you know you can trust the lead data sent to you by vendors? Knowing that customers interact with your brand an average of seven times before converting, how can you be sure that the leads you’re paying for truly converted because of that source? Top property marketers use marketing analytics software to aggregate and analyze this data for them. In doing so, they save time, cut through the noise and gain transparency into the success of their efforts. And while, in the past, it could be difficult to garner enthusiasm for the marketing budget from external stakeholders, analytics tools like Marketing IQ make it simple to show them the numbers to support any proposal. What’s Marketing IQ? Marketing IQ is a powerful marketing analytics tool for RENTCafé clients. It delivers fast, accurate,...

Smart Guide to Proptech Software

So, you’ve decided to invest in innovative property management software to navigate the challenges of remote work and our changing economy. One look around the proptech marketplace reveals that there are dozens of options available. Many seem to offer similar services. With so many options on the market, how do you know what’s right for you? Below are five key features to look for when choosing property management software. Seamless integration with the ancillary software There are plenty of property management solutions that are compatible with ancillary software. There are, however, a few problems with integration between different platforms: Primarily, there is no guarantee of long-term integration. When you’re dealing with two separate companies, there are opportunities for acquisitions and other changes that may affect long-term compatibility and availability of either product. Secondly, there are two software systems that need regular updates. That means more maintenance and headaches for your staff. When one system receives an update, you can only hope for the best with the other. If they’re not in sync, you may experience delays, lose functionality or accuracy. That’s wasted time for your staff and costly errors for you. Seamless integration occurs when both the property management software and ancillary products function on a single platform by a single provider. Such integration ensures optimal efficiency and accuracy in the long-term because there is less work to keep products and data in sync. Mobile-ready and browser agnostic A web-based property management solution is essential as remote work environments become more commonplace. Web-based and mobile-ready software allows you and your team to work without being tethered to the leasing office. When working from home, out in the field or travelling, you can securely access the information you need. Your office staff will be empowered to complete rent payments and procurement online –checks, money orders, debit and credit cards, and even cash—without prolonged processing times, fewer in-person meetings and zero trips to the bank. Additionally, browser agnostic software (easily accessible with any major web browser) increases user flexibility. You can get the job done on any operating system including Android, iOS and Windows and with any browser such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Automated tools that promote efficiency Both remote and in-office employees benefit from tools that help them focus on what’s important and bypass tedious tasks. Fortunately, today’s property management software offers impressive automation tools. In marketing, customizable automation tools deliver targeted messages to prospects, send follow-up correspondences, handle appointment and tour scheduling and even update your ILS. Once your prospect becomes a resident, systems can automatically transfer prospect data to a resident file without redundant data entry. Staff can automate workflows including leasing, move-ins and move-outs, work orders, purchase orders and check writing. Those features are just a sample of the automated services available through modern property management software and add-ons. Automation frees up time for staff members to focus on building relationships, closing sales and earning loyalty. Scalability Is the software prepared to grow with you? Property management software is a powerful, long-term investment. Consider a solution that will grow with you through pandemic recovery and beyond. Protect your investment by choosing a platform that is configurable to your current needs and scalable to your future. Innovative solutions make it easy to add and integrate marketing, customer relationship management, procurement, facilities management, energy management and business intelligence solutions as needed. Save time by skipping new core product evaluations and training as your organization and needs grow. Built-in enterprise management and accounting all in realtime When it comes to accounting and property data, few things matter more than safety, consistency, accuracy and transparency. Seek property management software with built-in accounting that meets all applicable accounting standards and regulatory requirements. With cloud services, accounting and property data can produce real-time reports with a single source of truth for more informed decision making. Get 8 questions to ask before choosing...

Multifamily Outlook Jan26

Multifamily Outlook

After a year ravaged by disease, division, job losses and economic hardship, expectations for the multifamily industry in 2021 are the subject of a new Yardi Matrix outlook. “While there does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel, it will take some months to get most of the country vaccinated and get businesses operating as normal,” states the report. Job growth has been mostly positive since the summer, but the economy remains nearly 10 million jobs off its peak. Millions of renters continue to struggle to make monthly payments. The $900 billion stimulus package passed at the end of 2020 provided some relief, especially the $25 billion renter assistance, $25 billion for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs and $300 per week supplemental unemployment. “However, another package is likely to be needed in 2021 to keep many families and property owners afloat,” the report’s authors opine. Nationally, rent growth fell only slightly in 2020, but there was a huge variation among metros. Rents and occupancy levels fell sharply in high-cost gateway markets, as renters left crowded and expensive coastal centers. More affordable markets in the Sun Belt, Southwest, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic saw modest rent growth. In 2021, the expectation is that gateway markets will continue to struggle, and the industry will have to deal with weak rent collections, eviction bans, forbearance requests, lobbying for renter aid and new federal mortgage oversight protocols. Despite the challenges, capital flow remains strong. Sales activity dropped about 35% in 2020, but investors are still looking to buy apartments. Agency lenders have had their allocations clipped slightly, but debt availability is also strong. Construction has slowed, with less than 300,000 deliveries in 2020. With more than 750,000 units under construction now, new supply should stay in...

Tracking Vaccinations Jan25

Tracking Vaccinations

Helping residents receive COVID-19 vaccinations has become a critical task for senior living community operators. Fortunately, the Yardi EHR electronic health record system makes it easier to manage records associated with that effort. A recently added feature of Yardi EHR is an infection surveillance and immunization dashboard that allows health care staff to document that a resident has received, declined or missed appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. A newly added assessment allows clients to record any side effects exhibited by vaccine recipients. The assessments incorporate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for administering COVID-19 vaccines. The third element of the dashboard allows facilities to identify residents who present symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The Symptom Tracker assessment sends an alert to the dashboard when such symptoms are documented. Staff can add indicators for other infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and hepatitis, which will also populate the dashboard. “These built-in assessments are much easier to navigate than custom tables and other manual methods,” said Ray Elliott, vice president of senior living for Yardi. “Yardi EHR clients will be able to generate comprehensive vaccination reports for a single resident or an entire community with equal ease.” Yardi has dedicated special resources to help clients, communities and employees during the COVID-19...

Senior Living Priorities...

Senior living community operators spent much of 2020 working to stabilize their operating environments. Technology has played a major role in that adaptation. “The need to have technology access in senior living has jumped up a level, and it will stay there,” Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, told Senior Housing News. Zoom meetings, virtual tours, video chats and other capabilities that maximize safe interaction are “likely to continue long after the coronavirus has been contained,” adds a blog article posted by Life Care Services, a Des Moines, Iowa-based senior housing community operator. Eighty percent of respondents to a Senior Housing News survey in August reported increasing their tech spending this year to address the COVID-19 pandemic; 68% said their companies implemented telehealth since the beginning of the crisis. Looking ahead, 87% of survey participants expected their organizations to increase their technology budgets in 2021 for resident monitoring, contact tracing, telehealth, virtual activities for residents, virtual tours for prospects and other operations. “And that’s just the beginning,” Life Care Services says. New applications coming over the horizon “will make life easier, safer and more engaging for residents,” including motion and voice controls that eliminate the need to press buttons or grab handles, virtual reality systems for more immersive community tours, wearable smart technology and even robotic pets for memory care residents. Other areas that senior living operators are targeting for expanded investment include resident safety and emergency call systems, air purification and other infection control measures, wellness programs, and sales and marketing. Access to technology will also become a larger factor in families’ evaluation of senior living options going forward. “If you go into a community … and there’s no Wi-Fi in the room, people will not put up with that,”...

Angela’s House

Even brief lives can leave a lasting impact. Baby Angela Policastro departed from this world shortly after her first birthday. Her life inspired the creation of a unique non-profit that supports medically frail children and their families. Yardi united efforts to support this groundbreaking organization. About Angela’s House Angela’s House is a not-for-profit agency that offers support and services for the families of medically fragile children. By coordinating an array of essential home care services, Angela’s House gives families an opportunity to focus on each other rather than finding, negotiating, funding and scheduling necessary resources. Home care services were only the beginning. Since 1992, the organization has expanding to include three residences. On average, the residences and home services serve 600 children each year. Programs cover medical supplies, therapeutic equipment, assistive technology, home modifications, respite, counseling and crisis assistance as well as special camps and other enrichment resources. These offerings are called the Everyday Wishes, providing for the everyday needs of kids as well as critical care. Angela’s House + Yardi The Angela’s House 3K Walk raises funds for the Everyday Wishes. Yardi has participated in the walk for the past three years. The 2020 Virtual 3K Walk theme, “At Your Place, Your Pace” encouraged participants to practice social distancing while supporting the organization. Patrons walked with their families, friends and neighbors to raise funds for the cause. CSD team leader Mark Skapinski and fellow planning committee members Sue LaGuardia, Joseph Montesano, and Cristine Gleason led the initiative at Yardi. #TeamYardi showed up in full force! In total, 31 Yardi employees participated in the walk, including eight from CSD. Different departments walked at different times, continuing support for the organization throughout the day. CSD team members walked with one another via Microsoft Teams video...

Dial Senior Living Jan19

Dial Senior Living

Dial Senior Living, manager of more than 2,100 independent living, assisted living and memory care units in seven U.S. states, embraces a philosophy of continuously improving its offerings. Along with providing caring, comfortable communities, “we’re also committed to investing more than our competitors in staffing, entertainment, technology, ambiance, quality goods and services, and overall lifestyle,” says Ted Lowndes, president of the Omaha, Neb.-based company. As part of their ongoing technology and quality initiatives, Dial leaders recently evaluated the programs they used to manage marketing, care and other operations. They found that the separate and uncoordinated systems in place duplicated information gathering and limited reporting capabilities. Perhaps worst of all, according to Michael Bowles, project coordinator for Dial, “our executives couldn’t generate reports. They had to put in a ticket, which made them and our investors wait. We wanted a more efficient reporting workflow and more responsive investor service.” These findings prompted Dial to seek out Yardi Senior IQ, a business intelligence solution that compiles operational and financial data from the Yardi Voyager Senior Housing technology platform. Reports generated by Yardi Senior IQ delivers in-depth insight into Dial’s occupancy, finances and other performance metrics. The solution also automatically compiles custom reports requested by the company’s investors. “Yardi Senior IQ is fantastic because it establishes orderly workflows and creates new reports from existing ones, complete with custom dashboards. Investors can get very specific information on demand without having to wait for us to send it,” Bowles says. “Our marketing, care and finance teams work as one team now because nobody is duplicating somebody else’s data compilation. That has drastically cut down manual tasks and helped us maintain operations with fewer people onsite, an important consideration in the COVID-19 era.” By replacing spreadsheets with a single connected...

Behind the Scenes Jan18

Behind the Scenes

Take a look behind-the-scenes of the Yardi Corporate Training group to discover what drives their performance and how they help new employees develop the skills needed to be effective, thoughtful and proactive. Online training and onboarding Yardi Corporate Training group has offices in Raleigh, Santa Barbara, Cleveland, Toronto and Saskatoon. A team of 10 provides fellow employees with the knowledge and skills needed to optimally perform their jobs. “The team objectives are to offer programs that will foster career and personal development either in job-specific training or soft skills,” explains Jamie Hall, team lead. “We provide new employee training, training through our Aspire product and employee webinars. Our well-designed programs help employees become more productive and efficient, increase motivation, reduce turnover and help convey our company culture.” Hall has 20 years of experience in education and training. He joined Yardi five years ago, drawn to the company culture. “I learned more about Yardi and the culture that just made me enjoy my work much more. I think it’s important to share the Yardi culture with new employees so that culture continues as we grow,” says Hall. He and the Corporate Training team have worked closely with the Yardi Aspire department to educate about 500 employees each year. That includes new employee training and onboarding. Hall leverages the Aspire product to deliver knowledge and information to new hires across the globe. It’s a testimony to the strength of Aspire and the company’s confidence in its own product. Learn how you can automatically distribute role-based learning plans for your organization. The power of cloud-based eLearning A challenge for workplace students translates to a challenge for the Corporate Training team. With over 7,000 employees worldwide, the greatest challenge to date has been access. “One of the challenges...

Saving Retail Jan15

Saving Retail

Do you remember when online shopping first began to disrupt brick and mortar stores? Shops struggled before the pandemic and now they face additional hurdles. Fortunately, small business owners are creative and resilient. We interviewed several small business owners and marketers to learn how they’re staying in business and keeping customers engaged during the pandemic. Re-creating the in-store experience Consultations, semi-private + private shopping Exclusive, in-store shopping experiences were once reserved for the rich and famous. Big-name customers could arrange to shop outside of operating hours or arrange have the shop vacant during their visit. While this is still the case, there are new players on the field. Tiny shops lifted a page from the celebrity handbook. These small stores limit the number of people permitted in the building to create a more private shopping experience. The added benefit is that customers gain more one-on-one attention and support from clerks. “This is a terrific way to permit in-person shopping while building customer loyalty and encouraging good online reviews,” says Edith Peele, owner of Simple Threads clothing boutique near Covington, GA. “We’re limiting the number of shoppers for safety, but it feels more like an exclusive, fancy shopping experience.” Interactive shopping A second opinion can be an incredibly valuable thing. You’ve likely been there: you have two (or more) products that you like. You need to narrow down your options but can’t seem to make a decision on your own. You reach for a second opinion. That second opinion can now be a store clerk on FaceTime or in a chat window. It’s a relatively simple way to encourage safe interaction and a value-add service not found in larger online-only retailers. Make gift preparation a breeze By preparing online purchases as gifts, retailers take three...

Benefits of Pets Jan14

Benefits of Pets

Did you know that pets offer several health benefits for seniors? Furry, feathered and scale- friends have long received respect as dear companions. Pet ownership also offers direct physical and mental health benefits that are essential during quarantine. Companionship comforts Quarantine exacerbates feelings of loneliness and isolation that seniors may already experience. Pets, with their unique personalities, preferences and interests, offer seniors a companion when friends and family are unable to visit. Pets ease feelings of loneliness and distress. Dr. Helen Louise Brooks and her team at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom screened more than 8,000 articles and reviewed 17 papers on the subject. She reports,“Pets provided acceptance without judgment, giving unconditional support, which [participants] were often not receiving from other family or social relationships,” says Dr. Brooks. Improve mental health Pets should be included in patient care plans, particularly when diagnosed or self-reported mental illness is a factor. Dr. Kelly Rushton co-authored a study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry. She discovered that pet ownership resulted in several positive outcomes for patients’ mental health. Participants living with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder reported improvement in symptoms. Study participants report that pets provide a sense of unconditional love while helping them manage their emotions. Patients who were subject to violent outburst experienced better self-regulation and fewer acts of aggression. Patients who used to fixate on the symptoms of their mental health found a positive distraction in their pet. “We feel that pet ownership has a valuable contribution to mental health, so should be incorporated into individual care plans of patients,” says Rushton. Improved mood + outlook Caring for and interacting with a pet produces serotonin, the chemical hormone that promotes positivity and happiness. Serotonin is essential for mood stabilization and...

Technology Tools

Isolation is necessary to keep senior living community members healthy during the pandemic – and a challenge to their well-being in other ways. As HealthTech magazine put it, “Important safety measures to keep high-risk people isolated during the pandemic hold a particular disadvantage for older adults in assisted living.” While the absence of sustained interaction can’t be completely mitigated as COVID-19 runs its course, a number of collaboration tools give senior living community residents vital mental and physical stimulation plus social engagement with the outside world. “Advances in technology for senior living are more focused on improving quality of life, providing data that enhances housing and developing personal devices that give seniors more control over their environment,” according to Craig Fukushima, managing partner for The Fox Group LLC, a health care consulting firm in Upland, Calif. Many of the technology tools leveraged by older adults are familiar to the non-senior population: smartphones, tablets, videoconferencing, telehealth. HealthTech reports that residents at Connecticut-based Maplewood Senior Living, for example, use iPads for video chats, virtual cocktail hours and birthday parties. A Thrive Senior Living community in Germantown, Md., added Alexa-enabled voice control and smart speaker devices. And Seattle-area operator Merrill Gardens outfitted seven of its communities with devices that support video calls with family and activities such as virtual card games and trivia contests. Video games are another way to keep seniors active. Fitness trackers can help them count steps, compete in competitions and create workout routines. Other apps offer quizzes, puzzles and other stimulating activities. The gap between tech-savvy younger generations and their elders is narrower than some people might think. An AARP survey published in January 2020 revealed that 51% of older Americans bought a smartphone, smart television, wearable device or other tech product in...

2021 Outlook Jan12

2021 Outlook

For more than 40 years, PwC and the Urban Land Institute have produced a trends and forecast publication. The 2021 edition of Emerging Trends in Real Estate summarizes views gathered in interviews and surveys of more than 2,950 property owners, investors, fund managers, brokers and others in the U.S. and Canada. COVID-19 dominates virtually every examination of real estate, and Emerging Trends is no exception. Yardi Matrix reported, for example, that multifamily property sales through the third quarter were down more than 41% from the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, 33% of office-space decision-makers participating in a study sponsored by BOMA International, Yardi and Brightline Strategies reported experiencing at least a 25% revenue decline since the pandemic’s onset. Here are some highlights from the 111-page PwC/Urban Land Institute report: “COVID-19 has kicked real estate certainty to the ground,” the publication says, with confidence in future demand for many property types having dropped precipitously in 2020. But technology has eased adaptation to the drastic measures prompted by the pandemic. Millions of office workers successfully transferred to remote environments, for example. The report notes, “The WFH experiment has gone better than most managers and employees had expected, since new teleconference tools and advanced information technology systems have allowed for effective communication and collaboration.” Many who contributed to the report predict that measures adopted during the pandemic will continue when workers return to the office, including flexible hours, reduced shared spaces, ongoing enhancement of building environmental systems, and physical barriers. The report also speculates that some companies might consider abandoning the consolidated model of leasing and using office space in favor of a hub-and-spoke system with satellite offices. And, the report notes, “Significant opportunities to operate and manage buildings more efficiently are ahead as well,” as property management technology providers deliver solutions that “gather, organize, and use data to reduce costs, identify risks, and more proactively operate buildings; identify appropriate investment strategies; and better serve tenants.” Property owners are also likely to continue making investments in technologies that strengthen cybersecurity, ensure business continuity and assess a building’s compliance with heightened health standards. With companies increasingly focused on controlling costs, those investment will most likely target immediate critical necessities. Tech is also driving profound changes in the multifamily sector. The report quotes an unidentified major apartment landlord: “The pandemic changed how people lease apartments. Online tours and processes are now preferable, and while some reversion to in-person tours may occur, we believe that online interaction will be acceptable in most cases. Reluctance to adopt technology is a key challenge, and COVID has been an opportunity to change that.” Demand for smart-home technology such as touchless controls on sinks, motion sensor lights and voice commands also figures to increase, the report says. Yardi continues to dedicate special resources to help clients, employees and communities weather the COVID-19...

Senior Living Industry Jan11

Senior Living Industry...

“Heading into 2020,” Senior Housing News reported last January, “many senior living providers are focused on making investments to upgrade the resident experience, to stand out in a competitive landscape and appeal to future consumers.” Those investments are happening, albeit in different circumstances than could have been anticipated. Even before the pandemic, Barron’s noted, “The senior-living industry was already in a state of flux—adjusting to longer life spans, more-active retirements, a labor shortage, and changing desires for care.” A task force convened by the International Council on Active Aging identified six principal areas that will define the “next normal,” including community designs that optimize social distancing and technology that increases connections and efficiency. The imperative to maintain resident and family engagement in the senior living environment makes digital programming and other technology a top priority for senior living operators, says Detroit-based integrated design firm SmithGroup: “We must design to enable quality of care and flexibility in facilities … while balancing design solutions that protect and promote the social and mental wellness of residents and staff.” To enhance social connections, for example, some communities have implemented videoconference technology that lets residents engage in fitness classes, medical appointments, spiritual services, community activities and more from computers or mobile devices. Other likely developments on the horizon include the establishment of multiple ecosystems within a community, upgrades to HVAC and other building systems, enhanced infection prevention measures, continuing staff and resident testing, visitor screening and additional protective equipment. Yardi software solutions help senior living community operators work more efficiently by automating processes associated with marketing, leasing, record-keeping, resident care and more. Learn...

Asset Performance Jan06

Asset Performance

Industry leaders from Grubb Properties and MG Properties Group recently shared insights on big data, benchmarking and forecasting with Yardi’s Paul Yount. “You won’t be successful in any market if you don’t have the right tools. You need the data. You have to be ready and prepared,” said Joe Anfuso, chief financial officer at MG Properties Group. Nothing could have been truer for real estate companies in 2020. With unanticipated challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate operators had to act fast to protect their bottom lines and keep staff and residents safe. For most companies, that meant adopting technology to transform their businesses. Read on to learn how Grubb Properties and MG Properties Group have been using Asset IQ, part of the Yardi Elevate suite of multifamily solutions, to guide decisions and improve performance with better data. Pivoting to online services With the growing demand for contactless leasing and transactions, many operators have made the pivot to doing business online. And it’s likely that contactless leasing — including self-guided tours — will be around long after the pandemic. Additionally, asset intelligence driven by big data has been guiding real estate operators through challenging times and will continue to lead the way. “2020 budget numbers were very different from what we projected in 2019. We didn’t see the normal seasonal changes, and budgets were pretty much out the window which has made competitor and peer data very important to accurately measure performance. We need to know how we’re measuring up to our competitors, what concessions and lease terms we’re offering and if we’re keeping the back door closed to avoid being in a vulnerable position,” said Shawn Cardner, executive vice president of Grubb Properties. According to Joe Anfuso, you need to start with...

Future of Leads + Leasing...

How has the pandemic permanently altered multifamily housing? This is one of the many questions explored during the 2020 National Apartment Association APTvirtual conference. The event hosted 63 breakout sessions and five TED-style Game Changer sessions that helped participants tackle tough questions. The Connect with Execs session offered a unique opportunity for guests to talk to Anant Yardi, founder and president of Yardi. Together, participants explored technologies that surged during the pandemic and are now industry standards. “The pandemic has accelerated the transition of digital media and the use of digital media,” observed Mr. Yardi. “AI is such an important topic. AI, big data and IoT are three topics that are taking a lot of attention.” He continued, “These are the technologies that are coming to the forefront. This is what we mean by innovation, bringing tech to the market for the benefit of the industry.” Artificial intelligence and chatbots, our new coworkers Technologies that leverage artificial intelligence, such as chatbots, bridge the gap between live customer service and cost efficiency. Chatbots permit leasing agents to focus on high-value tasks instead of repetitive inquiries. When leasing agents are not available, chatbots offer a natural supplement to their services. RENTCafé Chat IQ can guide prospects through the leasing journey by readily presenting information on pricing and availability, tour scheduling, pet policies and more. It communicates via chat and text and will soon have capabilities for emails, calls and in-app messages. Chatbot interactions are natural, intelligent and accurate. The engine has learned, for example, that “What r ur business hours” is actually the question “What are your business hours?” It uses natural language processing to understand typos and improper grammar. Machine learning enables AI engines to adapt to human speech and writing patterns. With each interaction,...

Remote Employee Burnout Jan03

Remote Employee Burnout...

Employee burnout is a pain point for many property managers. It’s a major contributor to high turnover, which is costly, time consuming and quickly depletes employee morale. In remote work environments, there are additional risks and considerations. Fortunately, you can fight back. A few industry experts offer tips, tools and insights to prevent and mitigate burnout amongst your remote staff. Why should you keep an eye on employee burnout? Employee burnout is the first step in a downward spiral that you may recognize: an overwhelmed employee cannot indefinitely sustain a high level of performance. Eventually, job performance suffers, and fellow employees are required to pick up the slack. As other team members compensate, their workloads increase to unsustainable levels. Emotions and frustrations run high, morale plummets and then someone quits. Their workload shifts to other employees, which increases the potential for burnout and the cycle continues. In remote work environments, employees may not have a designated home office or coworking space. This means that they are facing professional and domestic challenges in tandem, potentially quickening the burnout cycle. It costs between $5,505.80 and $9,444.47 per turnover to replace an entry-level employee. Harvard Business Review reports that the psychological and physical toll of burnout cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending. Eric Garten, partner at global management consulting firm Bain & Company, believes that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “The true cost to business can be far greater, thanks to low productivity across organizations, high turnover, and the loss of the most capable talent.” He continues, “Executives need to own up to their role in creating the workplace stress that leads to burnout—heavy workloads, job insecurity, and frustrating work routines that include too many meetings and far too little time for...

Best Senior Housing Specialists Dec31

Best Senior Housing Specialists

Yardi is proud to acknowledge seven clients that have received recognition among the Fortune 20 Best Large Places to Work for Aging Services. Each client met or exceeded global Great Place to Work Standards. Learn more about some of the best senior housing providers in the industry. (Cited data points were supplied to Fortune as part of each company’s profile.) Brightview Senior Living of Baltimore now has 45 sites and more than 4,600 employees. The implementation of innovative backend and client-facing technology sets the senior housing provider apart from others. To run smoothly, Brightview relies on Yardi for customer relationship management, electronic health records, procurement, and maintenance technologies. Julie Masiello is the SVP of Technology and Marketing. She has observed that, contrary to popular belief, seniors demand access to technology that simplifies their lifestyle and care: “The old way of thinking was that senior living residents wouldn’t be interested in using technology until the baby boomer population ages and begins to move into our communities. But that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Masiello in an interview with Argentum. Silverado Senior Living specializes in providing quality of life for those living with memory-impairing diseases as well as palliative and hospice care services. With headquarters in Irvine, Calif, Silverado has more than 2,100 employees at 31 sites. In response to the Fortune survey, one employee said, “No matter the situation, I know I can count on my administration to always make an ethical choice instead of a business choice. This is what makes it such a great place to work and be proud to serve any client.” Learn how Silverado thrives during uncertain times. MBK Real Estate was born and raised in Irvine. The organization has expanded to 2,200 employees services 33 communities that offer “quality services with genuine care.” That care is embedded into corporate culture. “The management team is very engaged with all the employees. If I need anything, whether I have a problem or not, someone has gone above and beyond they are right there to make sure we are all fine and or congratulating us on a job well done,” says a survey respondent. Continuing Life LLC of Carlsbad, Calif. has over 2,200 employees at six sites throughout the U.S. The organization prides itself on its care methodologies for employees and residents. On the Fortune survey, one employee responded, “During COVID-19, seeing the company find jobs to have all employees working during hard times was very meaningful and says a lot about the company overall.” That care translates to residents as well: “Our financial program has saved residents from the impact that rising health care costs and inflation takes on their fixed incomes,” says Warren Spieker, managing partner of Continuing Life in an interview with Business Wire. Retirement Center Management (RCM) is a sharpshooter from Houston. The organization of 1,900 members sets its sights on “exceptional quality of life and gracious living for residents.” To support its goal, RCM focuses on staff development and training. Per an employee survey response, “I love the fact that this company provides opportunities for growth and development.” The Springs Living of Mcminnville, Ore. puts people first. That includes superior care for residents and advancement opportunities for staff. Staff consists of more than 1,600 people at 17 sites. “I love that they support doing the right thing and are not always concerned with the bottom line. We build relationships, and sometimes that means taking the high road, and I feel they support us all along the way,” reports a satisfied employee. Senior Star is the brainchild of the Thomas brothers, twins from Tulsa with a passion for bringing small-town friendliness into the expanding senior living industry. Senior Star has nearly 1,200 employees across 16 sites. Employees appreciate Senior Star’s attention to detail and willingness to accommodate residents: “Transporting residents to their places of worship is important to them. I can...

Energy Updates Dec30

Energy Updates

Here’s a roundup of recent reports from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy: Wind power flies high in 2020 Project developers expect more than 23 gigawatts of wind turbine generating capacity to come online in the U.S. in 2020, far more than the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012. The impending phase-out of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit at year’s end is leading to more capacity additions than average this year, just as previous tax credit reductions led to significant wind capacity additions in 2012 and 2019. Texas has the most wind turbine capacity among states, with 29.1 GW installed as of August 2020 and another 4 GW expected by the end of the year. Wind’s share of U.S. electricity generation increasing from 7.4% in 2019 to 8.8% in 2020 — more than any other renewable electricity generation source. That share is expected to reach 10.3% in 2021. CO2 emissions reach lows In 2020, carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. energy sector could be 11% lower than in 2019, according to data collected through August and estimates through December. CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 19% for coal, by 13% for petroleum and by 2% for natural gas. Many of this year’s changes in energy-related CO2 emissions are attributable to COVID-19, including working from home, stay-at-home mandates, closed or limited operating hours for several types of businesses and travel restrictions. In April, monthly U.S. energy consumption fell to a 30-year low and emissions reached a record low. Winter bills holding steady U.S. households that primarily use natural gas or electricity will have slightly higher energy expenditures this winter, with households using propane spending 14% more and those relying...

Pivotal Shifts Dec29

Pivotal Shifts

There’s no way to introduce an article about the changes wrought by 2020 that doesn’t underplay the significance of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s affected the way we do everything — limiting travel, increasing screen time and turning even the most basic activity into an exercise in risk management. For people in the multifamily industry, apartment rentals went from a typically high-touch experience to virtually contactless, seemingly overnight. And while some of the changes are only temporary, others are likely to last long after the virus abates. “This year is a pivotal moment that will reshape how we do business,” asserts Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing here at Yardi. “The pandemic is changing our future. How can we use this for good?” Bonardi recently had the chance to talk with three multifamily leaders about their experiences marketing and leasing apartments during the pandemic. Hear from Garin Hamburger, senior director of national marketing at Pinnacle; Ian Mattingly, president of LumaCorp Inc.; and Pei Pei Mirabella, senior vice president of operations at Bozzuto on the emerging trends that will have the biggest impact on multifamily rentals going forward. Bonardi: What do you think was the biggest change in 2020 that has the most potential to become a permanent shift in the way we do business? Hamburger: The biggest change that will last through the pandemic and continue to evolve after it are the creation of alternative tour types, specifically virtual and self-guided tours. I really believe we’re coming into an age where technology will dramatically shift the customer journey and the leasing agent experience. Mirabella: The companies faring better during abrupt shutdowns have the tools and technology in place to pivot operations and enhance productivity while working remotely. In addition to using live and pre-recorded virtual...

Meet CommissionTrac Dec28

Meet CommissionTrac

Yardi announced today the acquisition of CommissionTrac, an Atlanta-based software company that provides revenue management software for commercial real estate companies, with a focus on commercial brokerages. Founded in 2015, CommissionTrac’s software is used by small and large brokerages to manage workflows, from tracking deal pipeline to invoicing clients to paying out commissions to individual brokers. The CommissionTrac team will continue to support their existing clients, while also integrating the platform into Yardi’s CommercialEdge suite. CommercialEdge is a recent addition to Yardi’s suite of products, focused on commercial brokers’ needs. “At CommissionTrac, we’ve spent years developing a product to streamline the operations of a brokerage, while also providing greater visibility to brokers about their commissions,” said Turner Levison, cofounder and CEO of CommissionTrac. “By joining Yardi’s CommercialEdge division, we are excited to accelerate our impact in the commercial real estate space.” “We’re very pleased to welcome the CommissionTrac team to the Yardi family,” said Arjun Rao, senior director of global solutions at Yardi. “The team has built a strong product that perfectly complements our CommercialEdge suite, especially our marketing and deal management products. We are excited to work together to continue to add value to the commercial real estate space.” CommercialEdge, powered by Yardi, consists of marketing and deal management products, as well as a flagship research product that provides extensive property, listing, transaction, ownership and debt information across all commercial real estate asset types. Clients can use the platform to uncover vital market data and insights, market their own listings, and manage deals to execution. About CommissionTrac CommissionTrac was founded on the belief that managing a commercial real estate brokerage should be easier. Our mission is to allow a brokerage of any size to have the tools they need to organize everything from...