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Among the three distinct groups of marketing, revenue management, and screening, who really owns demand for lease prospects at multifamily apartment communities? More importantly, how can firms bring their organizations closer together for better decision-making to affect the volume of leads and lease conversions at single properties and across a portfolio of apartment communities?
“I do love that question of who owns demand, because the answer leads you to who the ultimate transaction gatekeepers are at apartment companies,” said RealPage Vice President of Strategic Systems Rich Hughes, who moderated the Revenue Management and Marketing discussion with Pacific Living Properties Director of Marketing Gina Johnson, JVM Realty Corporation Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Mary Herrold, and NRP Group Vice President of Marketing Scott Villani at the 2013 Apartment Revenue Management Conference.
“Organizationally it comes down to who can effect success,” said Villani as the panel discussed different reporting strategies and ways for organizing executive and operational staff for optimal success. “The success of marketing strategy has gotten ever closer to revenue management, and really if the distance was shortened a little bit more it would likely result in better decision making.”
Like many other companies in the apartment industry, JVM is both excited and challenged by the growing access to and availability of lead, pricing, and transaction and conversion volume from screening, property management, and revenue management technology. “From revenue managers to marketing, we are drilling down to see what systems and strategies are exceling and those that are not working in terms of conversions,” Johnson said. “We have so many tools, and that’s where [enterprise-wide] communication is the most critical, because if we are not doing checks and balances, none of it is going to work.”
While apartment pricing has traditionally been sandwiched between marketing and screening/leasing, the panel suggested that pricing can be a vital component of marketing per se, and that revenue management might better excel as a multifamily operational disciplined if moved into the marketing department. A key to any operational or reporting restructuring to synthesize departments will likely depend on the technological acumen across organizations.
“We all want the best applicant leased up faster than any one else on the street,” explained Herrold. “The beautiful thing about where we are now is that departments are not silos anymore, and the tools we have with revenue management and measuring traffic and lease outcomes are there. So without sounding too preachy I want to encourage all of us to become more disciplined in getting the most out of the tools and not set and forget. The answers are in our systems, we just have to go in and get them out.”
For more, download the Revenue Management and Marketing: Envisioning the New Synthesis presentation.
This information was presented at the 2013 Apartment Revenue Management Conference.
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