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Post-Pandemic Property Management: How the Industry Has Changed & What’s Here to Stay

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Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across all industries were transitioning digital processes to streamline operations and provide a better customer experience. In the past few months, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in the adoption of technology, especially in property management. What used to be a ‘nice to have’ is now a ‘must have’ for doing business, and as a result property management companies have had to quickly adapt and evolve.

In a recent survey conducted by AppFolio, 46% of property management companies cited “adopting new technology” as a top way they were preparing their business for the future. How have you pivoted your business strategy to continue to serve your residents and maintain continuity? With social distancing, you need creative solutions to conduct showings and retain your residents.

Leasing Tools for the New Normal

Virtual technology can help you attract more prospects, show units, and fill vacancies from anywhere. Some of the tools other property managers have been relying on during this time include virtual showings, self-guided showings, and AI technology. In fact, 71% of property management companies said their priority for implementing virtual showings has increased. However, this change is just not just a band-aid to a short-term problem, but a permanent solution, as 64% of property management companies said they believe virtual showings are here to stay.

Prospects now expect to have access to digital tools when interacting with leasing agents and to be able to self-serve. Evidence has even shown that virtual showings are 2.4 times more likely to be completed than in-person showings. If you don’t already have technology that enables you to conduct your leasing flow remotely, consider implementing digital tools sooner rather than later.

AppFolio’s Virtual Showings allow you to host live 1:1 video walkthroughs of units, so you can still maintain a human touch, while showing prospects the space from afar. In addition, AI technology such as AppFolio’s AI leasing assistant, Lisa can quickly follow up with inquiries and schedule showings on your behalf. By implementing these kinds of virtual technologies you can convert more leads into residents and free up your team from having to manually follow-up with each prospect and show units in-person.

Cambridge Management Group has already seen success in using AppFolio’s latest innovations. With Virtual Showings they have been able to move their entire leasing process online. As a result, they have been able to stay really busy during this time and maintain occupancy.

Why Digital Communications are Key

Along with virtual leasing technology, property management companies have also increased their dependence on digital tools that allow for mass communications to keep their residents informed. For instance, 87% of property management companies believe bulk emails and text messages are here to stay. Now that residents are accustomed to receiving communications and interacting with your property management company digitally, they will expect to be able do so from now on.

As you begin to craft your community’s reopening plan, it’s vital that you keep your residents, teams, and vendors in the loop. With AppFolio’s bulk email/texting functionality, you can quickly communicate details and ensure critical information, such as changing policies, plans, and instructions are clear.

How Teams Have Adapted

With distributed teams working remotely, property management companies have also had to rely heavily on technology to manage their teams and maintain consistency across all properties. In the survey, 48% of property management companies said they were automating and streamlining business processes to prepare for the future.

This is a trend that will likely continue, even after everyone returns to the office, especially now that businesses have experienced the benefits. An integrated software that has real-time flexible reporting, data and analytics, and guided workflows under one solution can help you maximize efficiency and quickly access information from anywhere.

Those who have embraced technology have been better equipped to overcome challenges, and as a result have an overall optimistic outlook on the future — 66% of property management companies said they had either a positive or very positive outlook, and only 4% were pessimistic. If you leverage virtual tools, you’ll be able to adapt to the new normal, stand out from the competition, serve your customers, and prepare for the future.