Proptech: Empowering and Evolving Teams

By Doug Pike |

October 10, 2022 |

Updated October 10, 2022

3 minute read

If the goal is to meet customers where they are – whether it’s online, via chatbot or in person – teams must be prepared and equipped to keep pace. 

PropTech has exploded in multifamily housing, providing an opportunity to transform lean teams into nimble, efficient machines. During the 2022 Apartmentalize session, “PropTech: Empowering and Evolving Teams,” industry experts examined the relationship between technology and operations in terms of ROI and revenue generation.   

Panelists agreed that while technology should not replace personal connections, it can complement the efforts of associates to optimize operations and create more comprehensive prospect and resident experiences. Consider the success of self-guided tours followed by an in-person or video conversation with a leasing agent. Likewise, access control technology and workflow platforms have built efficiencies into the hands-on tasks of maintenance team members. 

Technologies that empower onsite team productivity and property performance are essential. Working in tandem, teams and technology can become powerful drivers of ROI. As the industry continues to move toward a hybrid operations model and considers greater investments in PropTech, there are key factors to consider. 

Evaluating ROI

For most operators, the primary question is how to evaluate cost versus ROI. 

Cindy Clare, Chief Operating Officer at Bell Partners, shared ROI often hinges not on the technology’s ability to deliver but the team’s willingness and ability to put it to use. 

“I can make the decision to put this [technology] out there, but if the teams don’t buy-in, it’s not going to work,” Clare said. “The people who are going to use it have to like and recognize that it’s going to make them more efficient.” 

Solutions that make life easier for associates, and that free up time for associates to maintain person-to-person relationships with residents, are better received and used with greater consistency. Typically, that is going to hinge on successful integration. 

“We look at whether [a PropTech implementation] is going to move the needle, but also whether there are training opportunities in place,” said Kristen Fuechslin, former Executive Vice President of Marketing at The Richman Group. “We don’t want to throw something out there that is going to befuddle our teams or make them less efficient. We don’t want to create more work or more opportunities for mistakes to happen. Integrations are key to making our teams more efficient and limiting redundancies.” 

Renters now expect 24/7 access to teams, and meeting those demands requires outside-the-box solutions, especially with limited staff. The centralization of leasing and operations is the direction most operators are going, and the trend will only increase in the years to come. Identifying technologies that support the transition to centralized operations, boost occupancy and deliver ROI is paramount. 

“With centralization, automations and removing some of those monotonous tasks from our teams, what we’re really talking about is valuing the human aspect and our associates’ time, now more than ever,” said Demetrios Barnes, Chief Operating Officer at SmartRent. “Especially amid the staffing challenges that we’re all facing.” 

Regardless of whether associates are located onsite or in a centralized location, operators must train and re-engage associates for the landscape ahead. If the goal is to meet customers where they are – whether it’s online, via chatbot or in person – teams must be prepared and equipped to keep pace. 

Doug Pike is a Content Manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing.