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Unlocking the Future of Property Management: Key Insights from Apartmentalize 2024

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The National Apartment Association's (NAA) Apartmentalize 2024 in Philadelphia was a vibrant gathering of property management professionals, innovators, and industry leaders. Set against the backdrop of this historic city, the event provided a dynamic platform for exploring the latest trends, technologies, and strategies shaping the future of property management and multifamily housing. Attendees engaged in insightful discussions, networked with peers, and learned from expert panelists, including BGSF's own Betsy Kirkpatrick Cunningham. This year’s conference emphasized the critical balance between technological advancements and the irreplaceable human touch in property management, making it clear that the industry is on the cusp of a significant transformation.



Key Insights from Apartmentalize 2024


The Growth of PropTech: Leveraging Technology and AI in Property Management

Clients are actively exploring how to evolve their operations using technology. A prominent theme throughout many of the PropTech sessions was the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline operations. Industry leaders emphasized how AI can minimize the time spent on mundane tasks such as emails, phone calls, and scheduling. By automating these processes, Property Managers can spend more time with residents and prospective residents, enhancing the human aspect of their roles. This shift allows onsite leaders to focus on creating a better living experience for their communities.


Many properties are also starting to use AI for self-guided tours and command prompts to direct inquiries to the right person. While there are still errors and challenges to address in these systems, the industry is working towards refining these technologies to improve accuracy and enhance the user experience.


The Importance of Managing Resources: Utilizing Centralization and Addressing the Skills Gap

The trend towards centralization was highlighted as a current reality in the industry. By consolidating operations, Property Managers can streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and ensure consistent standards across all properties. Centralization allows for better data management and analytics, enabling Property Managers to make informed decisions based on comprehensive insights. It also facilitates improved communication and coordination among staff, leading to quicker response times and enhanced resident satisfaction. Furthermore, centralized systems often result in cost savings by leveraging bulk purchasing and shared services, ultimately improving the bottom line for property management companies.


Centralization can also help address the skill gaps, especially in maintenance operations. But with some professionals having little to no experience, there is also a pressing need to close this gap through targeted training and development programs, such as BGSF's Maintenance Training Program.


Lead Generation is Critical: Addressing Occupancy Rates

With occupancy rates fluctuating, lead generation remains a top priority for clients. Effective lead generation strategies attract prospective residents, converting interest into leases and minimizing vacancy periods. By harnessing a mix of digital marketing, social media, and community outreach, Property Managers can reach a broader audience. High-quality leads not only increase the likelihood of resident retention but also enhance the property's reputation through positive word-of-mouth.


In an increasingly competitive market, robust lead generation efforts differentiate properties, ensuring they remain top-of-mind for potential renters and consistently achieve full occupancy. Clients also noted that staying aware of competitors' actions and capitalizing on every lead is essential to driving leasing traffic. This critical issue in multifamily housing underscores the need for a personalized lead strategy that combines technology with human expertise.


The Human Touch: Finding Balance in a Tech-Driven World

While technology plays an increasingly crucial role in multifamily, leaders acknowledged the continued importance of including people in their operations. Balancing tech investments with a human touch is essential and will vary based on each company's philosophies and training approaches. This balance is crucial to ensuring that operations are both efficient and personal. Human interactions foster trust, build relationships, and provide the empathy and understanding that technology alone cannot replicate.


Leaders emphasize that technology should be used to enhance, not replace, the human element in business. For instance, while automated systems can handle routine tasks and data analysis, human insight is necessary for strategic decision-making and personalized customer service. Training programs that integrate both technological proficiency and interpersonal skills are vital to preparing employees for this balanced approach. By leveraging the strengths of both technology and human expertise, property management companies can create a more adaptive, responsive, and customer-centric operation that meets the diverse needs of their clientele while maintaining a personal touch.


Addressing Staffing Shortages: BGSF Weighs in on Panel


BGSF's own Betsy Kirkpatrick Cunningham, Managing Director of Strategic Programs for BGSF's Property Management Division, spoke on the panel, "Creative and Practical Solutions to Staffing Shortages: Is Less Best?" Along with other leaders, Betsy discussed how staffing has been a pain point for businesses of all sizes across the industry.


Shallow talent pools, outdated recruitment methods, and widespread misconceptions have reached critical levels, posing significant challenges, especially for independent rental owners or smaller operations. However, innovative techniques and disruptive business models are offering forward-thinking solutions, demonstrating that quality often surpasses quantity. These progressive approaches, including utilizing specialized staffing solutions from a firm like BGSF, are yielding impressive results, showing that a strategic and modernized approach to staffing can effectively address the complexities in today's market.


The Future of Property Management


NAA Apartmentalize 2024 highlighted the ongoing evolution of the multifamily housing industry, driven by technological advancements and a continued focus on human-centric approaches. By leveraging AI, centralizing operations, balancing technology with personal interaction, and utilizing modern approaches to staffing, the industry is poised to enhance the living experience for residents while optimizing efficiency. The future of property management is likely to depend on how well companies can integrate these elements to meet their unique needs and challenges.


 

Partner with BGSF


Partnering with BGSF is not just about filling positions; it's about building communities, ensuring every resident's satisfaction, and supporting your business's success. Contact us to learn how we can support your property’s success.

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