I was delighted and excited to collaborate with the RETCON team last week and cover one of the hardest problems in real estate housing right now...a problem that our customers have faced for decades, if not centuries, and one that we are helping solve:
- How to know ahead of time, if residents will renew their lease?
- Which residents are likely to renew? And which ones are not and why?
- And what specific actions you can take today to increase future renewal likelihood?
More importantly, I was struck by the quality of attendees and the ideas that surfaced during the conference.
Here were my top ones I walked away with:
- Apartment shopping has been Amazonified - Customers are shopping houses like groceries: where they want (online), when they want (midnight) and how they want (mobile). Those who can meet customers when and where they are will ultimately win
- Smartphones remain the biggest productivity tool - The list of things that we cannot do on the smartphone is matched only by the list of companies who were not affected by this pandemic - a few. Expect tech investment to go only in one direction...up!
- COVID added at least one more job responsibility for everyone - For leaders, that was becoming motivators-in-chief. The overnight switch from physical to virtual technologies (e.g., virtual leasing) didn’t just happen magically. Inspirational pep talks and the team’s willingness to adapt were key.
- Customer expectation has outpaced innovation - From the time a Real Estate project is won (e.g., 2008 for Hudson Yards in NY) to the time it opens (2016), the world and thereby consumer expectations change dramatically (e.g., Blackberry almost vanished between 2008 - 2016). But underlying systems change slowly.
- This creates an innovation imbalance - Customer-facing innovation (e.g., prospecting, smart homes, resident engagement) thrives, but non-customer-facing one (e.g., Finance, accounting, etc.) lags.
- Choice and competition will ultimately fix this imbalance - Owner-operators are looking to PropTech players to be more responsive, nimble, and agile. We are on it!