October 19, 2022
How Will Automation Evolve in Property Management?
In the age of smart home technology and contactless tours, a new dawn of innovation has befallen the property management industry. This industry, once behind in technological progress, now trends upward with new proptech startups and solutions every year. Ranging from Big Data to AI, these advancements seek to elevate one thing…NOI.
Exactly how investors and management companies pursue this increase, varies incredibly. There are key factors that determine which technological stack is appropriate for each location. Factors such as demographics, location, utility costs, local regulations, property income, and resource access are just a few examples of the many reasons why to adopt or not adopt new technology.
Often, among people we talk to, we find that time is a major concern. With staffing shortages and high employee turnover, training is exhaustive and can be quite futile. You would think that with this major pain in the industry, widespread adoption of fully autonomous systems would happen but the reality is funds and time to implement such measures are just not available.
While this may seem a fault of the property management industry for the slow adoption of automation, it is majorly a fault of vendors for lacking the provision of plug-and-play solutions. Too much required customization or build-outs means considerable time to market, which equates to poor NOI and unhappy investors.
When polling our property management customers, they shed light on their pursuit of automation…
“When considering new initiatives, we look for opportunities to ‘set it and forget it.’ Through automation, we can mitigate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, and achieve better results. We want to meet our prospects where they are in their journey at a time that best suits their lifecycle. Automation allows us to personally engage with our audience at scale regardless of manpower or business hours.” – Misty Williams, Digital Marketing Manager
The solution may seem simple, but it is a daunting feat for any vendor hoping to deliver an automated solution without massive amounts of customization. No property management company is the same. For a vendor to deliver plug-and-play, this means precision. All data points covered. All outcomes considered. As you can see, it’s an undertaking for both the vendor and the property management company that has led to slow adoption in the industry.
Fortunately, in recent years, Big Data and AI have provided a solution. Both technologies are allowing vendors (like Bonfire CRM) to build plug-and-play automation in such a way that NOI can be improved while reducing hours and even training for onsite teams.
These tools contribute to automation advancement through the analysis of consumer behavior. This analysis enables companies to build predictive indexes for decision-making that lead to sales, marketing, and operational strategies leading to an increase in the word…“yes.” How you get to “yes” comes from the data – whether it be the channel used to send a message, the placement of an ad, the content in the ad, the product (i.e. floorplan) suggested, etc. But the contribution to automation is we now not only know the methods to “yes”, we know how to achieve “yes” with a massive reduction in time spent by staff.
This is where AI comes in.
In combination with Big Data, AI can gather consumer insights and analyze consumer behavior during a conversation to steer that conversation toward “yes” – through a new solution called “Customer Journeys,” automation can position your audience into positive dialogue that would queue up onsite teams for higher conversion rates and less time spent closing any deal.
This means hands-free campaigns, check-ins, and handling of prospects and residents. Such an improvement to the day-to-day operations of staff would lead to more time for the resident experience and property improvement. Such an allocation, while already experiencing a bump in NOI, would also indirectly improve the NOI through positive experiences on the property. In a way, it’s a perfect combination of human connection and automation that would create a true sense of community at each “community”.
Overall, the property management industry has been pushed with “automated” solutions that would replace staff when what they are looking for is automation that would support staff. If there is any major lesson tech learned from COVID-19, it is that people need people. Face-to-face interactions are imperative for the overall emotional well-being of a human, and in a business sense, the positive outcome of an opportunity.
Our theory is that if automation can come in and assist teams, sort of like a biomechanical suit of armor, it will contribute to a massive output of production and success for property management. This will be realized through queued positive conversations, logged issues for follow-up, positive survey insights which trigger review requests, task creation, and content personalization. All automated. All contributing to time savings and an increase in lease conversion and renewals.
When we asked our property management clients how they leverage automation, they said…
“At this time, we use automation to complete marketing tasks, nurture leads, and execute predetermined campaigns across several different channels at scheduled intervals. In doing so, we are able to give time back to our teams to focus on everything else that impacts their day-to-day operations.” – Misty Williams, Digital Marketing Manager
The future is to strengthen teams. Not replace them.
Feel free to leave your comments below and contribute to the conversation. How do you think automation will evolve in property management in 2023?
Authored by Taylor Davis, Chief Product Officer