by John Bradford
Sometimes property teams need a boost. In a stretched labor market, teams are often constricted and need efficiencies wherever they can find them in order to complete daily tasks on time.
They are relying on tech to do so.
While pet technology is often regarded as a standalone concept, it closely mirrors some of the more universally discussed tech that assists property teams. Most notably, pet-tech, too, helps save time and cultivates a smooth workday by creating efficiencies.
Here is a look at some the key technologies that are benefitting community teams the most (hint: pet technologies make the cut):
Self-guided tours: These were gaining traction prior to the pandemic in an increasingly digital, self-service world. When the pandemic arrived and the era of social distancing ensued, self-guided tours—along with additional touch-free tour options—became an absolute necessity.
With leasing associates unable to accompany residents in traditional tour fashion, the industry fast-tracked innovative tour technologies to enable self-guided, virtual and remote-style tours. Most of these options have staying power, as well, as they weren’t a pandemic-only solution and represent a forward-thinking approach.
The leasing associate oftentimes remains an integral piece of the process by guiding prospects and answering questions from afar. But additional tech solutions such as interactive property maps for wayfinding, ID scanning for keyless entry and even social media communication tools such as FaceTime help facilitate the process.
Package management systems: For several years now, e-commerce has been skyrocketing. Amazon represents the modern way to shop, and package delivery continues to spike—particularly during the holidays. In the past, community teams could manage shipments on their own and disperse them to residents in a timely manner. That is seldom the case now, as nightmare scenarios of leasing offices overflowing with packages are fairly common.
To combat this, several different types of tech-based package solutions have entered the market in recent years. These include 24/7 digital package lockers in which residents are texted a code when they receive a shipment, offsite solutions and direct-to-door delivery options in which residents can control the timing of the shipment’s arrival.
Pet technology: As pets become an even more integral part of residents’ daily lives, rental properties are making a determined effort to increase pet-friendliness. They are leaning on tech to help properly track the onsite pet population, ensure proper pet reporting from residents, outsource the formal review of assistance animal accommodation requests (i.e. ESAs and service animals) and shed longstanding pet restrictions, such as those for breed and weight, in responsible fashion. Screening pets and their owners gives community teams previously unattainable insights, which eliminate the need to restrict pets based on preexisting characteristics.
Additionally, in an effort to keep their properties clean, many communities are relying on doggie DNA services to help track those who leave behind pet waste. Oftentimes the mere presence of this service works wonders.
AI and automation: Little else bogs down an onsite associate more than an endless stream of emails that each need a response. But thanks to advances in marketing automation technology, many of those mundane tasks can be automated. For example, when potential future renters reach out to a community, timely follow-ups are key. Automation can help ensure prospects receive that correspondence at the proper time without the associate having to do so manually.
Additionally, AI technologies such as chatbots can also assist on the frontend of the leasing process by answering initial questions from prospects, such as whether a property is equipped with an onsite dog park. This ensures that all the cursory background inquiries have already been answered by the time the potential resident speaks with the leasing agent.
In the fast-paced world of rental housing, efficiencies that can assist overburdened associates are certainly welcome. Whether it’s innovative tour options, a better way to manage packages, more intuitive pet processes or automation to streamline the leasing journey, tech is making it happen. It’s not a temporary trend, but one that will reshape the modern approach to rental housing moving forward.