Apartment Leasing

Improving the Prospect Journey in the Years Ahead

by Melanie Stiles

There’s no denying how much the prospect journey has changed and improved in recent years.

Apartment operators already were warming to technology before the spring of 2020. Then the pandemic arrived, and the industry’s embrace of technologies that facilitate remote and contactless leasing dramatically accelerated. Now, prospective renters are routinely able to readily access self-guided in-person tours, virtual tours, 3D walkthroughs and online applications to maximize convenience and minimize the need for interactions with onsite associates. In addition, chatbots allow prospects to get answers to their questions 24/7.

Looking ahead, apartment shoppers’ demand for convenience, flexibility and efficiency will only increase, and operators need to be ready to meet those needs. With that in mind, here are some ways the industry must further refine the prospect experience in the years to come:

• Increase personalization. More and more, prospective renters expect personalized experiences from apartment operators, with tailored apartment recommendations, customized content and personalized promotions. By leveraging data and technology, apartment companies can provide these kinds of experiences to meet each prospect’s individual needs and preferences.

For instance, AI-powered ILSs can use a renter’s search history, preferences and behavioral data to suggest units based upon the prospect’s preferred location, budget and amenities. In addition, machine learning algorithms can be used to analyze images of apartments and extract relevant information, such as the number of bedrooms, square footage and amenities, to help renters easily find apartments that meet their specific needs.

• Optimize communication. Effective communication is absolutely critical for a positive prospect journey. Operators must prioritize lightning-fast and clear responses to prospects’ questions and concerns. Companies that do this are much more likely to earn a prospective renter’s trust and loyalty.

Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can provide 24/7 support to renters, answering questions, providing guidance and offering recommendations. This can help renters make more informed decisions and feel more confident in their search.

Generally speaking, with prospects spending more and more time online, apartment communities have to adapt their marketing strategies to better engage renters through digital channels such as social media, email and chatbots. This will allow them to reach potential renters where they are spending their time and provide more personalized and targeted messaging.

• Maximize transparency. Today’s prospects highly value transparency throughout the apartment shopping process, from pricing and availability to lease terms and policies. By providing detailed, crystal-clear and accurate information on their websites and in their communications, operators and communities can build credibility with their customers.

Along these lines, operators can use predictive analytics to improve the prospect experience. Specifically, by analyzing data on apartment search behavior and trends, machine learning algorithms can predict which apartments are most likely to be rented and at what price point. This information can help renters make more informed decisions and negotiate better deals.

• Offer a complete online leasing process. AI-powered leasing platforms can streamline the leasing process, allowing renters to complete applications, sign leases and make payments online. This can save renters huge amounts of time by reducing and even eliminating the need for in-person visits to the leasing office.

In the final analysis, today’s prospects demand a super-convenient customer journey. And those expectations are only going to grow. By leveraging technology – especially AI and machine learning – the apartment industry can meet prospects’ needs by providing a more personalized and efficient experience with more accurate search results, faster leasing processes and better customer service.

Leave a Reply