by Brent Steiner
Imagine listening to a game on the radio or reading about it in the newspaper as opposed to seeing it on TV or in person. For most of its existence, the apartment industry has been in the radio/newspaper stage when it comes to engaging prospects.
Apartment teams could tell prospects about their community or show them still photos of it, but very infrequently took additional steps toward data visualization. While that transformation started last decade, visualization tools will become a must for prospects—and for multifamily organizations—in the 2020s.
As the new decade takes hold, data visualization will serve as the impetus for providing a next-level experience for prospects, onsite teams and organizations as a whole.
On the prospect side, visualization platforms allow prospects to view property data in the form of a map. By featuring detailed, multidimensional maps on community websites that display precise unit and amenity location details, communities increase the number of prospects who can interactively view apartment communities from afar. Providing this intuitive avenue to reach prospects genuinely makes a difference, as research indicates conversions are two to three times better when prospects can see and understand where an apartment is located.
On the operations side, implementing data visualization tools helps foster better communication with onsite team members, streamlines community-related processes and increases interdepartmental efficiencies.
Here is a deeper look at the primary benefits provided by data visualization:
A transparent prospect experience
Location transparency enables prospects to be completely comfortable leasing from home. They have been able to select the apartment home overlooking the pool, or the home with downtown views, and they can begin envisioning their daily routine based on the location.
Properties can display vacant homes online, but if the current availability data isn’t updated and the images do not reflect current amenity information, that property is failing to exhibit the authenticity of what they’re offering. The specifics that renters crave when looking for a place to live must be available the moment they search for a home online. Data visualization makes it possible for prospects not only to see real-time apartment availability, but also to exclusively see apartments that fit their desired criteria.
Affording prospects the ability to filter their preferences in a home gives them an additional layer of control. Renters know what they want, and by enabling them to turn apartment searching into an ecommerce shopping process, you’re providing a genuinely unique and transparent search experience.
Enhanced NOI opportunities
Data visualization creates increased opportunities for revenue by providing advanced insight into living spaces. Apartment operators can charge a premium for an ocean view, mountain views, proximity to the fitness center or dog park, or any other location factor the prospect deems crucial to their living experience.
When prospects can walk through a property in virtual fashion and observe the amenities and location details, many of their questions will already have been answered by the time they arrive at the community.
With leasing agents already fully equipped with information by the time the prospect arrives, they can concentrate on the factors most important to the prospect and avoid those that are irrelevant to them. This enables agents to close leases more rapidly and to visit with more prospects throughout the week.
Increase collaboration between teams
Data visualization makes it easier for all teams involved with operating a community to communicate. From the property management team to corporate associates, quick and efficient collaboration is essential to enhance operations. Data visualization software empowers the development team to notify their organization when renovations in an apartment are complete and provide real-time visual updates. Pricing teams can deploy rent premiums and marketing teams can make appropriate updates to websites and other online listings immediately.
The ability to reduce the number of communication crossfires and time between information sharing further positions operators to accelerate growth and improve operations overall.
In a competitive, fast-moving industry, any tech-related advantage can separate you from your competitors. Implementing data visualization software will keep you on the cutting edge of innovation and a step ahead of the others.