Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Technorama: JPM's New Survey Sheds Light on How Property Managers Use Technology to Attract and Communicate with Tenants

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Technorama: JPM's New Survey Sheds Light on How Property Managers Use Technology to Attract and Communicate with Tenants

Article excerpt

Are you an early adopter or a technophobe? Here's your chance to compare how wired your buildings are in today's market, benchmark your use of high-tech communication gadgets and find out how much other property management companies budget for technology spending. The following results were gathered from the Journal's first-ever reader technology survey, conducted last December. Data were compiled from responses to an online questionnaire the Institute's research staff designed to better understand the use of technology within the real estate management industry.*

TECHNOLOGY AMENITIES IN READER PORTFOLIOS

High-speed Internet access topped the list of technology-based features

found at properties managed by survey respondents (Chart 1). At least half of subscribers also said they had automated detection, monitoring and controls for fire and life safety and automated lighting in place at their properties. These were followed in popularity by automated HVAC controls, smart card access control, broadband wiring, central automated building control software, wireless Internet access and submetering software. Concierge kiosks, digital signage, robotic parking systems and paperless parking payment systems were available at less than nine percent of buildings managed by readers. Subscribers who primarily manage office buildings were more likely to have integrated all of these technology features, with the exception of submetering, than those who primarily oversee conventionally financed apartments.

WEB SITES

Eighty-five percent of respondents work for companies that maintained a Web site and almost half of these also hosted additional sites dedicated to specific properties in their portfolio. Outside contractors were used most frequently to host (43.8 percent) and design (44.1 percent) company Web sites. Internal staff was relied on for hosting and design services by 39 percent of companies that had Web sites. Both subscribers who work for property management and full-service real estate companies were more likely to opt for outsourcing of these tasks. Soliciting feedback about company Web sites varied widely, with 13.2 percent of readers indicating they continuously sought commentary while 19.8 percent revealed they never requested feedback. About 25 percent of readers reported their company invited feedback about their Web site on at least a monthly basis.

Marketing was the number one activity for which companies used their Web sites (80.2 percent). This was followed by lead generation, newsletters, tenant relations/communications, tenant work orders, lease applications, concierge services, rent payments, lease renewals and live chat for service requests (Chart 2). About 12 percent of communication with tenants was reported as originating through company Web sites. To drive traffic to their firm's site, respondents indicated they relied equally on search engine optimization (27.7 percent) and directory listings (27.2 percent), followed by links from other relevant sites (19.6 percent), e-mail advertising (17.3 percent), banner advertising on other Web sites (11.6 percent), pay-per-click advertising (3.7 percent) and a Web address printed on company stationery (2.5 percent) (Chart 3).

CONNECTING WITH STAFF

When communicating with staff, subscribers reported most frequently relying on e-mail sent from their desktop computers (71.7 percent) and cellular phone calls (70.2 percent), followed by face-to-face conversations (67 percent), regular (corded or cordless) phone calls (63.2 percent), e-mail sent from a laptop computer (29.7 percent), personal digital assistants (PDAs) (19.3 percent), two-way pagers (15.2 percent) and postal mail (11.2 percent).

The type and size of the company respondents work for influenced their method of communicating with staff. Subscribers who work for property management companies were more likely to use a two-way pager or postal mail and those who work for full-service real estate companies were more likely to use a PDA or send e-mail from a laptop. …

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