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  • Sep 25, 2020
  • Stacy Holden, Sr. Director, Industry Principal, AppFolio Property Manager
  • Comments (1)

The Changing Shape of Property Management Summit: key learnings & insights

Stacy Holden is the Sr. Director, Industry Principal at AppFolio, a leading provider of cloud-based business software solutions in the real estate market. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the real estate and property management industry and is an expert on how customers can leverage technology to solve some of their greatest business challenges.

In the past year, the property management industry has been disrupted in a way no one could have anticipated, and forced many businesses to adopt new technologies to maintain continuity and stay connected. However, this time of disruption has also opened the door for some of the greatest opportunities.

Our team at AppFolio recently partnered with IREM to host a 3-day virtual summit, featuring top real estate leaders and influencers to provide the industry with a unique, outside perspective on what the future holds, along with some proven strategies for how to creatively use the chaos to stay competitive.

Each day was centered around a specific theme, such as the future, leadership, and virtual leasing. Day one of the event included various IREM experts, with an emphasis on what’s next for property management, how customer expectations are shifting, and what you can do to set yourself up for success. Here’s a quick summary of the key learnings. Also, if you’d like to access the entire event, you can register to watch all sessions on-demand for free until October 9th!

Technology is essential in today’s world
Disruptive times have historically been catalytic events for new technologies. In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve seen major adoption of new technologies throughout the real estate industry in just a few short months.

During the virtual summit, James Scott, IREM’s Innovator-in-Residence and Lead Researcher at the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab (REIL), shared the changes he believes are here to stay, and how they’ll impact the way we work, live, and interact. He talked about how the safety of employees and customers is paramount now more than ever, and how leaders should make their decisions and determine workplace protocol based on scientific evidence, and remain flexible. He also provided a glimpse of some of the smart technologies—such as touchless keypads, wearables, AI intelligence, and robotic cleaners—that he believes will become essential in the near future.

Customer expectations have shifted
Property owner and resident expectations have rapidly shifted, and compressed changes that would normally occur over years into a matter of months. In property management, an industry built on relationships, those who don't adapt to meet their customers' needs now will have a harder time staying successful in the future.
Cindy M. Clare, CPM® and Chief Operating Officer at Bell Partners, Inc. shared some great insights in her session on how property managers can prepare for tomorrow’s customer expectations today and differentiate their businesses through exceptional experiences. She stressed that property managers must be willing to pivot when something doesn’t work as expected, and they need to never stop testing new solutions and technologies if they want to stay competitive.

Retail & mixed-use communities will be re-imagined
In addition to changing how we connect with each other, COVID-19 has also impacted the ways in which we interact with our environments. The shift towards working from home, the heightened awareness around hygiene, and a relationship with retail are creating opportunities to reimagine how we use our spaces.

At the virtual summit, Nancy San Pedro, CPM® and Director of Retail Portfolio at Equity Residential, offered advice on how property owners and managers can reinvent their properties, amenities, and common areas to prepare their portfolios for what's next. For properties that have long relied on their communal amenities to draw leads, such as gyms and pools, she expressed the need for property managers to creatively reuse these spaces. In addition, she provided some valuable insights on how to be more flexible when it comes to resident expenses.

Now more than ever, it’s important to adapt and evolve if you want to stay competitive and continue to serve your customers. If you take these learnings to heart, you’ll be able to reinvent your organization and come out of this challenging time stronger than ever.

Register to watch the Changing Shape of Property Management Virtual Summit on-demand for free.

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