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Highlights from the “Are You Really Resident Centric?” Panel at NMHC OPTECH 2019

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

It’s pretty interesting the ties between multifamily, mixed-use and hospitality development when it comes to the guest experience and how it has shifted over the past two years as we move from a commoditized world to this high-maintenance experience economy. Since leaving my comfort zone of strictly hotels nearly a year ago, I’ve been lucky to join up with a couple of multifamily developers to consult on brand creation and placemaking. This, combined with my background in public relations and knowing some ninjas in that industry, just took me to Dallas, Texas for the National Multifamily Housing Council OPTECH 2019 conference to speak on a panel called “Are You Really Resident Centric?”.


When asked for advice on how I stay on top of trends and innovate within the industry, my answer has always been to look outside of it. This panel caught my attention because it was taking the same approach, representatives from Mobile Doorman and LinnellTaylor Marketing gathered a collection of experiential marketers from different industries. In addition to myself representing brand creation and guest path in the hospitality industry, I was joined by Marcy Comer, VP of Marketing of Spruce, a hotel-inspired apartment service app, who is an expert on measurement of KPIs and how to adjust based on those results. Also on the stage was Heather Williams, Senior Director of Resident Experience (I mean how can you beat that title?) from Lincoln Property Company to reign in Marcy and my outside ideas and apply them to multifamily.


45 minutes went quickly, but here are a few highlights from what we covered that could be interesting to those who weren’t at our panel.


How do consumer brands engage customers (in a world where everyone only engages with their phones)?


  • The experience economy has really driven all of us, from hospitality to retail to multifamily, to have to engage with our consumers on a higher and more customized level.

  • People’s attachment to phones has encouraged us all to engage in social media and community-based apps to get in front of our audiences.

  • There’s no wrong answer when it comes to engagement, the best approach is to try a method, regroup, measure, evaluate, make adjustments and try again.


What are proven KPIs for multifamily (because we know everybody wants that from marketing)?


  • Marcy had a great chart on proving KPIs and return from residents, here’s a snippet: - - To calculate your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) compute all sales and marketing costs in a period divided by the number of new residents gathered in that period. - If you are spending more on your marketing than you’re getting back in rent, you’re upside-down on your marketing and may need to adjust your strategy.

  • Using KPIs through your website or social media behaviors can help drive what kind of community engagement to do. Heather has put together events like a resume building workshop for her residents, finding different opportunities outside of the norm.


Why are Instagrammable Moments a necessary thing in multifamily?


  • It can range anywhere from a dramatic piece of art to a simple interactive painting of wings on a wall. These moments create a connection, and an opportunity to share on social media.

  • These moments can count as a marketing effort when shared, it creates word of mouth and awareness about the community.

  • This exposure can be considered part of the effective frequency, the number of times a consumer needs to see an advertisement before they act upon it. (7-14 times depending on what you googled.)

  • Social media can help A/B test events in communities, posting marketing campaigns and watching the analytics can tell a community what its tenants want to attend.



How do you create a community setting (while everyone is always isolated on their phones)?


  • Residents who have more than seven friends in their community are 47 percent more likely to renew their lease.

  • Apartment residents who actually use lifestyle-inspired services are significantly more likely to renew than those who don’t according to a Spruce study.


I’d like to thank our moderator Will Clanfield, Director of Marketing for Mobile Doorman and Marlena DeFalco, PR Director of LinnellTaylor Marketing for the inclusion in this panel. And thank you to my fellow panelists Marcy and Heather for bringing excellent content to our audience!

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