At the forefront of the conversation surrounding enhanced resident experience at communities are app-based platforms delivering concierge-like services for renters. The options are near endless to create a cohesive and branded experience for the properties to provide their residents so from the moment of lease signing, residents are taken care of. Property managers have also seen immense value having these services at their side, which have also increased revenues and enhanced lease renewal rates.
In the end, residents enjoy having everything they need at their fingertips!
We were able to connect with Will Clanfield, Director of Marketing at Mobile Doorman, one of the leaders in this evolving space, to discuss their platform, how they’re faring, and what they foresee for multifamily.
IOTAS: So, what is Mobile Doorman?
Mobile Doorman helps properties go beyond the web portal to create customizable, branded apps to interact with residents where they do their personal business, on their mobile devices.
At Mobile Doorman, we believe there is a disconnect between what residents expect and what property managers provide from a service and a mobile technology standpoint. Consumer trends in app usage and smartphone consumption indicate that apartment communities need a better way to bridge their communication gap between residents and property management. After being frustrated with the inability to use our smartphones to interact with our building managers, our team created a custom-branded app that does just that.
IOTAS: Tell me about your role at Mobile Doorman
I joined Mobile Doorman in late 2017 as the company’s Director of Marketing. I oversee the evolution of the brand’s identity and help identify what our customers – and their residents – value most from an apartment app. Prior to joining the team, I provided public relations counsel for numerous consumer/tech brands, most notably Goodyear and Netflix.
IOTAS: How is Mobile Doorman differentiating itself in the market?
Using nexgen technology, our clients’ building apps are fully customizable, from branding to content and features – including move-in checklists, maintenance requests, visitor/authorized entrants sign-in, package notifications, and amenity reservations – all accessible with the push of a button on residents’ phones. Our app is designed to be the best communication vehicle for both residents and the property. We have seen significant improvements in effective communications, particularly crisis communications. Through the app, we are ensuring messages are being received by residents when it is of the utmost importance.
IOTAS: What types of clients have you been working with?
Founded in Chicago in 2014, Mobile Doorman has grown to become the industry-leading custom-branded apartment app for multifamily communities across the United States. Thanks to our white-labeling technology, we’ve been able to create a portfolio of fully-customized apps for more than 100,000 units across the country that are truly designed to be resident-centric and help property owners manage efficiently, improve retention, and boost their bottom line.
We’re proud to work with some of the industry’s largest managers, including Lincoln Property Company, Pinnacle, and Greystar. In total, we currently work with more than 100 management companies across the country.
IOTAS: How has the rise of new resident technology in real estate impacted the living experience?
It’s no secret that owners and managers embrace a variety of tech and resources to get renters into their properties. Living in Chicago, it seems that a new neighborhood high-rise pops up every couple weeks, coated by “Opening Soon” signage, flanked by advertisements on nearby bus stops and pushed advertisements to my phone when browsing on the way to work.
But what I’m interested in is what type of tech are communities using to keep the resident satisfied so they become a long-term resident. With the exception of costs, last year’s NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Renter Preferences Report found that apartment management is the largest reason for residents not resigning their lease at a community.
I recently moved from a high-rise on the northside of Chicago – great views of the lake and minutes from Wrigley Field – and while a quick Yelp search emphasized residents’ happiness with the amenities, all negative reviews stemmed from one thing: Management. Competition is fierce as many apartment communities offer the same amenities package, but the true equalizer – community management – ultimately is where buildings can separate themselves. That’s where I believe resident tech is best served.
IOTAS: How do you see the industry taking to new technologies as its related to the resident experience?
I think that’s always the unknown, right? No matter how slick and shiny a new piece of tech might be, if it doesn’t make both the residents and onsite teams’ lives easier – and more profitable for the latter – then it’s not destined for success. Take a look at smart home tech: These days, it’s widely known that smart home features is a Top 10 most wanted feature for residents. Moreover, 86 percent of millennials are willing to pay about one-fifth more per unit if it’s equipped with various smart amenities.
But how does this connect back to the building? Well, for starters, buildings consume 40 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption, most of which is heating and cooling. Tie that with the findings from a recent white paper published by Nest Labs, exemplifying a 12 percent savings on heating and 15 percent savings on cooling for those units using a smart thermostat, and you can see how apartment operators might be “hot” on the idea of installing smart tech as well. Win/win.
IOTAS: How does Mobile Doorman bridge that resident gap?
Poor communication from properties for recurring touch points plague residents with forgettable experiences, leading to decreased lease renewals. Considering that Zillow Rentals estimates an average savings of $1,350 (excluding marketing costs) when retaining a resident, ignoring resident communication can be a costly misstep.
While thousands of dollars are poured into a community’s marketing budget each year, once move-in day hits, dedicated assets focused on improving the resident experience – and further engaging with them – are often overlooked. Look at the travel industry, for example. Travelers consistently site the ability to access their boarding pass, change their seats and update bookings as the best parts of their mobile airline experiences, simple processes that previously needed to be accomplished via an online portal or by phone. Fast forward to 2018 and you find that Juniper Research predicts 1.5 billion boarding passes will be displayed on mobile devices by the end of 2019 – that’s 1 in every 3 passengers.
For Mobile Doorman, we believe we’ve created a product that bridges the communication gap by meeting residents where they are (on their phones) while keeping a community’s well-manicured branding front-and-center.
As a leader in smart apartment technology, we at IOTAS are truly excited for the evolution of the resident experience for multifamily. Partnerships across the board will continue to help enhance the day to day lives of both residents and property managers while helping create value for ownership groups. Working with the right teams and platforms will allow communities to set their properties up for long-term success.
Thank you, Mobile Doorman!