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This year’s Apartmentalize in Philadelphia didn’t disappoint. The National Apartment Association’s annual conference – one of the biggest multifamily events in the world – brought together thousands of professionals in the industry, including property managers, owners, investors, and service providers.

Over the course of three (very hot) days, there was a packed agenda of high-profile keynote speakers, a range of educational sessions, and the opportunity to network, meet up with friends and socialize (the silent disco was a particular highlight!).

The PointCentral team walked thousands of steps exploring the event and soaking up the buzz, had a great time talking to attendees, sharing insights and learning more about new trends.

Here are our five key takeaways from the conference:

1. Communication strategies for company success

One of the central themes discussed was the importance of clear and open communication between property owners, management, and onsite teams. Understanding the owner’s goals including financial targets, potential refinancing, or eventual sale, is crucial when setting and managing expectations. Communicating this information to property and regional managers will give them the knowledge and tools they need to keep them aligned with the ownership group’s priorities.

The emphasis was on overcommunication while setting boundaries: non-urgent communication should be scheduled for work hours, owner visits should be summarized for the onsite team, decision-making should be encouraged, and team growth measured by their increasing independence to solve issues.

Handling challenging personalities, delivering bad news effectively, and ways to implement change were also discussed. The key takeaway was to find a balance between communicating effectively and setting limits to ensure downtime, while empowering teams to make decisions and learn from their mistakes.

2. Generational Dynamics in the Workplace

Another engaging session focused on the benefits of generational diversity in the workplace and addressed the unique traits that each demographic brings to a company. It’s not unusual for five generations to be working in an office together from Baby Boomers and Gen X, to Millennials and Gen Z, each bringing its own benefits and challenges.

The key takeaway is to leverage the positive attributes of each generation and bridge gaps through open conversation and activities that support work-life balance.

3. Maximizing Revenue through Amenities

A fascinating case study presented during the conference revealed how a 107-building portfolio audit led to over $4M in additional revenue. This was achieved by accurately identifying and charging for various amenities. The session clearly emphasized the importance of pricing properties correctly (it was suggested that more than 50% of units are potentially mispriced in some way) and how unlocking amenities can increase rent and building value, some of which involve no additional operating costs.

4. Centralization: A Gradual Approach

The concept of centralization was explored, emphasizing that it doesn’t need to be implemented all at once. A gradual approach where regional groups or specific functions are centralized one at a time is a more manageable approach.

Centralizing leasing allows agents to think about other properties and units in the area that might be a good fit for the prospect, rather than focusing on their building, further enhancing their experience. While prospects generally prefer to walk through and look at units alone, the need for personal interaction remains, with many residents still preferring in-person conversations.

Equally important is the need to communicate with staff about how these centralization strategies will affect them, ensuring they are well-informed and prepared for the changes ahead.

5. Bridging the Digital Divide

The conference also addressed the challenge of outdated technology. The discussion emphasized the need for a holistic approach to tech updates, focusing on the necessity of integrating with a centralized solution and the requirement of robust Wi-Fi infrastructure.  Managed Wi-Fi was also highlighted as a potential source of ancillary revenue.

The viability of some vendors was questioned, with discussions centered around whether they provide enough value and will still be around in the long term. It was also noted that when dealing with tech solutions, it is sometimes a challenge to know what questions to ask, highlighting the need for informed decision-making in tech investments. Overall it was identified that while capital investment in smart tech can vary, the payoff can be substantial, and property managers should be aware of outdated locks, phone jacks, and call boxes that act as key indicators of an outdated building.

Want to find out more about how multifamily technology can be used to improve your business? Read our blog on how to boost resident retention.