Leveraging Data for Competitive Leasing
The Internet Listing Service (ILS) is the starting point for today’s tech-savvy organizations that are looking to create a leasing advantage in their markets.
By Anthony Venditolli, Fitech
You may already have data in your system that can give your firm a competitive advantage in leasing. However, do you have the proper real estate technology tools to pull and apply that data? The internet listing service (ILS) is the starting point for today’s tech-savvy organizations that are looking to create a leasing advantage in their markets.
Integrating your accounting and lease management systems with an ILS integration is just the beginning. Knowing how to use the data provided, and deploying a targeted enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, helps property managers and real estate organizations turn more prospects into tenants.
ILS/Guest Card At a Glance
The ILS/Guest Card allows organizations to capture data through every stage from prospect to guest to tenant—no manual data entry required. Property managers can create prospect histories easily, and leasing agents and property managers can pull reports and view information quickly.
When an individual visits a rental website connected to the ILS, the prospect fills out basic contact information and a guest card is created for the “prospect.” Once a showing is scheduled, the prospect is automatically switched in the company’s accounting system to “guest.”
Information on apartments that you are showing prospects, application fees and background check data can be entered into the system. If the deal goes through, the guest status becomes a “tenant.” All that data that is populated in your system can be easily transferred to the lease and rent collection can begin. If the deal is not completed, the information is retained and can be used for future traffic reporting.
System Integration and the Competitive Edge
Integrating ERP solutions with guest card management tools improves the tenanting process, streamlines leasing paperwork and provides business intelligence your marketers need to stay ahead of the competition.
There are tremendous asset management benefits. Property managers can import and export many guest updates and events and display helpful information for prospects during their decision process. For instance, the ILS guest card pulls portfolio-wide unit availability from your ERP. Your leasing agents will know which units are rental-ready, their locations, and the asking rents. When your leasing department adjusts the market/asking rents based on current market trends in your area, the ILS updates the listings in real time. This data is integrated with your accounting system and provides valuable information when it’s time to ask for rental adjustments.
The ILS automatically integrates all leads for the most up-to-date information system wide. You can also upload amenity information and floor plans as sales tools. On the prospect side, all of this data gets pushed automatically to the ILS card for your online visitors to see on your Internet listings.
When the prospect is ready to sign the lease, the technology behind the ILS guest card provides a streamlined and completely paperless operation. The tenant can pay the application fee online, and the system will generate an email with the approval and a copy of the lease. The ERP tool enables tenants to sign the lease virtually. The leasing agent gets all the digital paperwork, provides the move-in information to the tenant, and removes the apartment from the unit availability list. The ILS guest card is updated and the unit is no longer visible to other prospects.
Real estate technology provides valuable business intelligence as well. For instance, your leasing team can collect current rental rate data within specific geo-targeted areas from industry-leading leasing/renting software solutions, and download this information into a customized tool. This enables them to do competitive analyses of your rents vs. market rates that are most relevant to your properties.
Website integration provides additional business intelligence. Consider adding a button on your organization’s website that directs leads to a prospect-specific landing page (essentially a popup guest card). By integrating this information with an ERP, your team can capture their contact information seamlessly, and gather intel on who is visiting your site and what they are looking at. Your IT provider can develop a database based on website traffic demographics for your sales and marketing. By measuring your conversion rates from guests to tenants, and through competitive analysis of area rents, your leasing agents can better determine why prospects have declined or accepted a rental unit. This historical data can also inform future leasing activity and rate structures.
It pays to automate and integrate. Connecting your property management system to the ILS, and understanding which reports provide the most pertinent information generates more guest cards and moves more prospects to tenants with fewer steps, less paper and greater productivity.
Anthony Venditolli is senior vice president of Fitech (www.fitechll.com) with offices in Fairfield, N.J., and New York City.