Leaving Las Vegas
- Jul 25, 2012
After a number of years in Vegas, the National Apartment Association held the 2012 Education Conference & Exposition in Boston. The sleek Boston Convention Center is a bit more buttoned-up than Mandalay Bay, but I did spot an Elvis impersonator roaming the show floor; so you can take the NAA expo out of Vegas but you can’t take Vegas out of the NAA expo. The enormous exhibit hall was filled to capacity with suppliers—a good sign for the economy and a great resource for apartment operators.
A variety of new product offerings were rolled out during the show. See our expanded coverage at MHN Online, and watch MHN TV for interviews on a range of topics affecting the industry. Educational sessions like “60/60—60 Tips from Pros with 60 Years of Experience” provided pointers that are as valid for larger operators as for independents. Jim Stewart, Mike Butler, Dan Lieberman and Brent Sobol stressed the importance of using 3D floorplans in marketing efforts and capturing resident testimonials. They also suggested hosting a “pet page” on property websites where residents can share pictures of their pets. And invest in resident activities that will encourage friendships. This “glue” will make a community stickier and residents will be much more likely to renew their leases.
In terms of curb appeal, never underestimate the importance of signage. Directional signs to the leasing office are key, as are reflective signs that help police and firemen locate the property at night. Send someone who’s never been to the property to find out whether your signage is as effective as you think it is. In terms of fire safety, good practices will save money in the long run. Try two super-easy but important measures: a smoke alarm with a 10-year battery and a stovetop “fire stop” device that will quickly extinguish a tenant cooking fire. This simple canister, installed under the stovetop, is “the most under-talked-about great thing out there,” according to the 60/60 panelists.
Their good ideas remind us that whether running a single multifamily asset or overseeing an enormous portfolio, property management is critical to multifamily success. What great ideas are driving your resident satisfaction and stretching operational dollars? Share them with MHN and we’ll share them with the industry.