How Are Property Managers Using Technology?

Technology is increasingly playing a critical role in helping property management firm compete better. Technology savvy firms are using technology to run targeted marketing campaigns, to manage operations minutely and to generate and understand their operating numbers better.A recent study done by an independent organization to find how property managers are using the vast amount of technology available to them threw up some interesting findings:Businesses using technology better grow fasterNearly half of the companies surveyed grew their business over the last few years, either by revenue or by number of units. The companies that were able to grow their business in a recessionary economy made extensive use of technology. Over 60% of those growing businesses use property management specific software system such as Buildium, Appfolio, Maxwell Systems or Spectra. In general, those that were successful were able to: automate tasks, track online leads well and provide their tenants with online options.Great Software Equals EfficiencyCompanies who used property management specific software managed an average of 102 units per employee. Those that using generic software or spreadsheets only managed an average of 61 units per employee!! An integrated software suite frees up property management employees to do more tasks.These specific software are helpful to track rentals and lease renewals better. They also help manage property level data and business information more efficiently and present it in a readable and accessible form. Also most property management software integrates well with accounting software or has an accounting module. They give everything you need to take charge of your payables and receivables, maintain customer agreements and relationships, track your financials, and proactively manage your cash flow. Web based software’s help property mangers connect offsite and report in real time.Companies are struggling to Track Online LeadsMuch of the discussion on property management web sites is centered on online marketing and lead generation. However surprisingly, about 36% of property managers don’t even use computers to track online leads. Instead they rely on the tenant to mention it on an their application forms. In addition, 19% of the respondents don’t track leads generated online!This statistic is surprising given that tools like Google Analytics and sites such as Stat-counter have made it easy for even small firms to track origins of online leads and website visits extensively. They also have multiple reports to help determine the effectiveness of an ad campaign and keywords. Even banner based advertising can be tracked by banner tags.Social Media Use Widespread but Is It Effective?Despite the evangelization of social media over the last few years, the survey showed no sizable growth in business between companies who are using social media and those who are not. Social and business networking websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are being increasingly adopted and are fantastic for networking. For example, LinkedIn has various groups for property managers which they can join and network with people and generate business.In sum, there is a substantial difference in doing business now and even five years back. It is not only property management, but all facets of real estate from the buying to selling to renting to managing that is turning to technology for answers to different business problems!

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