Digital transformation: An imperative for the multifamily industry

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Tap the app, land the ride, binge the show — seamlessness rules today’s tech-fueled customers. They expect on-demand simplicity with every click, whether hailing a car, grabbing takeout or streaming movies. Renters, primarily comprised of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers, demand the same convenient online interactions from property managers.

The adoption of property technology has accelerated in recent years, yet the real estate industry largely stubbornly remains stubborn to adapt. Nearly half of firms planned to decrease investments in new technologies in 2023 because of concerns about economic conditions. But with 61% of the global real estate industry still reliant on legacy systems, the rental market substantially lags in digital modernization.

In today’s digital world, multifamily property managers can’t afford to resist digital transformation if they want to meet rising renter expectations, maximize efficiency and drive revenue growth.

Landlords resist digital transformation at their peril

The housing market grows increasingly competitive by the day — with a shortage of 6.5 million homes nationwide and just 1% of properties affordable for average buyers in 2023. This situation means 44.1 million Americans are renting.

Yet, at a time of unprecedented demand, too many multifamily property managers and operators cling to archaic processes like paper leases, manual payment collection and physical maintenance logs that diminish the renter experience. The resulting frustration of chasing down information and administrative headaches undermine resident satisfaction, employee productivity and portfolio performance.

Legacy systems limit useful data insights and miss key revenue opportunities. Outdated payment tools don’t support popular add-on services renters want digitally bundled, like security deposit insurance or renters insurance. Manual workflows also divert staff time from more strategic tasks. 

The solution? Embracing modern digital platforms built for today’s business environment. Centralized data repositories provide actionable insights to optimize strategy amid shifting conditions. Task automation frees staff to focus on high-value initiatives — not manual entry. Digitally integrated products like insurance unlock incremental profit while giving residents necessary assurance.

Next-generation technology adoption provides the leverage strategically-minded multifamily firms require to manage uncertainties. Intuitive applicant/resident portals supported by unified platforms dramatically lift leasing efficiency. Predictive revenue tools help adjust prices and maximize occupancy, regardless of the circumstances. For an industry coping with generational change in workers and renters alike, digital adoption drives productivity, revenue and competitive resilience.

How can proptech suppliers convince reluctant real estate leaders?

Property tech firms with real estate clients must translate their technological innovations and dramatic gains into compelling business cases that conservative prospects can’t ignore. Consider these best practices:

  • Understand industry challenges to tailor your solution effectively.
  • Communicate how your tech improves efficiency, reduces costs or enhances CX .
  • Offer real examples of successful tech adoption in similar industries.
  • Provide employee training and ongoing user support.
  • Implement and communicate strong security measures to reduce privacy concerns.
  • Suggest small-scale trials to allow gradual acceptance and minimize risk.

As next-generation renters and workers reshape multifamily, the sector must choose either painful irrelevance or fruitful reinvention (powered by long-overdue technology adoption). For an industry coping with unprecedented change driven by shifts in consumer behavior and technological advancements, strategic digital modernization promises the insight, efficiency, and experiences critical for long-lasting success. 

Andrew Delbridge
Andrew Delbridge is the Chief Revenue Officer at Rhino. He is a growth strategist with nearly 20 years of success spanning sales and revenue operations, GTM strategy, partnership management and cross-functional team leadership in the vertical SaaS and DTC spaces. Andrew is passionate about building, coaching, developing and scaling industry-leading sales organizations and teams.

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