Student Housing Business

SEP-OCT 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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Page 54 of 88

MANAGEMENT September/October 2018 54 I Top Management Tips SHB asked some of the nation's leading management firms to share their best tips on how to successfully manage a student housing community. Compiled by Katie Sloan In many university markets, there are multiple options for off-campus student housing at different price and amenity levels. Regardless of the amenity level, students expect support and responsiveness from property managers. From leasing to property maintenance to social media, property management includes many functions. SHB asked managers for their best tips and advice for assisting — and bolstering — today's residents. After all, the student housing industry's function is to support students' learning — allowing them to study and live their lives without worrying about where they live. Educate your team Educating your on-site team on how to translate their daily tasks to increase value in an asset with the contribution they make every day is a great way to get buy- in from your employees. It also helps them grow and succeed in their positions. From making pric- ing decisions to bidding contracts and procuring services, our on- site teams are key decision makers in many of the factors that drive the economic performance of our properties. Additionally, your staff will feel more supported and bet- ter qualified by getting the 'why' behind what they do. Stay on top of your markets In our industry today, market conditions can change very quickly. Between changes at the host institution, new deliver- ies and transactions within the marketplace, there are a lot of factors that can drive a change in market performance. It is important to stay on top of what's happening with supply and demand trends, as well as to stay apprised on the market standards for amenities, demand for certain asset types and what is included in rental rates in order to remain competitive. Being proactive in understanding potential market changes is key to staying ahead of the trend. Understand the needs of your residents Through the use of surveys throughout the year, it is helpful to gain insight from your residents about what you are doing well and where you can improve. Survey data can also assist in identifying potential capital improvements for key ameni- ties that your residents find most valuable. Engaging with res- idents when they come into the office and asking them about their experience is also a great way to solicit feedback and show them that you value their opinion and are committed to providing them with a great experience. Training your staff to engage with residents and identify these key needs will help to make better long-term decisions for the property and result in happy residents. JENNIFER CASSIDY EVP and Co-COO, Campus Advantage Accountable customer service Customer service is simple to prioritize, but excellence is not easy. Process and accountabil- ity are imperative. We structured Landmark's 'You Speak, We Listen' customer service platform around our quarterly resident surveys. Landmark managers must achieve a minimum participation rate, and score a minimum satisfaction level of 97 percent or greater in order to receive a sig- nificant portion of their bonus. We also carefully monitor our resident response scores and have peer reviews on a weekly basis, and importantly create a structure through which our teams can convert dissatisfied students into loyal, renewing, satisfied residents. Through our diligence, we demonstrate our commitment. Focus on developing leaders There is a litany of industry-specific skills needed to be a successful prop- erty manager, but an often-overlooked requirement for success is leadership. We have all the job-specific training you would expect at a top firm, but we created a unique program focusing on leadership development. When chal- lenges arise, Landmarkers are empowered, trusted and well trained to act, not fight bureaucracy or overcome a lack of training. We train our leaders to develop plans of action, not simply to communicate problems. With a sug- gested response to a given situation in hand, their supervisor has a chance to weigh in, and the whole exercise becomes a teaching moment. Make a positive and lasting impression with residents and parents on move-in day This is our 'opening day' and our chance to provide a great move-in day experience for our residents and their parents. We place a heavy emphasis on preparing a smooth, well-orchestrated process, and delivering an unsur- passed experience. Most of our residents qualify for our 'Fast Pass' (drive-thru) move-in, which minimizes long lines or separate check-in stations. Logistics are key. We carefully plan traffic flow, unloading/parking, and offer unexpected extras such as student movers with carts, free food and refreshments, and immediate service recovery opportunities on-hand. This experience results in high resident satisfaction and significant early renewals. JAMES WHITLEY COO, Landmark Properties Advertise in STUDENT HOUSING BUSINESS ® Rich Kelley | 914-468-0818 Tim Tolton | 404-832-8262 Contact

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