Student Housing Business

SEP-OCT 2018

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

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Page 56 of 88

MANAGEMENT September/October 2018 56 Focus on creating bench strength Our business is unique in that we are employ- ing students who are mere months away from entering the job market. As the talent market continues to become more competitive, identi- fying, developing and retaining high-potential property management team members within our student ranks has become a major priority focus for Peak Campus. Don't let yourself become a victim of no-shows Resident no-shows can absolutely kill an oth- erwise successful lease up. At Peak Campus, we have developed a disciplined system to maintain active contact with our incoming residents in order to identify, cancel and replace those resi- dents who show indications of no-showing. Since employing our system, we've seen a material drop off, and in the process have developed better, earlier relationships with our residents. Invest in understanding your customer While we all would like to think that we're young and hip enough to know what today's savvy college students want, we really don't know what we're talking about. At Peak Campus, we have developed deliberate pro- cesses and have people on our team dedicated to aggregating all of the data points from those processes to be able to truly understand our customer. They serve as a bridge to communicate customer knowledge to stakehold- ers throughout the organization on a very regular basis. CASEY PETERSEN COO, Peak Campus Set and exceed standards Set a standard of how you want customers treated and then exceed that standard in the way you treat your employees. Study your market Read the local paper; set Google alerts for your market; know what drives change in your market; study your comps… Know your market! Be unwavering in your values When employees understand the non-negotiables, they begin to hold each of their team members — up and down the ladder — to these values. COURTNEY GORDON Senior Vice President, RISE: A Real Estate Company Sensory awareness It is extremely important to focus on the sights, smells and sounds of your leasing office and staff. Ensuring that your office and model have an inviting scent or aroma, your staff is appropriately dressed, and the music in your office and clubhouse is appropriate and invit- ing are absolute essentials. Good first impressions go hand in hand with smooth operations and high occupancy. A property that doesn't focus on sensory awareness is rarely successful. Focus on current occupancy Many groups in our space are so focused on pre-leased occu- pancy that they lose sight of maintaining current occupancy through the existing lease term. In a lot of markets, managing your current rent roll for 12 months can be more of a chal- lenge than pre-leasing for the future term. Maintaining a focus on your current occupancies by managing short-term leases, mid-year move-ins and reducing skips and evictions makes a tremendous impact on bottom line NOI. You may be inclined to finish one year and move on to the next, but what happens in the existing lease term cannot be overstated. Package delivery While we all try to figure out what solution works best for the influx of resident packages our properties receive and pro- cess, have your on-site team take the opportunity to deliver packages door to door. You get the benefit of clearing out pack- age rooms and making face-to-face contact with residents at the same time. Simply say hello, deliver their package and ask if there are any issues that need taken care of. Depending on the time of year, it gives you an opportunity to inform of renewal timelines and specials. It may take some time and effort on the part of the site teams, but the benefit is well worth it. ADAM BYRLEY COO, The Preiss Company Recognize, rest and refocus Take time to recognize the hard work you and your team put into the last year, whether you are on-site or at the home office. Do this in a structured manner. Be deliberate in taking time off, and creating rewarding experiences for your team as a whole and on an individual level. The benefit of that time and effort will pay dividends in the long run. Discuss the hits and misses of your team's performance to determine oppor- tunities for improved process, decision-making and team member utilization. It's inevitable that there are lessons to be learned, things to avoid for next year and successes to build on, so lean into discovering what those are. The fall after a leasing season ends is often the best time of year to do so. Bend your client's ear before annual planning The exercise of preparing budgets, setting rental rates and creating busi- ness plans is one of the most important planning exercises we do each year. While this exercise is our opportunity to present a set of recommendations to our clients for the upcoming season, it is a valuable, if not mandatory exercise to engage your clients before you begin the process. After all, as managers, our objective is to meet the investment needs of our clients. By understanding their investment objectives at the onset of our annual plan- ning process, we can preemptively tailor our set of recommendations to achieve those goals, while accounting for current market conditions. This ultimately allows for a more productive budgeting process. EDDIE MORENO Executive Vice President of Operations, Cardinal Group

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