The future of multifamily marketing holds vast opportunities for properties to use technology that quickly converts prospects into residents by making the online search experience as simple as possible.
In this interview, Nishant Phadnis, Chief Product Officer at Rent., shares how to enhance the renter experience and insights on future innovations in multifamily marketing. From seamless tour scheduling to the Google integration and content optimization tips for property teams, Nishant sheds light on innovations to watch out for in 2024.
What’s your role at Rent. and what excites you most about your job?
I lead the product organization as Chief Product Officer at Rent. One of the things that really excites me about my role is the diversity of problems we get to solve every day, and that we always have an opportunity through technology to make something better.
The diversity of problem-solving and the ability to always have the most innovative tools to leverage via technology is an exciting part of being in the product organization. Think about the evolution from a dial-up phone to a cell phone.
That whole product journey is pretty amazing to see, and I’m interested to see ten years from now, what technology will provide this industry and our products to make renting even better.
Through technology and new innovations, I am excited about the opportunity to expose deeper, more enriching content to renters that allows them to fully experience a rental unit even while sitting on their couch.
What innovations are you most excited about when it comes to the renter experience?
There are two major areas I’m excited about when it comes to innovating and delivering better experiences for renters.
The first thing is seeing the multifamily industry catch up to parity in other industries specifically regarding booking tours. I think about the advancements that online reservations have made, whether it’s in hotels or restaurants, where you can quickly identify schedules and easily see that a hotel room is available on this date or a restaurant has a table open at this time and people can book a reservation with one click. Our industry now is catching up quickly but there is a great opportunity to make booking a tour with a property an even more streamlined experience for renters.
Second, I think we are doing some amazing things with capturing unique content at the lowest common denominator—which is units. Through technology and new innovations, I am excited about the opportunity to expose deeper, more enriching content to renters that allows them to fully experience a rental unit even while sitting on their couch. Taking the renter journey and bringing it online through a digital experience really excites me.
What can property teams do to start improving the renter experience in 2024?
Improving the renter experience boils down to the availability and freshness of the content property teams are willing to share with their partners. The renter experience significantly improves based on how comprehensive content we offer as a marketing channel is and how fresh that content is.
For example, if a property has photos dating back to 2017 but has done some renovations or completely overhauled the look and feel of the community—simply updating your channels with new, fresh photos can drastically improve the renter experience.
The more information you provide about fees, availability, pricing, and amenity information, the more robust the listing is.
Another way to improve the renter experience is through comprehensiveness of content. The more information you provide about fees, availability, pricing, and amenity information, the more robust the listing is. And renters are less confused or uncertain about what it is like to live in that unit.
There can be some property teams that suppress information or don’t invest in capturing information at that level. However, that information can really enrich the renter experience. Integration is another key factor.
If you have technology that allows us to schedule tours directly on your listing or have a content feed or any other feeds that allow us to get real-time information, that’s just super powerful. So, the moral of the story is, don’t hold back! Share information with renters. We’ve seen that this is beneficial to both the renter and the client in terms of number of engagement and lead quality.
Rent. has recently collaborated with Google. Tell us more about this integration and how this impacts the renter journey.
We were thrilled to be working closely with Google and to be the first multifamily website to host Aerial View. The integration took place with the collaboration between our respective product and engineering teams, over the course of several weeks. The result was exposing aerial view videos to thousands of multifamily properties overnight.
The reason why we enjoyed working with Google and will continue to work with Google is because of their understanding of how to scale things quickly, and their ability to continue to push the envelope in terms of innovation and technology.
Their real estate organization has also really been amazing in sharing what’s on their roadmap when it comes to content that they feel would inspire and motivate renters and make their journey as frictionless as possible. That inspires Rent.’s product organization and aligns very well with our mission of simplifying and removing friction in the renter journey.
What research does Rent. conduct to better understand the renter experience and their needs when it comes to finding a new place?
If you ignore one side of the marketplace, you’re only solving half the problem.
We have a dedicated team that is constantly asking questions and validating or invalidating our hypothesis about what renters really care about through studies on renter preferences, behaviors, and housing plans in the future. However, we also conduct research on our clients, property owners and managers to better understand their experience through the leasing journey. This gives us a full picture so we can deliver the best experiences both for property teams and renters.
If you ignore one side of the marketplace, you’re only solving half the problem. For example, if renters are having challenges with property managers not being able to answer their calls or schedule tours, we can use that research and feedback from renters to help educate and build solutions for our clients, that will not only alleviate their burdens but also benefit renters in their search for their next home.
What finding about the renter experience has surprised you most this year?
2023 is a better time to search for a home than it was in 2019 when it comes to technology and integrations. However, what has surprised me the most is how critical in-person tours continue to be despite the habits and behaviors we observed during the Covid years—2020, 2021, and parts of 2022.
Many thought that virtual tours and sight-unseen behavior would continue beyond the pandemic. However, a lot of folks have actually gone back to similar behaviors pre-Covid. When looking for an apartment, renters want both exceptional online experiences and the ability to easily connect with the onsite teams.
Elevate the renter experience and keep occupancy high this year!
With seamless integration of an Internet Listing Service (ILS), best-in-class digital marketing tools, and data analytics, The Rent. Marketing Platform supercharges results across search, social, reputation management, display, and more. Book your free consultation to start maximizing your marketing ROI.