Package handling for multifamily and apartment communities isn’t new yet all of the solutions that we have seem to cause unforeseen problems. In the second quarter of 2020, UPS delivered over 21 million packages. That’s only one quarter and one mail carrier.
With more people working/learning from home, online shopping and online deliveries have gone up. Is your package handling solution equipped to handle the growing number of deliveries? Many property managers came up with a few solutions to handle this last year. Let’s take a look at 5 solutions and see which ones worked and which ones need to be left behind.
Some multifamily communities allotted part of their budget and schedule to have one full-time employee who handles the packages. Since space was limited last year and the number of people who could be in the office was typically only one or two, assigning one person to handle packages as their sole duty that day was seen as a possible solution.
How did it hold up? This allowed many on-site teams to keep up with the increased package volume but it didn’t solve the issue of space and where to put packages. This employee would also only work business hours or leasing office hours which means that package pick up is restricted to a 9 – 5. That makes it difficult for residents to pick up packages during the work week and if the office closes for the weekend or has limited Saturday hours, residents would have to plan when to go get their packages.
Instead of the on-site team handling packages, some communities decided to opt for doorstep delivery. This seems convenient and cuts out the on-site team as the middle man of package delivery. There are lots of mixed feelings about this. For starters, unless a resident designates a delivery time to ensure they are home, it leaves their packages out in the open. This leads to damages and possibly theft.
Another solution to solve the storage issue was creating a designated package room. Some properties have their package room only accessible through a key fob or code while others have it in the leasing office and only accessible to on-site teams.
This is a better solution in the sense that residents feel like their packages are kept in a private, locked room that only select people have access to. But a room isn’t infinite. The average number of packages in the summer of 2020 exceeded that of the 2019 holiday rush for multifamily communities which has lead to overflow and some packages being left outside of this room. This again opens up the possibility of damage and theft again.
The last solution that is currently in practice is installing package lockers. Similar to package rooms, package lockers are only accessible to select people. If a resident has a package stored in the locker only they can access it. This sounds like the best solution when it comes to resident satisfaction.
That isn’t the case though. Just like the package rooms, package lockers have limited space which means there will be overflow and the possibility of damage and theft is still there. A lot of multifamily communities are starting to look at third party package management solutions, like an Amazon Hub.
A third-party package management system takes the burden off of the on-site team and puts all the responsibility onto the third party. They notify residents of package deliveries through text or email and residents can go to their system and receive their packages.
While this takes the burden off of the on-site team, it still has the same problems as package lockers and rooms when it comes to overflow. Many on-site teams have also had a hard time with third-party package delivery drivers and the actual way they handle packages.
Package management and handling is tricky. Every solution has its pros but they also have a lot of cons. Finding what works best for your team and residents will be a lot of trial and error. One of the best things you can do is communicate with your residents about the cons of the solution you choose. If it’s restricted office hours, let them know that and maybe work to have some time after 5 that they could come pick up packages. If you have a locker or room solution, let residents know that with higher volumes, packages will be left outside of this room and the lockers.
The reality of package handling is that there is no one solution that has no negatives. The best way to work around it is to have clear communication with your residents. Keeping them in the loop will build trust and keep residents satisfied.
PERQ EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, played host to another insightful lunch and learn which explored the challenges multifamily properties faced while trying to market to shifting consumer behavior during the pandemic. Guests Liv Gabrielsen, Director of Marketing for Bainbridge, and Scott Papenfus, Director of Strategic Partnerships for LCP360, chatted about the creative ways they’ve adapted efforts and the true impact of the pandemic with an in-depth conversation on:
- Shifting marketing efforts
- The increased use of virtual tours
- Role of community, conversation and communication
- Standing out in an email and on social media
- Tertiary metrics
- Tool integration
Virtual Chat: Marketing in a Pandemic from PERQ on Vimeo.
When asked about big shifts in general as a result of the pandemic, Liv began by acknowledging what most businesses experienced, consumers embracing the digital experience.
“For multifamily, what it did is forced our industry to embrace all things digital as we saw stay-at-home orders. The COVID pandemic made us shift what we’re doing to ensure we can meet consumer demands in a 100% digital environment.”
She added that the industry knew they would need to embrace consumers’ digital demands eventually. The pandemic just accelerated the process.
“We’ve known this for years; it’s been moving in this direction,” Liv says. “For me, it was still a little bit of a shock of sorts — how fast we had to lean into some of the things or behaviors we were already thinking about, then suddenly over the course of a couple of weeks went from ‘Yeah, we’re going that way’ to ‘Now this is it.’”
Scott shared that, from a technology company’s perspective, they saw a huge increase in the number of virtual tours.
“You can literally look at a graph and just see this huge spike in virtual tours when the pandemic hit,” he says. “One of the key things we’re seeing is more and more people on-site are using our guided virtual tour or mirrored virtual tour.”
He explains consumers are not touring alone, instead doing so virtually with a leasing agent on-site who shares their knowledge and expertise about the property while customizing the tour for the prospect.
“I’ve really seen an uptick in interest is people wanting to perform kind of a hybrid — it’s a virtual tour, but it’s actually led by somebody on-site,” says Scott.
“For multifamily, we want that face-to-face interaction because our communities are more than just four walls,” Liv says. “It’s the community, the environment and the lifestyle. So, how do we communicate that in a digital way when we are removing these on-site visits? That was the challenge — we knew we had to provide a full picture of what it’s like to live in a Bainbridge community.”
Watch the full video to learn more about what Liv and Scott implemented to better serve and market to their customers during the pandemic.
A Guide to Marketing with TikTok
How TikTok can Attract Residents
Google My Business
LCP360- Why Panoskin
LCP360- Guided Virtual Tours with Panoskin
LCP3060- Coronavirus Response Survey
Apartment Marketing Blogs- Getting Started
A Guide to Effective Digital Leasing
7 Feelings your Apartment Website Should Create
Connect With Us
During our latest lunch and learn, our EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, led a lively virtual chat on how to weather budget season in the middle of a pandemic. He sat down with Marcella Eppsteiner, Vice President of Marketing for Mission Rock Residential, Kim Boland, Director of Digital Marketing for Morgan Properties, and Savannah Wheeler, Vice President of Finance, Treasury and IT for Mission Rock Residential to discuss not only next year’s budgeting strategy, but also adjusting to unpredictability and moving forward.
The conversation lead to discussing important considerations such as:
- Prioritizing needs over wants
- Embracing agility and nimbleness for future changes
- Collaborating across departments for expertise
“This year is about prioritization — what we need versus a wish list,” Savannah says. “What do we need to get through this time? Then, investing in the tools and technology to have the edge.”
Savannah also pointed out that multifamily budgeting usually progresses as more of a push-and-pull process, but the pandemic requires prioritizing requests. From there, it’s all about investing in the right technology.
Marcella shares that this year data should be a key factor for budgeting, along with prioritizing requests. “Traditionally, we would share feedback and input for the strategy. This year, the real difference is seeing the granular data points that are strategy-determining factors for each department.”
This year’s global economic upheaval propelled the Morgan Properties team to get creative and increase leads and occupancy using the tools they already had in place.
“We learned a lot from last year, because our company went through so many changes and grew significantly,” Kim says. “We’ve been able to do a lot of smaller things that haven’t cost as much money, so we don’t need to budget as large.”
Eviction Moratorium Fact Sheet
Anaplan: Budgeting Software
Digital Marketing Budget Must Haves
Connect With Us
Mission Rock Residential
*During the session, Marcella Eppsteiner quoted “David Davidoff” The person she is quoting is named “Donald Davidoff.”
Additional Multifamily Resources
In the past 10 years, data has become a necessity in sales and marketing, not only for attracting buyers, but for retaining customers as well. In this episode of The Bridge Podcast, Andy and Muhammad talk with Desiree White and Colin Cloud, members of NE Property Management’s marketing team, and discuss how to train and align the marketing and sales teams to use data to personalize the leasing experience and provide the best customer experience.
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Right now, leasing teams have more data than ever before to assist in getting more tours and leases. Through website interactions and analytics, you can find out personal information about the renter that allows you to truly customize the renting experience. “The lead is no longer a cold call,” White says. “Make the renter feel like they are truly being helped… you don’t need to act like you are selling it to them.”
If you want to learn more about how NE Property Management is personalizing the renting experience and utilizing data to drive sales, along with how they’re training their teams, check out this episode of The Bridge podcast now.
The Bridge is available wherever you get your podcasts including, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Spotify. You can see all of the episodes, on your podcast app of choice by visiting this link.
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Additional Multifamily Resources
Your doors to your leasing office may be closed for the public, but that doesn’t mean prospective renters aren’t looking for their new home. Connect with your renters digitally and empower your team with the best digital leasing practices and tips during COVID-19 by using our Digital Leasing Guide
Use our Digital Leasing Guide to learn how to effectively generate opportunities online while there are little to no in-person visits. The guide outlines how to leverage your website to generate and manage quality leads, tips on how to budget your marketing spend, and the best ways to stay connected to rental prospects during COVID-19.
Check it out to learn how to increase your occupancy during COVID-19, byvisiting this link:https://drift.perq.com/Multifamily_COVID_Guide
Additional Multifamily Resources: