Property managers are increasingly interested in integrated proptech solutions, signaling a change from a historically “siloed” industry to one with more flexibility and partnerships between solutions.
“Proptech as an industry has seen an explosion in terms of the number of softwares that are used, the kinds of business models that are being tested and the customization that’s going into various types of operations,” Rently CEO Merrick Lackner said. “The reality is that, in this day and age, if you make your product more open, you make it more flexible, and the better you can integrate with other solutions, the more value it adds to the clients.”
Evolution of proptech
In the past, proptech companies have taken a much more closed ecosystem approach to how they do business. But these closed ecosystems are limiting for both the company and the end user, according to Andre Sanchez, chief operating officer at Rently.
“Proptech changes all the time, and software changes all the time, so if you’re a customer using something that’s closed off, over the long term, there are fewer options for you in the future,” Sanchez said. “To a point, closed ecosystems limit you as a company, whereas open systems give you more flexibility to build and structure your systems.”
When the proptech pond was small, Sanchez said, there wasn’t a strong need to integrate. But as the industry has expanded and the technology has become more sophisticated, proptech integration has become more important than ever.
“Instead of having maybe two or three reporting platforms or interactive platforms that you’re interfacing with on a day-to-day basis, it’s kind of exploded to 5, 10, maybe even more platforms that you’re interacting with day-to-day as a leasing agent,” he said. “I think that’s prompted a lot of companies to really have conversations with other companies about integrating.”
Proptech integrations streamline data reporting
If you’re working from multiple platforms to manage a property, the way you gain data insights is through data integration, Sanchez said. “And this reliance on cross-platform data makes integrations critical, which is why we are seeing more partnerships within the space,” he said.
“We get approached all the time about companies that are looking at data reporting tools to basically take all these systems and aggregate it,” he said. “Because as you grow as an organization, you need all these data sources to make good business decisions, so that’s where open systems really have a competitive advantage.”
Lackner added that many REITS, both multifamily and single family, have begun to develop their own custom CRM on customizable platforms, and Rently often works with clients to integrate with their proprietary platforms to streamline workflows and “white-label” the integrated solution under a community’s own branding.
“That allows all the reporting data to feed right in, in an open system, whether it’s renter metrics or leasing,” he said. “It’s much easier when you have a system that can provide that data or feed that data seamlessly across partner platforms.”
Integrations create leasing momentum
Lacker noted that some major listing sites are now partnering with proptech companies like Rently to facilitate leads through their marketing funnels.
For example, Rently recently announced a new platform integration with Apartments.com, allowing renters to instantly schedule self-guided tours using Rently’s technology without leaving the Apartments.com website. The self-guided tour button is right on the landing page where a renter would find an apartment community, allowing the renter to simply click a button to schedule that self-tour.
“That’s an example of an integration that’s gone downstream from our platform. Right now, it’s in front of the renter,” Sanchez said. “Before, these integrations were more towards the manager and towards the operator, but now we’re seeing it affect more parts of the renter funnel.”
By removing steps between the renter and self-showing, the ILS avoids some lead drop-off, Sanchez said.
“Intrinsically, as more steps are added, there’ll be more people that fall off the chain, off the funnel,” he said. “By having direct integrations like the ILS integration, you’ll see an increase in scheduled tours, you’ll see an increase in conversions.”
“A lot of the integrations that we typically pursue are things that we see as building a better product, or very complimentary to our product, like something that enhances that renter experience or enhances the manager experience,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said that from an integration perspective, Rently takes a customer-centric approach, whether the customer is a renter who is looking to do a self-guided tour, or an operator who is trying to do something more efficiently.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “what we look for in any integration partnership is to deliver value to the end user.”
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