The Preiss Company, one of the largest student housing providers in the nation, is pleased to announce the participation of several executive and leasing team members in this year's 2011 lnterFace Student Housing Conference. The three-day conference, held April 12-14 at the Renaissance Austin Hotel in Austin, TX, offered participants 14 high-level panel sessions made up of over 70 leading industry figures. The event featured two tracks: Investment, Development, and Financing and Leasing, Marketing, Operations, and Management.
Donna Preiss, company founder and CEO, participated in an lnterFace panel discussion entitled "20 Management ldeas That Will lmprove NOl". The discussion revolved heavily around marketing properties to students, with the conversation moving to mobile marketing. Preiss said that The Preiss Company recently launched mobile websites for its entire student housing properties, and the new service gives campus residents more access to off-campus property news, features, and updates.
"Adding mobile versions of our property websites has been one of the best investments our company has made," says Preiss. "Our management team is constantly updating our sites with the newest technology—from interactive floor plans to online rent payments. We need to make sure that this information is readily available and in the hands of the people who need it most—wherever they may be and from whatever device they may be using. In a matter of weeks after the launch, we've already seen our investment beginning to pay off. Our marketing team is getting daily leads from every one of our mobile websites, and the overall response has been fantastic."
Another industry concern entering the radar of housing CEOs is Internet bandwidth, which continues to play a large part in affecting residents' satisfaction. The Preiss Company was recently awarded a Student Housing Business "lnnovator Award" in the category of Best Bandwidth Solution for its student housing property in Georgia, University Village at Southern. University Estates at Austin Leasing Manager, Gavin Short, was a featured speaker at "Twenty Tips on How Technology can lmprove Your Marketing, Management, and Operations".
"Students are now demanding higher bandwidth, wireless access, and total reliability," says Short. "Across all of our properties, these expectations are playing a big part in the leasing decision making process. Many courses are online and require high-speed interaction, With YouTube, Facebook, gaming, and a myriad of other applications, it is the number one amenity that students look at as they make leasing decisions. We need to provide a connectivity solution that not only meets current needs, but can adapt to handle ever increasing demands."
Company principal, Kirk Preiss, moderated the "Report From The Frontlines" panel, where operations executives further explored and discussed preleasing and marketing efforts. All three panelists reported good preleasing results and said that signing incentives are now including iPads and gift cards. In addition, parents are now being targeted in the leasing process.
"The ability to attract residents is more competitive than ever," says Kirk Preiss. "Today's college students are more technologically sophisticated and expect greater service and more amenities. Since there are more housing options available to them, loyalty must be earned at every opportunity and properties must be ahead of the marketing curve when it comes to offering and delivering services and product. Successfully anticipating and satisfying your residents' needs could mean the difference between success and failure."
University Village at Austin Leasing Manager, Toryn Johnson and Matt Cohen, Leasing Agent for University Estates at Austin, were two of five featured panelists for one the conference's more popular panels: "Listen to Your Customers" Student Panel. The student panel was moderated by Dan Oltersdorf of Campus Advantage and featured university students from across Texas. lnvestors and developers were able to hear students' opinions and suggestions on everything from bandwidth to security. The forum exposed how students thoroughly research any prospective property beyond just the typical online apartment rating, their willingness to pay more rent for desired amenities, and that a strong campus presence may prompt a faster lease commitment. The availability of on-site managers was also extremely important to students, as well as maintenance staff response time.
About The Preiss Company
The Preiss Company is one of the largest providers of off-campus student housing in the United States and currently manages 15,000 beds throughout the southeast and Pennsylvania. The company employs over 250 team members and has formed over 50 partnerships and developed over 20 projects stretching from Maryland to Texas.
About InterFace Student Housing
InterFace Student Housing Investment & Finance is produced by France Publications, the leading publisher of commercial real estate news and information in the United States. France Publication titles include Heartland Real Estate Business, Texas Real Estate Business, Southeast Real Estate Business, Northeast Real Estate Business, Western Real Estate Business and Shopping Center Business, along with six other commercial real estate-oriented magazines and five regionally driven magazines focused on wealth management.