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Toll Brothers Keynote Highlight - Smart Spaces

Michele  McWilliams-Tate of Toll Brothers is responsible for leasing performance utilizing predictive sales metrics, customized sales process map engineering, conversion-driven communications, and strategic sales performance coaching for all multifamily assets, both stabilized and actively under development, on a national level. Prior to joining Toll Brothers Apartment Living in 2021, Michele served as the Chief Performance Officer for a privately held multifamily company, responsible for lease velocity, price performance, process and customer experience development, and proudly served as the national talent acquisition and development leader.

Michele was the keynote visionary speaker for our virtual Smart Spaces Conference Event: PropTech Revenue and ROI, on Thursday, March 21 at 2:45 PM CST. Watch the full replay for free with code All-OFF-VIP-SSC here!

As a leader in the industry, what trends do you foresee shaping the future of smart living spaces in the next 5 years?

I am super excited to see elevated adoption rates for AR/VR in virtual and vacant space touring, especially for use in lease-ups and stabilized on-notice units.  Many teams continue to rely on vacant in-person tours for conversion coupled with extended hold times, sometimes holding as far out as 60-days. The most effective method for reducing vacancy is, and has always been, simplifying the pre-leasing process.  This can be accomplished by providing the consumer with experiential tools, such as AR/VR touring, and the salesperson with performance-driven recognition that aligns to financial performance goals, such as an added bonus potential offered on pre-leased units versus vacant units.  Make it easy for the consumer and lucrative for the salesperson.

What are the top use cases for proptech in apartments?

Back to basics, stronger adoption of parking management and package management solutions are a must to shift our teams back into business manager roles versus concierge support.  These are two pain points easily turned into revenue streams.

What are the leading barriers to adoption of technology among MDUs?

Privacy, specifically for publicly traded companies, and people due to the learning process.  It is critical that we develop stronger solutions with the cross-generational end-user in mind.  Additionally, many of the users become educators and the trusted evangelists.  Involve the learning and development team early in the process to support more effective and impactful communications and knowledge-transfer.  This should also include ‘train-the-trainer’ courses for the front-line teams.

As consumer expectations evolve, what strategies do you recommend for property managers and real estate professionals to stay competitive in the era of smart living?

Stop avoiding the inevitable; technology is coming for us! Start adopting solutions slowly now so to be the expert later.  There are no one-size fits all solutions. It is more important to create ease of living over bulk tech opportunities.  Be an expert in key areas versus a jack of all trades. Focus on and SELL the unique value propositions you have created.  Take time to evaluate the communication and educational process on all layers/levels, including a train-the-trainer experience to elevate communications between the property team and prospect/resident. Pilot at a few locations to formulate best practices and maintain focus on the end-user.  In many cases, the platform is blamed for lack of efficiency whereas it is more likely a function of human usage/application.

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