Founded in Indianapolis in 1947, the Gene B. Glick Company is a property management and development company with nearly 19,000 apartment units in 10 states. The company’s reputation was built on founder Gene Glick’s commitment to integrity, quality construction, excellent service, and superbly maintained communities. For the Glick family, business success comes with the responsibility of investing in organizations that make the world a better place. Their generous philanthropy is an expression of gratitude and pride in the community.
Managing Change – Training Importance in a Pricing Evolution
Implement Revenue Management with a Dedicated Revenue Manager
The Gene B. Glick Company has a steadfast and successful reputation as a multifamily owner/operator, but the time had come to engage in new practices to further the company’s leadership and success. In 2010 when Jason Whittington joined the team as director of management operations, he came with three top priorities to help move the company into this next phase – the first of which was to initiate a consistent and comprehensive revenue management practice.
“Normally we are very conservative in our processes but revenue management was a no-brainer. There aren’t many markets or asset types out there that it won’t work for,” he explained. “From all the research I had done and after speaking to about 25 different references, there was really nothing negative about moving forward with an optimized, software-based revenue management platform and I was able to encourage senior leadership on the value it could deliver.”
Before selecting its pricing optimization platform, the executive team sought out a revenue manager, feeling it would be more beneficial to have the process run internally as opposed to outsourcing it to a third party. Brooke Dunn joined the Glick team to serve as revenue manager. “Brooke was the perfect fit for us because it is as much about team building and personality as anything else. The biggest thing to manage is not the software, it’s not the training, but it’s managing the change, and Brooke was selected because she was the best candidate to manage that change,” Whittington said.
Within weeks of her appointment, Dunn and the team launched into due diligence of the leading platforms on the market. The process wasn’t limited to the executive and operational teams; IT and marketing were also vital components of the evaluation from the beginning. “Everyone understands you have to partner with your vendor, but a lot of times I think people forget you have to partner with your coworkers,” Whittington explained. His consulting background helped guide the assessment course and bring the teams together to develop a greater level of cooperation from the start.
After a short trial of several revenue management systems, the Glick team selectedLRO™ because of the system’s proven revenue returns, as well as LRO’s people and industry-leading customer service that sets them apart.
More Than Software: It’s About Software, Teams & Training
During the trial and selection process, the Glick team recognized that moving to software-based revenue management was going to be an emotional and operational change for the on-site teams. Dunn explains “before we rolled the LRO system out, it was important to arm our on-site teams with information about revenue management instead of them doing their own research and coming up with assumptions and concerns before the software was even in place.”
For Dunn and the team, it was not only vital to give leasing professionals the software training, but also to invest time and effort in face-to-face guidance, especially focusing on role play to work through those conversations leasing agents might have under a revenue managed environment.
The company and the Rainmaker LRO consulting team worked closely to conduct a combined and rigid training process. Prior to the roll-out date, a LRO business consultant and Dunn conducted training with the on-site teams, which were then followed by a refresher training on the day the system went live. Within three weeks of the start date, Dunn followed up with in-person full day training. She brought together members of the marketing and property management software departments to round out how revenue management practices, and particularly LRO, fold into Glick’s philosophy and operations. “LRO is now part of the selling process. If our on-site teams aren’t able to get through the pricing process and sell it, we aren’t going to be successful. That is why training was very important to us at Glick. It is one of our foundations for success, as well as maximizing the benefit of LRO,” continued Dunn.
Improved Understanding to Make Better Pricing Decisions
“LRO forced us to focus on, and come to terms with, what we were in fact doing on site,” said Whittington. “It forced us to take a fresh look at things. I knew things would have to change, but the volume of changes we made because of what LRO uncovered is remarkable.”
One example of change was found in the company’s outdated ‘hold time’ policy. On paper, it looked as though the policy (a two week hold limit) was correct, but in practice it wasn’t adding up. With leasing agents focused on physical occupancy as opposed to economic occupancy, the company found agents offering applicants the ability to ‘lock in’ a rental rate with no time limit and no obligation. If an applicant cancelled their hold, they got their money back; meanwhile, the community lost not only that rent potential, but also the rent for the month the apartment unit was on hold. Now the company maintains a strict ‘seven day hold’ policy across the board, shifting the mentality from physical to revenue-based occupancy.
Some of the initial on-site pushback to revenue management pricing was quickly overcome by the recommendations delivered by LRO. Since LRO pricing recommendations are optimized based on mathe-matical analytics derived directly from historical data and market conditions, Glick’s on-site teams earned an increased awareness of what is going on around them. Dunn is able to challenge push back by reminding them of what their competitors are doing and leveraging the system’s data points to ask questions of the on-site teams and get them to question their own assumptions.
Through LRO revenue management, the Glick team is now able to better understand and make informed decisions as to why they do things a certain way. “We didn’t have a consistent, logical approach, and now with LRO we do,” Whittington said. Dunn concurred, “We are more efficient and LRO will continue to improve our efficiencies.”