The revenue management software market is heating up as 2007 comes to a close, with Yardi set to compete head-on with industry leaders RealPage and the Rainmaker Group.
Long a mainstay in the airline and hotel industries, revenue management software, or yield management software, has made its way onto the servers of some of the largest multifamily property managers in the last year. The continued development of such software will ultimately lower its price and expand its use among mid-sized and smaller owner/managers.
The software analyzes a variety of data—seasonal traffic rates, weighted competitor rents, and recent demand among them—to recommend pricing for a given move-in date, unit type, and lease duration, maximizing rents for each community in a property management firm’s portfolio.
In July, Yardi began beta testing of its revenue management product through some of its customers. The product surveys competitors in the market and offers a pricing model that the user can help shape by inputting parameters such as comparable rent analysis or the number of days a unit is vacant.
The product will compete with the Lease Rent Optimizer (LRO) software from the Rainmaker Group Inc., which began life integrated with Intuit’s MRI Residential software platform. While the new tool from Yardi integrates with both the leasing and accounting components of its own software suites, Rainmaker also works with Yardi’s Voyager platform, as does RealPage’s M/PF YieldStar.
Rainmaker’s LRO continues to gain market share. In August, Mid- America Apartment Communities reported an increase in average rents of 3 percent in a pilot test of LRO on seven properties, measured against a control group of seven similar properties that set rates manually. Also in August, Carmel Partners, Julian LeCraw Co., and Laramar Group began a pilot installation of LRO, and current customers include Simpson Housing and Equity Residential.
RealPage’s Price Optimizer product leverages that company’s market- research data—such as area occupancy rate and rent forecasts— to help property managers see what the market will bear on a day-by-day basis. The product, like the Rainmaker Group’s LRO, also includes a forecasting tool that uses seasonal data to provide supply and demand reports for specific floorplans. In the summer, real estate investment trust UDR, Inc., which owns 70,325 units across the country, began installing YieldStar throughout its portfolio of properties.
FIRST ADVANTAGE, INTUIT ROLL OUT INVESTMENT TOOLS
The revenue management software industry has seen more competition from other sources this year. Two new software products that weigh the economic viability of a potential acquisition or development were recently released.
Intuit released IMPACT in the summer, a tool that helps companies create and model multiple investment scenarios and estimate the short- and long-term financial impact of alternative decisions. The product was engineered as a standalone product, and it integrates with all of the leading property management software suites, including Yardi’s Voyager.
Earlier this year, First Advantage SafeRent released MarketVISION, an application that analyzes sitespecific market data to weigh the merits of a potential development or rehabilitation opportunity in a given market.
MarketVISION analyzes resident data pulled from a database of about 40,000 properties and updated daily, using rent income, traffic quality, and resident demographics to paint a picture of a development opportunity in a given neighborhood. Comparable properties are analyzed to give a snapshot of rents and how they’re distributed in the submarket.