2007 MFE Awards
Merit: Technology

All of Continental Properties Co.'s apartment communities used to have built-in literature holders at the front of the clubhouses to provide after-hours visitors with informational handouts. The leasing staff noticed that a lot of prospective residents were visiting after hours, leading to the creation of an interactive, after-hours leasing center.

The result is the Springs Experience 24-hour leasing kiosk, a custom-built, interactive leasing kiosk installed in the clubhouse exteriors at all new Springs Apartment communities. Created by Lincoln, Neb.-based Nanonation, the kiosk offers prospects 24-hour access to a variety of information about the Springs communities, including floor plans, video testimonials, and virtual tours of the amenities offered. Users can also complete an online request form built into the application so that a Springs' leasing professional can contact them at a later time. That request is sent immediately to the leasing staff in the form of an e-mail alert.

Continental Properties introduced its first kiosk in 2004--a prototype that cost $19,000. Each subsequent unit was $11,000, but the return on investment is almost immediate, since a kiosk can pay for itself if just two or three units are rented from its prospects. Today, there are five kiosks in operation in Alabama, Florida, and Texas.

The kiosks have become an integral part of the company's overall marketing plan and have also been incorporated into normal business hours. The leasing staff encourages potential residents to use the kiosks to preview the facilities while they wait for a leasing representative to take them on a live tour.