MyNewPlace Finds a Magic Number
John Helm, CEO of San Francisco-based MyNewPlace, has found the right number. After a seminal study delievered by Level One at the 2009 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference revealed that industry ILSs were typically capturing only 30 percent of the leads due them (and MyNewPlace only 17 percent), Helm and the entire MyNewPlace team spent the past year scouring more than 200,000 records from some of the ILSs’ largest clients to determine the appropriate credit due for their leads-to-lease (and also the appropriate price).

That price, on average, is $275, and MyNewPlace announced this week at the National Apartment Association Conference that the ILS will immediately guarantee the $275 average cost to all customers who enroll in their no-fee guarantee program.

“I’m obviously pretty involved in the whole lead tracking problem that still exists in our industry, and it is particularly frustrating for us as the newest company and the youngest brand because we get tracked the least,” says Helm, who offered an exlusive interview to Multifamily Executive in the days leading up to the NAA Conference. “It’s difficult to understand why. You don’t want to point a finger at the on-site staff, and certainly ‘How did I get here?’ isn’t at the top of the rental prospect's mind, and indeed they might not even know. ‘Walk in’ and ‘drive-by’ have simply come to be catch-all phrases.”

Thus, the MyNewPlace guarantee requires operators to commit to year-long participation in the program. “After a year, we will look at all the leads we sent you, compare to your rent roll, and if we can’t give you an average cost of lease of $275, we will give you a credit,” Helm says. “We are putting our money where our mouth is.”

Existing MyNewPlace clients already seem impressed with the nascent program—a full 15 percent are participating in the cost-to-lead analysis, including some notable industry heavyweights. “We consider MyNewPlace a true partner,” says Donald Davidoff, group vice president, strategic systems for Archstone. “Its cost-per-lease analysis proved a cost point under $275 and sparked a productive internal dialogue about tracking and marketing optimization.”

RealPage Acquires eREI
Elsewhere in the ILS space, on June 23, Carrollton, Texas-based multifamily software and service firm RealPage announced it had reached an agreement to acquire Camarillo, Calif.-based eREI, maker of the on-demand Lead2Lease customer relationship management system.

“This is a great fit for RealPage,” says eREI president John Tull, who will remain in his position. “Our lead management technology dovetails into RealPage's paperless leasing system, saving on-site staff time and streamlining the leasing experience for resident prospects.”