Last week, The Rainmaker Group released LRO Mobile, the first industry mobile app for revenue management software.

The free app, available on both iOS and Android, brings essential features of revenue management to smartphones and tablets for quick, on-the-go access to pricing functions and trend reports.

“People involved in the revenue management space are often times doing a lot of site visits and seeing different places, which means they’re traveling to different locations and sometimes they don’t always have easy internet access for a laptop,” says Eian Counts, vice president of product strategy at The Rainmaker Group.  “But it’s very easy to pull out your phone and say, ‘oh, I see what your leasing activity has looked like and where the rents have been going,’ and have an informed conversation.”

Bryan Pierce, director of revenue management at Holland Residential, which just started using the LRO Mobile app, says it’s pretty straight forward and easy to use.

“When I’m out on sites and someone is requesting some kind of a pricing change, I have the opportunity to view it, see what pricing is, make a correction right there and have it take effect,” he says.

LRO also introduced new automated comps, a subscription-based service for automatic competitor market pricing so on-site teams don’t waste time collecting comp data. It also gives users the ability to decide custom competitor sets. LRO also plans to roll  roll out additional functionality for the app including push notifications and broader analysis.

As with any new technological advancement, there's a question to its necessity. Obviously there's a need for mobile capability, but the debate centers around whether an app is the right strategy.

YieldStar's Approach
One of LRO's chief competitors, YieldStar, has taken a different mobile-capable route, using responsive design. Responsive design is an approach to creating a website whereby the site adjusts, instantly, depending on the device you're using. So, in the company's opinion, no separate app is necessary.

"The internet is pretty ubiquitous," says Keith Dunkin, president of YieldStar. "It’s everywhere you go, so as opposed to requiring a secondary app, we just allow our partners to access everything directly through the platform regardless of device they’re using." 

YieldStar's software is device- and browser-agnostic, meaning a user can transition from desktop to tablet to smartphone, or from Chrome to Safari, and the software will orient and re-size itself to the new device for optimal function.

The only difference between using a mobile app versus a responsive design is the user experience. Both strategies put data at the tip of your finger, but one requires a download and the other requires a browser. Neither strategy has a marked advantage over the other, so it ultimately comes down to user preference.