CEO-MC Retreat 2018 Recap

CAI did it again this year with 2 ½ days of inspirational networking, learning and reflection. The community management industry is changing so quickly from outside influences; including unpredictable forces like natural disasters, rapidly-evolving technology, and a competitive job market are forcing industry leaders to navigate an ever-changing landscape more quickly than ever before.

The group discussed the difference between working in your company and working on your business. And with the recent natural disaster just miles away from the Boca Raton conference, in the Panhandle of Florida, Hurricane Michael was fresh on the minds of many attendees. Though these are obviously tough times for many residents, it was powerful to see the knowledge share that was happening among industry leaders at the event who were looking for the best ways to help their residents in need. Industry leaders from all over shared stories of overcoming past natural disasters and the importance of preparation.

It’s easy to get caught up in the operational details and day-to-day challenges. But ultimately, this event was a reminder to set aside time to plan, develop and prepare for what we sense is coming on the horizon, as well as the unexpected.

Along the same lines, operational success is dependent on the balance between big picture thinking and day-to-day execution. Marketing is a perfect example. We discussed that it’s important to always be attracting, converting, closing and delighting new customers. During busy times, it’s hard to consider these activities to be priorities. But if we consider what we learned about the importance of thinking big picture, we are reminded that planning for future growth is something we need to take action on today. So while thinking ‘how can I delight my customers today’ we must also consider, ‘What can I do today to attract new customers for the future?’

Ultimately, alignment on the details up front empowers your business to operate most efficiently and successfully. So whether it’s a contract with a new customer you’re on-boarding, or a new emergency evacuation policy you’re rolling out, the details are critical. Our goals are often more aligned than we think. The details in something as big as new contract or as small as an event flyer empower us as leaders to continue to lead this industry to success.

The sessions, keynotes and leaders at CEO-MC were a great reminder of the impact we can have on our communities. And I’m fortunate for the opportunity to continue to share knowledge, experience and success with many of you throughout the year. If you’d like to continue to grow your network and expand your reach, consider a quick chat with me to learn more about Innovia co-op. After all, we’re in this together and our residential community cooperative is a perfect example of that.

Thanks again to all of you!

– Mary Hurand, President, Innovia co-op

2018 Trends: Part 2

The community management industry continues to evolve in 2018

Community management is a competitive industry and it’s important for each of us to be aware of what’s to come. If you missed our first seven trends in Part 1, check it out here. But if you’re already caught up, read our second set of seven trends below.

Here are seven trends to be aware of this year:

1. Investors are expanding their investments
Over the last couple of years there was an increase in available inventory. However, in 2018 inventory is tight and demand is increasing. The economic uncertainty has kept amateur investors and landlords from getting back into major investments and top investors are expanding their empires. Not only are they buying up property, but they are buying out property management services such as community management companies. If this is interesting, there are some critical things investors are looking for: (a) transparent financials (b) efficient systems (c) automations (d) clear sales and marketing tactics (e) full-service solutions.

2. Operations and systems are worth your investment
Residents, in addition to the previously-mentioned potential investors, continue to expect on-demand services. Efficient, instant solutions are available for every industry today. And community management is no different. Though we’ve talked about this trend before it’s important to keep in mind that the expectation is continuing to increase, and the expectation for speed is continuing to speed up. Are your systems, operations and team up to par?

3. Apps continue to gain strength
These previously-mentioned efficiencies often come in app form. Just as websites became expected a couple of years ago, apps have become expected this year. Consumers continue to spend an increasing amount of time on smartphones, and if you don’t have an app they already feel like you’re behind. App design is an art. It’s not enough to throw up a cost-effective app; apps should be intuitive, clean, and should meet the unique needs of residents.

4. Smart amenities enter the industry
Technology is influencing physical amenities as well. If your properties have a gym, how are residents booking classes? If your properties have a laundry facility, is there a way to remind residents when their wash is done? How are residents booking common space for private parties? Ultimately, think through the amenities at each of your properties. How could technology improve the experience for residents? And how can technology increase efficiencies for your team and outside vendors? Ultimately there are established solutions and startups continuing to innovate in this space. Innovia co-op recently launched an all-inclusive app that residents and community managers agree improves the quality of life and community. 

5. Be prepared for the Amazon effect
Delivery is critical to residents.  Services like Amazon are ruling household purchases and residents are relying on their communities to help keep their belongings safe. Smart lockers, package messaging, and smart locks are all evolving solutions that are increasing the efficiency of package delivery. Gated communities have their own unique challenges and drop-off points and procedures are critical. And how are your communities ensuring the safety of those deliveries? Cameras and other security solutions are desired by residents who expect successful delivery of critical items.

6. Generation Z & Millennials are on the rise
We knew this day would come, and it’s finally here. Though it’s important to keep in mind that these younger generations are dealing with credit card debt, identify theft and building credit in ways previous generations didn’t think about. Renters are challenged with building credit and first-time buyers are looking for creative financing options, such as solutions startups are offering like a 10% down and 10% match program. And these generations are aware of the importance of privacy and data protection. Are your systems up to par? If not, these generations aren’t afraid to spread the negative feedback on their social feeds and within the communities they influence.

7. Become an influencer
Do you have a content strategy? It’s become the best way to drive local leads. Are you networking within your local community? Positioning yourself as a local influencer positions your business as a local market leader. Social media and local events continue to drive results, but new tactics such as podcasts are starting to drive significant results. The key is to be knowledgeable, authentic and likable on channels that your communities already find influential and partner with them.

Have other trends to share? Innovia co-op encourages the sharing of ideas, findings, tips and learnings amongst cooperative members. Interested in joining?


2018 Trends

What’s new for community management in 2018?

Community management is a competitive industry and it’s important for each of us to be aware of what’s to come. The digital age and rapidly evolving technology can make it difficult to stay ahead, but there are important offline trends we should remain equally as aware of. Understanding resident expectations, what excites them and every day concerns is critical to management effectiveness. But ultimately, community management operations and efficiencies remain the biggest opportunities for our position as community leaders.  

Here are seven trends to be aware of this year:

1. The smart home trend is inspiring smart communities and cities
Residents homes are now filled with automation. From Google Assistant to Ring doorbells to smart light bulbs, smart home technology is on the rise and will soon be the norm. This innovation is playing a role in communities and cities as well. As community managers we need to be aware that convenience is essential for happy residents. We must consider that electric cars are on the rise, where do residents re-power their vehicles? Do they deserve preferred parking? Wi-fi is everywhere. Could it improve the amenity centers and common areas you manage? And how can you use wi-fi to your advantage? Think about smartphone apps, online calendars and digital community rules. Speaking of scheduling, consumers are used to doing so ahead of time. And that goes for ordering too. Digital ordering and scheduling solutions create efficiencies for residents and managers alike.

2. Residential communities are venting online
Have you been hearing rumblings from residents of unhappiness? Or has something small escalated for one particular community member? Watch out! They are likely finding a place online to vent about your company or your staff. Do you have a feedback loop in place? Are there ways to get ahold of your staff easily? And is your staff responding in a timely manner? If not, check Facebook and other social media channels, Yelp, Google Places, the Chamber of Commerce and any other local business listings. If you do experience complaints online, follow up with the resident publicly so that when your next potential HOA is doing their research they give you the benefit of the doubt.

3. Offline social events are counteracting online obsessions
Though it’s clear that digital is supreme, interestingly enough offline interactions are becoming increasingly important to residents. Consumers are celebrating their unique interests and residents are looking for community events to gather with those similar to them. Whether it’s wine tastings, barista trainings, crafting or fitness classes, residents are looking to the community to support their special interests and talents.

4. Amenities and community are not the same thing to residents
We used to think that pools, playgrounds, and tennis courts were one in the same with the idea of community. But, residents want more than that. They want customer service, efficiencies and offerings that go above and beyond the amenity itself. Have a club house you aren’t leveraging to connect your residents? It’s not working. Can you add a Wi-fi hot spot and turn it into a business center during the day? Can you increase your people-to-people interactions? Residents will thank you.

5. Our industry needs to be aware of virtual reality
This technology is taking over. Consumers expect to be able to experience what does not yet exist. Launching a new app soon? Share an experience of what it’s going to be ahead of time. Internal selling techniques are critical to resident happiness. Is an area within your community under construction? Share what the area will look like once it’s completed. Get residents excited about the changes before they have time to feel otherwise.

6. Digital advertising is increasingly important
How are new associations finding you? If it’s not through word of mouth chances are they are pulling out their mobile devices and search browsers to find the best community management team near them. Is your website mobile and user friendly? If not, you may be missing out on new leads. Is someone managing your online reputation and social channels? An online community manager may need to be your next hire.

7. The senior housing market will continue to soar
Baby Boomers are continuing to age, and residential solutions for seniors are becoming increasingly important. Whether you’re managing a community dedicated to ages for 50+ or have a few communities with large segments of the senior population, it’s important to keep this demographic in mind. And senior care isn’t what it used to be. Beyond traditional care needs, these adults are more active than previous generations. They are looking for ways to stay fit, such as senior yoga classes, and places to interact with people their age, such as senior events.
For more updates like this, check back with our Community section often.

Have other trends to share? Innovia co-op encourages the sharing of ideas, findings, tips and learnings amongst cooperative members. Interested in joining?

Avalon Gives Back

One of our members, the Avalon Management Group, AAMC® hosted 3 private screenings of Disney’s newly released movie, Cinderella for 1,000 residents that live in any of the 54 Avalon managed communities. Avalon Management provided complimentary movie tickets and concession vouchers to their very happy residents. Our members truly appreciate their clients and love to give back to their communities.


See photos from the event at

The Top 3 Reasons You Should Join Innovia

Being a member of Innovia comes with so many new and exclusive benefits for your HOA Management Company and residents, it’s easy to see why so many of your peers choose to join. All our exclusive programs, services, resources, and homeowner perks are tailored for companies just like yours. Here are the top three reasons why you should join Innovia.

  1. We can help you retain and gain clients – You work hard to gain and retain every client you have. Through the innovative services and resources available to you by becoming a member, you have the opportunity differentiate your company in your marketplace. Our cost savings programs and exclusive homeowner benefits site, My Innovia Perks means you can offer your clients something your competitors can’t. You gain all this while still remaining an independently owned business. At Innovia, we’re giving you the tools you need to become a bigger and better business, while still staying true to your small business roots.
  2. We can help to cut your costs – Running an HOA management company is an intensive job – both financially and mentally. Why not cut down on some of these costs and make your life a little easier? Our combined buying power allows us to negotiate better prices and higher discounts for things like payroll services, office supplies, printings and mailings, fuel, and much more. We can also help you free up some time. Our social media management program allows you to stay fresh and relevant online without having to do anything. We also have a robust hiring program where we can help you find and hire the right people for open positions at your company.
  3. We can help you stand out – Our marketing strategies and social media management program are designed to get you more exposure by being a member. Your membership also means you are connected to some of the best management companies nation-wide, all working together for the mutual benefit of the entire membership. As a cooperative everyone involved is vested in helping each succeed.

Retain and gain clients, cut costs and help your HOA management company stand out by becoming a member of Innovia today. Have questions? Contact us here!