Location, Location, Location: Layering Visualization Over Centralized Data

Data visualization and the use of business intelligence help properties find missing pieces.

3 minute read

Location matters – it’s an amenity, after all. But it’s also an element that impacts different revenue opportunities and drives more strategic decision-making for operators, from asset and revenue managers to leasing teams. More apartment companies are leveraging data visualization to identify key insights that would otherwise be missed in traditional spreadsheets and reports.

Layering map-based visualization over data expedites decision-making and allows teams to identify the subtle patterns, trends and outliers that make a substantial operational impact. Panelists in the 2023 Apartmentalize session, “Location, Location, Location: Layering Visualization Over Centralized Data” discussed the role of visualization in business intelligence (BI) and data modeling, and how it empowers more strategic, impactful decision-making.

Operators combine BI with data visualization to spatially visualize property data portfolio-wide to gain a comprehensive, intuitive understanding of revenue opportunities. These operators have first and foremost made an organizational commitment to aggregate outside data sources and centralize data with BI. The data sources are then elevated with map-based visualization to make the data much easier to understand and act on.

“Village Green is third-party management, and we made a substantial move putting together a business analytics department,” says Christine “CG” Millier, Director of Digital Marketing at Village Green. “We want to enhance partnerships with our clients and develop more avenues to collaborate on decisions, rather than just providing directives and a bunch of different reports. Centralized dashboards with visualization give us real-time, actionable information and allow us to spend more time making decisions versus reading through tons of reports or spreadsheets and trying to understand what the data is telling us.”

Millier notes Village Green teaches all teams, from sales to service and property managers how to look at the dashboards and utilize the data. This empowers a more data-centric culture and benefits multiple roles within the company for greater efficiencies, streamlined communication and strategic decision-making. 

“There may be two identical apartments, but one overlooks the pool while one overlooks the parking lot, and having a visual to understand that and price accordingly really optimizes our pricing strategies and allows us to approach it from a more tactical way,” said Gloria Smith, Data Visualization and Analytics Lead at Brookfield Properties. “It’s also easier to audit amenities because you can see the location and gain a deeper level of insight. But there are many scenarios outside of pricing and amenities that visualization can really elevate all facets of operations.”

So, what's the scenario?

When asset and revenue managers have real-time granular, visually contextual data portfolio-wide, it empowers more confident data-driven decisions. For example, a lease-up velocity time-lapse video allows teams to visualize the data spatially. They can then learn from current and historical data to refine strategies over time and make adjustments moving forward.

“Visualization over BI can also help with things that aren’t as obvious, like renewals,” said Donald Davidoff, CEO & Co-Founder at Real Estate Business Analytics (REBA). “If teams can visually see an inordinate number of service requests on one side of the building, they can recognize there may be a problem that’s likely affecting renewal rates. There are many second-order elements you can see versus the obvious pricing, such as resident survey scores, that teams can use to make better decisions.”

Other portfolio-wide visualization scenarios include delinquencies, resident sentiments and ratings and cross-leasing and centralization maps to see inventory across all communities. As visualization advances, it will expand to encompass maps of the whole market – giving teams that much more information to identify larger trends, patterns and outliers on which to make decisions.

Using maps as a visual data point can reveal opportunities and challenges that aren’t apparent on static spreadsheets or reports. This empowers more tactical decision-making, the ability to flexibly adjust and fuels data-centric cultures in an era where data is king.

Morgan Dzak is an Account Manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing