App Tips from Property Manager, Steven Branch


WILMINGTON, NC – June 15, 2018 – At last month’s The Preiss Company’s 2018 Leadership Conference, the CQ team took time to acknowledge the property managers of four Preiss communities with the highest rate of app downloadsEach manager received a $50 Amazon gift card to celebrate their hard work and success in promoting the Preiss Mobile App within their communities. Among these dedicated individuals was Steven Branch, Property Manager at Plato’s Lofts at Randall in Wilmington, NC. Hoping to learn some helpful tips, we asked Steven a few questions about promoting downloads. Here’s what we learned…


Staff at Plato’s Lofts at Randall take home a prize for having one of the highest app download rates throughout all Preiss communities. From left: Tasie Retson, Marketing Manager, with Steven Branch, Property Manager.


Which Preiss App feature do your residents utilize the most?

Maintenance requests. And our community calendar, so they can keep up with what’s going on.


Nearly half of all of your residents are actively using the app. Did you and/or your management team do anything unique in promoting the app that was particularly successful?

Absolutely. On move-in day, we made the Communiqué table one of our check-in tables. We had CQ reps there to explain the app to residents, help them get set up, and just answer any questions. It was a part of the overall move-in day experience leading up to when they got their keys. 


What’s something else you’d recommend for sites that don’t have that move-in day opportunity?

In general, just be sure to present it as a benefit for them – which it is. I mean it is for us as well, but it is a benefit for them. You could maybe do something around renewals. So, in order for them to renew, they need to download the app. For example, when our residents renew, they need to come see and get their new parking passes and things, so we could make them download it before they can take those things.


We’ve made similar recommendations in the past and have noticed, with some property managers, a hesitation to make anything seem “mandatory”. What would you say to managers sharing that concern?

I completely understand. I had the same hesitations. Especially in regard to move-in day, because they already have to sign this and that, and get a key and a parking pass (etc.) – but, they just have to do this one time and then that’s it. I’ve worked at other properties where we had check-in slips on move-in day, where they would check off each step as they went along and at the end when all tasks were checked off they received their key. 


What would you do in a situation where a resident really pushed back, or just flat-out refused to download the app? I feel that is the kind of situation they’re scared of confronting.

Hey, as management, we set the tone. Unfortunately – and I don’t mean this to sound rude – but you can’t be too concerned with what residents say in that instance because ultimately, they’re the ones that will complain when the living experience isn’t what they thought it would be. It is for their benefit, as well as ours. 


Post move-in day, we’ve heard the hosting events can be pretty effective in encouraging app downloads. Have you done any special events?

We haven’t done events specifically geared towards the app this year. However, I know that offering community-wide prizes works really well – like, “If we get the highest rate of app downloads as a property, then our community gets a free pizza party”. In general, you should have staff members go around during events and talk to residents. You can turn any event into a promotional opportunity with raffles of drawings, like telling residents “If you download the app and log-in right now you’ll be entered into a drawing to win one month’s free utilities. 


What final pieces of advice would you give property management staff who want to increase downloads?

Reminding residents consistently doesn’t have to be pushy. Try approaching it from that angle or this is for you, so that you know what you need to know. I mean, what if there was a burglar going around stealing bikes or something? We want you to be informed. One of my agents did this through email. During the first 90 days or so after move-in, they sent out 1-4 email reminders to residents who hadn’t yet signed into the app. It’s better to inform residents while their brains are fresh. When they’ve just moved in, or at the start of the year or the semester. There is so much that student residents are responsible for during the year that trying to do it mid-year is hard.


Also, don’t be lazy. You’re doing this for a reason. You want to better connect the resident the community, to make them a part of the community.