Steve Lefkovits, founder, president and CEO of Joshua TreeConsulting, told attendees at NAHB Multifamily's Pillars ofthe Industry Conference in San Diego in March that firms usingrevenue management programs such as Lease Rent Options fromRainmaker Group, M/PF YieldStar Price Optimizer from RealPage andYardi Revenue Management can boost revenues by 2% to 4%.

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Georgianna W. Oliver, founder and CEO of EverGreen Solutions, anational technology consulting firm serving the commercial andmultifamily real estate industry, estimates about 3,000 apartmentcommunities are already using revenue management software.

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But there is growing interest in the technology, industryexperts concur. Revenue management software analyzes a wide rangeof variables, including competitive influences and historicaldemand, current and historical lease activity, lease duration,move-in dates and other metrics.

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And one recent survey of multifamily executives found as many as30% plan to invest in revenue management technology this year. AsLefkovits notes, there's good reason for the interest, especiallyin a deflationary environment: using statistical, non-emotionaldemand functions and data enables firms to increase revenue andmarket share, and to optimize its pricing using demandinformation.

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Shawn Mahoney, CIO of Windsor Communities, couldn't agree more.Windsor, affiliated with the General Investment & DevelopmentCompanies of Boston, implemented Rainmaker's LRO revenueoptimization system at 40 communities after a successful pilottest.

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The test conclusively demonstrated lease rent lift, Mahoneysaid, noting, "We evaluated LRO's effectiveness with 'same store'pilot tests where six communities set lease rents using LRO, andsix control communities used our managers' existing method forrate-setting." Mahoney called the results "compelling."

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Windsor, which began the software roll-out in 4Q '08, will havemore than 10,000 units using the system when its implementation iscomplete. Mahoney said the company will realize two benefitstreams. "The first is that LRO gives optimized pricerecommendations faster than our community managers usually price.And second, it provides an automated, standardized, and replicableprocess for each community and market for renewing lease rates andsetting prices. It is the right tool for pricing," he said.

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Bruce Barfield, president of the Rainmaker Group, said revenuemanagement software enables property managers to price moreconfidently by giving them a more comprehensive picture of themarket and their competition. In addition, he noted, "When managersrely on automated lease rent recommendations they are free to focusattention on selling their communities more effectively."

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