The Campus Advantage Quarterly Newsletter – CAMPUS ADVOCATE SUMMER 2016
ANOTHER MOVE-IN SEASON IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, BUT AT CAMPUS ADVANTAGE, WE’VE BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS ALL YEAR.
While many people may see the spring semester as a time to just focus on leasing, we understand the importance of gearing up for move-in right from the beginning of the year. That starts with our FOCUS Conference where General Managers from properties around the country visit us at our home office for training sessions and to celebrate the accomplishments from the previous year at the CAmmys. But the training doesn’t stop with General Managers. In June, our Students First™ team welcomed key Res Life staff to Winter Park, Colorado for a special training session that they can take back to their properties and extend to even more of our great employees, from Leasing Managers to Resident Directors, Community Assistants, and everyone in between.
Similarly, our Operations team has been busy both preparing for move-in and setting up initial operations at a number of new properties. Their role in getting the property ready for lease up is instrumental in continuously hitting our benchmark goals for occupancy and sets the tone for new properties in general. Without the team we have in place, we wouldn’t be able to welcome so many new properties to the family as we have so far this year.
While summer isn’t a time to slack off in leasing or operations, our Students First™ team is still going strong as well. All year, we’ve been raising money for Relay For Life and are poised to reach the $200,000 mark in total funds raised. It’s a great cause that people can give back to in several ways, big or small.
Move-in day will be here before we know it, and I personally can’t wait to get out there and see what our different site staff are working on to welcome a new group of students for the 2016–17 year. Whether you’re helping move boxes this move-in season or trying to get that last big push for leases, I wish you luck and continued success.
CEO, Campus Advantage
THE FIRST STEPS
CAMPUS ADVANTAGE INITIAL OPERATIONS TEAM ENTERS FOUR NEW MARKETS
With the student housing industry constantly growing and changing, there is an influx of new properties in the marketplace. At Campus Advantage, our Initial Operations team employs a tried and true process to make sure we’re setting up new developments for both initial and long-term success. Currently, our team is working with four new communities to launch their success in 2016–17.
Step 1: Know the Market
The most important thing to remember when developing a new property is that no two markets are the same. This is why our Initial Operations team is very heavily involved on the ground in the first weeks of a new project. The team’s work helps us understand the new market by providing insight into student likes and dislikes, market dynamics, supply and demand, and more — all of which are key in setting up the strategy employed for all of the steps that follow the initial site visit.
Step 2: Develop a Strong Brand
Even before breaking ground, we work with the client to develop a brand that resonates with future residents. Our creative team at Catalyst are experts in developing successful student housing brands. We begin establishing ourselves in the community using a well-designed temporary leasing space, permanent branded collateral, and a marketing plan based on the university, various organizations, guerrilla marketing tactics, social media, and more. We also set up resources and technologies that are key in leasing and, later down the road, resident retention.
Step 3: Putting a Strong Team in Place
Finally, our team focuses on one of the most important steps: recruiting and placing the right team with both full-time and student staff. Having the right team in place will ultimately determine the success of the community, and knowing the right people to look for and to train is a huge part of our Initial Operations process.
Take a look at the projects we’re currently helping to launch for the 2016–17 school year with AXIS 360, One Easton, The Knox, and Arcadia on the River in fall 2017!
Trainings and Conferences
It may have been way back in January, but all of the attendees of the 2016 FOCUS Conference can still recall the great memories and lessons they learned during their weeklong stay in Austin, Texas. The FOCUS Conference (which stands for “Fostering Our Communities’ Ultimate Success”) is an annual national conference where General Managers from each of our communities come to train and interact with Regional Managers and other corporate Operations employees as they prepare for another successful year.
This year’s conference kicked off with a keynote from Gary Guller, motivational speaker and one-armed Mt. Everest Summiteer, who spoke on the importance of bringing along others to your “mountain-top goals” to share in the view. We couldn’t forget to add a little Mojo to our conference, as the entire team participated in a hilarious team-building murder mystery dinner. And in tradition, the last night of the conference was spent celebrating our company’s many successes at the annual CAmmy Awards ceremony held at the Allan House venue in downtown Austin.
STUDENTS FIRST™ CONFERENCE
The attendees of the 2016 Students First™ Conference had an amazing time in Colorado at Snow Mountain Ranch in June, where they (literally and figuratively) climbed mountains toward their goals of learning how to prepare their teams to provide an unmatched Students First™ program that is rooted in putting our company values of Integrity, Intelligence, Passion, and Mojo into action. With this in mind, the theme was “Actions Speak Louder,” and participants shared stories and best practices of how to provide legendary customer service both internally and externally. Our conference leader, Senior Vice President Dan Oltersdorf, hosted a record number of 30 attendees representing our communities, and several corporate team members were also able to join for a few days to meet and interact with these Campus Advantage leaders.
PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT: THE DOMAIN AT COLUMBIA AND The highlands
As the semester wrapped up on university campuses throughout the country, our leasing teams stepped up to fill beds before students left for summer. We would like to take a moment to recognize a couple of communities that have gone above and beyond to make sure they’re full for the next academic year!
PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT: THE DOMAIN AT COLUMBIA
Leasing Manager Tracy Ball attributes awesome leasing numbers to her staff’s relentless efforts both on campus and on site to ensure their brand is at the front of people’s minds. Since move-in day, the team relentlessly marketed the property and made customer service the number one priority. This led both to great resident retention and referrals, and a positive word of mouth in the greater Columbia community.
Each month, the staff gets together and sets leasing goals and picks their reward, whether it’s a change in the daily dress code or a pizza party — either way, since they decided on it together, they all work hard to make it happen. The Domain also specially tailors their Students First™ events to the residents, such as their Spring Break Bash where they held a pool tournament, their longest drive competition in the golf simulator, and, of course, free food — always a favorite! Currently, The Domain is sitting almost 15% ahead compared to this time last year, and we can’t wait to watch their continued success!
Learn more about The Domain at Columbia at domainatcolumbia.com!
PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT: THE HIGHLANDS
Newer to the Campus Advantage portfolio, The Highlands has excelled this leasing season and currently sits at 99% pre-leased. Kait Berchem, General Manager, believes that their biggest asset is the staff — they’re amazing.
Each week, they work on customer service and role play scenarios that they may encounter to make sure they’re prepared for any situation. The staff also trains on how to approach future residents, making it easy for everyone to answer questions because they know they are all giving the same information. Most importantly, the staff has fun. They set up contests in the office to keep one another motivated even during slow times and make sure that hard work is rewarded. Congratulations, The Highlands team, on your success!
Learn more about The Highlands at livehighlands.com!
In January, Campus Advantage hosted our annual company award ceremony, the CAmmy Awards. We are always proud of the hard work our employees put in and look forward each year to celebrating the success they bring to the Campus Advantage family. Please join us in recognizing the outstanding work done by each of our employees, and especially the 2016 CAmmy Award winners!
Corporate Employee of the Year
Making a Difference Award
Customer Service Award
Amie Miller and The Avenue team
Pursuit of Excellence Award
The Domain at Columbia and Catalyst teams
Regional Manager of the Year
General Manager of the Year
Assistant General Manager of the Year
Leasing Manager of the Year
Michael Southern and Maria Shreve
Maintenance Supervisor of the Year
Resident Director of the Year
Students First™ Achievement Award
Achievements in Philanthropy Award
Property of the Year (Over 500 Beds)
Property of the Year (Under 500 Beds)
Rookie Property of the Year
The Republic at Sam Houston
100% Occupancy Goal Award
The Republic at Sam Houston
Resident Retention Goal Award
WHAT’S HAPPENING: RELAY FOR LIFE
RELAY FOR LIFE RECAP
In our third year as members of the Relay For Life National Corporate Team program, we are poised to reach the $200,000 mark in total funds raised for the American Cancer Society. During this Relay season, Campus Advantage teams have raised over $39,000! From a country music concert to barbecues, bake sales, poker, and even a 5K, our team members have taken creativity to new heights for a great cause!
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
CAMPUS ADVANTAGE WELCOMES FIVE NEW PROPERTIES
Five new properties have been added to the portfolio. In taking on these projects, we’re excited to introduce our award-winning Students First™ program to an expanding student base and showcase our premier operations department.
BROAD STREET COMMONS (LIVEBROADSTREET.COM)
Campus Advantage rebranded Campus Suites to Broad Street Commons and implemented our premier operations structure to help boost leasing numbers and brand presence in the Plattsburgh market.
• State University of New York at Plattsburgh
• 397 beds
ONE EASTON (ONEEASTON.COM)
Opening this summer, One Easton offers University of Delaware students with a premier housing option adjacent to the university.
• University of Delaware
• 440 beds
THE EDGE (THEEDGEORLANDO.COM)
Acquired in March 2016 as a value-add property, The Edge is Campus Advantage’s second property in the Orlando market. The property is located just across the street from campus and offers one- to four-bedroom floor plans.
• University of Central Florida
• 930 beds
A new development in Gainesville, Florida, Midtown Apartments is scheduled to open in 2017. The property is located in a prime location directly across from campus and will be rolled out in two phases.
• University of Florida
• 589 beds
NEW DEVELOPMENT IN ST. LOUIS
We have added another new development to our management portfolio in St. Louis, Missouri, which will open next fall. Expected amenities will include four unique study rooms, a fitness center and yoga studio, a gaming room, and a rooftop pool and lounge area.
• Washington University
• 428 beds
Yuslandy Barcelo Blondin
CONGRATULATIONS, JENNIFER CASSIDY, ON 10 YEARS AT CAMPUS ADVANTAGE
This year is a big one for Jennifer Cassidy, Vice President of Operations, who is celebrating 10 years at Campus Advantage. We took a minute to sit down with Jenn and get her impression on the changes she’s seen at Campus Advantage over the years and her fondest memory with the company.
Q: What drew you to Campus Advantage?
A: When I started, CA was a much smaller company than the one I had previously worked for. I was immediately attracted to their attention for my staff and the property. The approach was more about a customized solution than a one-size-fits-all.
Q: What comes to mind first when you think of Campus Advantage?
A: Student development has always been at the heart of what we do. While we seek to provide exceptional results for our clients, we do so while creating great living and learning experiences for our residents. Also, Campus Advantage today is known for the people. We have been very lucky to attract some of the best talent in the industry and, because of our people, have become a trendsetter.
Q: How has the student housing industry changed over the past 10 years?
A: The industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. There are many more companies out there doing what we do. Customer service, technology, and innovation set apart the best companies and properties from the others. We continue to provide some of the best communities for students across the country to call their home away from home. I am proud to be part of an industry that has the ability to make a student’s college experience a great one. What has motivated me to stay in this industry is the knowledge that we are impacting people’s lives and helping to set them up for future success. To me, that is the Campus Advantage difference.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your time at Campus Advantage?
A: One of my fondest memories from early on was being on site as a GM and having Mike Peter drop in unannounced. He came in and requested a tour with my leasing manager, and then later came in to visit with me. He asked my opinion of the company and took copious notes. I was so impressed by his level of engagement and commitment to improving areas of opportunity. It was evident that he valued my feedback and for me, it was the first time in my career that someone at his level had really taken the time to care about my experience. That is when I knew I wanted to stay in the industry and make a difference.
And what a difference Jenn has made during her time at Campus Advantage. We couldn’t be more proud to have her on our team and look forward to seeing what else she accomplishes here. Congratulations, Jenn, and here’s to the next 10 years!
CAMPUS ADVANTAGE HIRES VETERAN HR PROFESSIONAL
Jones Brings Wealth of Knowledge to CA
We’re proud to welcome Alexis Jones to our team as Vice President of Human Resources. Alexis has over 13 years of human resources experience with both recognized startups, such as BancVue and Reddwerks, and globally recognized brands, like HTC. Alexis will work on strengthening all aspects of Campus Advantage’s HR capabilities, including attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.
Alexis received her Bachelor of Science in Education and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She has held her Senior Professional in HR certification since 2008 and her Society for HR Management Senior Certified Professional since 2015.
Our Team IS the Campus Advantage.
Providing Exceptional Job Opportunities in the Student Housing Industry
The purpose of Campus Advantage is to serve and inspire our employees and residents to achieve their full potential. We focus on developing successful people, who help us create successful communities.