There’s no place like home-conference

Travelocity founder Terry Jones and real estate marketing expert, Spencer Frasher of Google spoke at the invitation-only AIM conference last Fall. Wish you were there? Leading the latest trend in virtual conferencing, the entire event is now online for anyone to see. Just log on.

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The Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) conference was held last October and hosted over 100 multihousing executives from REITs and private companies across the country. The beautiful Scottsdale, Ariz., venue made for a great get-away. Yet, now this event has been captured for another, more virtual venue that’s just beginning to catch on with busy executives. The entire conference, sans the airline peanuts, is now online for anyone or group to “attend.”

Conference speakers include Tom Toomey, CEO of United Dominion Realty Trust (UDRT), and Fred Tuomi, President of Property Management for Equity Residential, who discuss, among other topics, how today’s savvy apartment owners can use the Internet to lease, even virtually, to today’s new demographic of renters. Both Toomey and Tuomi deal in mainly urban, high-barrier markets that are often the first bastions for the latest trends, so their take on the future of apartment leasing is fascinating and set to their real life experiences across significant portfolios. While they don’t always agree, it’s fascinating to hear them discuss everything from the value of accepting credit cards to how and where they get the majority of their leases.

And what’s a conference of vision without a motivational speaker? Online viewers will find NASCAR driver, Adrian Fernandez both charming and passionate. As an individual who climbed the ladder of his dream on nothing but tenacity and hard work, he provides a unique and edgy perspective on pursuing success. It’s fascinating to hear his story of overcoming staggering odds to become and remain a NASCAR driver. The fact that he also happens to reach an ever-expanding Hispanic market is also a keen reflection of the renters of the future and how other industries, as exemplified by the company launching Fernandez’ driving career, Home Depot, see the trend coming our way.

The conference includes the newest videos featuring marketing sound bites by dozens of heavy-hitters familiar to the multifamily industry: Cecil Phillips, CEO, Place Properties; Ric Campo, CEO, Camden Property Trust; David Cardwell, VP of capital markets and technology for the National Multi Housing Council; Bill Donges, CEO, The Lane Company; Ron Terwilliger, CEO, Trammel Crow Residential; Julie Smith, president, Bozutto Management; Leonard Wood, co-founder, Wood Partners; Bill Wollinger, president, Winn Residential; Geoffrey Stack, managing director, Sares-Regis.

The AIM conference has hit a cord with a number of top executives. Julie Smith president of Bozutto Management believes that marketing multifamily on the Internet is the future. “I think 100 percent of residents will use the Internet for some part of their research to find an apartment home. Some may use the Internet from start to finish. They may rent an apartment sight-unseen and the first time they see anyone in the office will be the day they come to pick up their keys,” she said.

Says Mike Mueller, AIM conference founder and president of Realty DataTrust, “My passion is to see the apartment industry exploit the Internet to its fullest, to lead the way in drawing success from this ever-widening resource rather than lag in its potential. We started with an invitation-only event in 2005, and it has come so far. We’re happy to bring the conference to everyone, on-demand, through the very tool that we predict will change the way the industry leases apartments — the Internet.”

Apartment Internet Marketing conference
Held annually, AIM is designed to educate and inform apartment owners about the latest trends and opportunities that exist within the Internet. The next conference is scheduled for spring 2008. Registration is limited.To view last Fall’s conference, go here.
All video is free. Realty DataTrust and Spherexx.com are founding sponsors of the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference (AIM), and have underwritten the online video.