By Gretchen Miller, Director of Marketing and Real Estate
The National Apartment Association’s (NAA) Apartmentalize conference is one of the premier events in the apartment industry, bringing together professionals from all aspects of the field. Attending the conference provides an opportunity to learn more about industry topics ranging from property management and marketing to technology and industry trends. Talon Development’s team was excited to attend Apartmentalize 2023 and gain valuable insights, network with fellow professionals, and discover the latest innovations in the apartment industry. This year’s event was held in Atlanta, Georgia, June 7th – 9th, at the Georgia World Congress Center. Over 11,000 industry professionals were in attendance.
I, along with our Regional Property Manager, Shawna, boarded our early morning flight and arrived in sunny Atlanta shortly after 8 am. We hopped in a rideshare, headed downtown, dropped our bags at the hotel, and made our way to the event center to check-in and pick up our badges.
After check-in we explored the venue and found the #NAAGives wall – a display highlighting the charitable efforts of NAA members. We were delighted to find our team’s photo on display with other companies in the industry.
The conference began with education sessions and an inspiring opening keynote address from Derreck Kayongo, Entrepreneur and Founder of the Global Soap Project. Following the keynote, we gathered for a welcome reception and the Maintenance Mania National Championship. This contest pits maintenance technicians head-to-head in fierce competition to see who has the skills and speed to complete seven common maintenance tasks.
Our evening ended on the 73rd floor of The Westin Peachtree Plaza at The Sun Dial restaurant with our friends from Real Property Management Express. We enjoyed a delicious meal, breathtaking views, and good conversation.
Day 2 focused on education. We were able to choose from a variety of educational sessions that covered topics ranging from marketing strategies and resident retention to sustainability practices and operational efficiency. These sessions are designed to provide practical knowledge and actionable takeaways that can be implemented in day-to-day operations. I found the shortform video sessions and visual marketing session most informative. Attending panel discussions and Q&A sessions also allowed for direct interaction with industry experts, where we could ask questions and gain deeper insights into specific areas of interest.
Renowned Olympian, Lindsay Vonn, was the day’s keynote speaker. She joined host, Bill Rancic, on stage in an interview format and talked about skiing and overcoming obstacles and moving forward after her retirement from the sport.
The NAA Expo also opened on Day 2. The room was huge! With over 300 exhibitors to choose from, it was sure to be an exciting afternoon. As I made my way around the hall, I visited a variety of companies offering a wide range of solutions for the multi-family industry. Vendors were highlighting products from software solutions to dog poop screening to resident gifts. Each offering a give-a-way or raffle to pull you in. It was great to chat with so many people and demo some amazing products.
Thursday evening was the much anticipated party. Attendees look forward to this event each year, and Atlanta knows how to party! Held in the Mercedes Benz Stadium, we were greeted by Freddie the Falcon, and a drumline. We made our way into the arena and down the stairs to the field. Food, beverages, street performers, a DJ, games, bands, and more made for a great evening, as we joined our fellow South Dakota NAA members for the celebration.
Day 3 showcased the latest innovations and technological advancements in the apartment industry. My favorite session of the event was “Driven by Data” and in-depth look at what metrics to use to enhance our business. After the education sessions, we headed back to the Expo to explore more product demonstrations and interactive exhibits that highlighted cutting-edge technologies aimed at improving property management efficiency, resident experience, and overall operational effectiveness.
Soon it was time to pack our bags and head to the airport, but not without a pit stop at the Georgia Aquarium. The largest in the country and home to two whale sharks. I could have sat in the gallery all day watching the fish go by, but it was time to head home.
Attending NAA’s Apartmentalize conference offered a unique and enriching experience for our team. Each day was filled with valuable insights and information that I could bring back and implement here at Talon Development. I’m excited to attend future NAA events!