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Fortis are a fast-growing UK property development and management company. In 2014 their property development arm completed 10 new properties, supplying over 1000 new homes.

Fortis’ successful lettings and management division currently manage 13 student properties across eight UK cities, plus three residential properties.

The company came to us in need of a strong consistent web presence across all their brands and divisions.

The brief

  • Create a strong and consistent web presence across each Fortis brand; Developments, Lettings and Management, Residential, and Students
  • Incorporate a modern flavour to the online property market
  • Design and develop a mobile responsive website for each of the four Fortis brands

Our solution

The four sites we created are bright, friendly and web-forward. We used subtle colours, warm greys and light blues, keeping ‘Fortis orange’ for attention-grabbing moments and key CTAs.

Each Fortis brand has a different key accent colour, giving each site its own distinct flavour.

Classically, property development companies (even where their overall branding is adventurous) have played very safe with their website designs, with 2009-era small fonts and fixed boxy widths.

With the Fortis design, we were proud to be able to bring a modern flavour to the property market.

In addition the sites are fully mobile compatible, using responsive design to look fantastic across all devices.

Significant reduction in staff workloadEnabling of data backed decisionsAll development goals hit by MyFortis

MyFortis management system

As a company that’s grown quickly, keeping their team lean is a key part of Fortis’s culture. Wherever possible they try to utilise technology to drive efficiency.

A major hurdle for Fortis in scaling their business was managing their rapidly growing number of properties. In particular, their student lettings business had two major ‘crunch times’: in July, when all the students move out for summer, and in September, when new students move back in. For Fortis, it was vital to automate as many of their processes as possible, to reduce the burden on staff at these times.

Fortis’s original intention was to integrate their student lettings website into an off-the-shelf booking/payment management system. Unfortunately no system had the flexibility Fortis needed to work with student schedules (yearly cost spread over the September–July months, as either a monthly fee or three individual payments corresponding to students’ loan dates)

We were asked about the feasibility of building such a system from scratch. After delivering a solid proposal, and with Fortis knowing we could deliver high quality websites on time and on budget, our web development team were engaged to build the MyFortis booking system.

Development and functionality

Since early 2014, there have been four separate phases of development on the MyFortis system, each adding additional functionality to further reducing admin overhead. It now includes the following:

Bookings and paymentsStudents can make bookings online through MyFortis, see their schedule of payments, and make those payments online. The system sends late payment reminders automatically, and non-payers are flagged for manual follow-up. It’s also easy for admin staff to quickly reference a booking if a student calls on the phone.

Room allocation — The system maintains a list of rooms, of each type, still available in each property. This allows the website to display ‘fully booked’ notices and block further bookings.

Inventory management — MyFortis automates the collection of inventory logs by keeping a log of furniture in every room, and prompting students to make a note of any missing items within the first two weeks of their tenancy. At the end of the year, building managers can check this list when inspecting the room.

Repairs and maintenance — Students can make repair requests online and track their status. Fortis can start a thread of comments about the issue, requesting more information if necessary, and assign it to an external contractor who can report back when the fault has been fixed.

  • CRM for sales staff — Keeping a log of all enquiries received through the website and over the phone, assigning an enquiry to a staff member, logging all follow-up on those leads, and eventually converting a lead into a full booking, and assigning them a room.
  • Dashboards — company directors and building managers have access to top-level graphs and charts, showing live sales figures like rooms let and leads in the pipeline, and maintenance stats like open repair requests.

We're particularly proud of...

Fortis’s four new websites have brought consistency and professionalism to their business, and have been built with future expansion in mind.

The MyFortis management system has hit all of its development goals, significantly reducing workload for admin staff, with a significant reduction in the number of phone calls and email received by the admin office.

In addition the system has allowed Fortis to become a more data-driven company, making management decisions backed by live data, identifying problems before they happen, and efficiently targeting resources to fix them.