The ways in which renters shop for units is constantly changing. New search sites are always emerging, improved smartphone apps are released every few months and the technology for showing off a living space is endlessly evolving. Understanding those shopping behaviors and utilizing them to your advantage will make all the difference.
These are a few of the trends we see happening in 2017:
Potential renters these days are more and more accustomed to dazzling visual content. They don't just want to see poorly lit pictures of the building; they want to virtually step into the space where they'll be living. Before anything, this means having spectacular photos. Invest in proper photography with professional lighting — it will be the difference between an inviting space and a boring one. Get eye-catching pics of the inside of the apartment, the property grounds, amenities, nearby attractions and the staff.
Once you've got that, shoot video of all the places listed above, plus resident testimonials, team profiles and even aerial drone videos of the property. There is a range of services that offer package deals for this type of video coverage.
Another tool to provide potential renters is a virtual tour. 3D cameras can capture full views of a living space, and you can even add tags to items to highlight amenities and features.
Make it easy
As property managers, we want our potential clients' search process to be a straight line when the reality is much more akin to a labyrinth. Take away that confusion by offering services that reach them where they live. The most obvious of these is online appointment scheduling. It's an inexpensive, easy way to remove one of the biggest obstacles a renter might face: extra legwork.
Often, prospective tenants decide against your property because of a small question they can't get answered. Will you accept larger dogs? How much is the deposit? Do you offer garage parking? Having a chat service on your site and being engaged on social media messaging apps (Messenger, Facebook and iMessage) will help you answer those questions quicker.
Let them spread the word
People are much more likely to trust other people than a brand. Use this good trait to your advantage. Offer rewards to current residents who engage with your social media. Give incentives for taking and posting pics from community events or offer bonuses for residents who advocate for your brand.
Another great example of community engagement is something like Snapchat geo-filters. These are the cool designs you can lay over your photos in the app if you're within a certain geographical zone. Your property can offer these for folks who Snapchat from your property or you can even create event-specific geo-filters, which lets your customers market you on their terms.
There are always new ways to market your property. So much so that it can seem overwhelming. Remember, you don't have to chase every new idea frantically. Look at the trends, decide what may work for you and your prospects and integrate these new ideas into your current plan.
Daniel N. Bailey - HOLLYHILLS IS THE INDUSTRY LEADER IN CONCEPT MASTER-PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT FOR THE FUTURE REVITALIZATION AND PROSPERITY OF EMERGING COMMUNITIES.