Finding and maintaining the perfect balance of occupancy is crucial for multifamily communities to achieve revenue success. In Multifamily Real Estate (MFRE), it is considered a best practice to train employees to understand that the value of an asset comes in the form of it being a healthy, stabilized asset. That, by definition, is an asset that has not just achieved high occupancy, but that has achieved a balance of maximizing rent growth while maintaining/achieving stabilized occupancy.
It’s a tough line to walk. How well are your properties managing occupancy?
Below we discuss three ways to better manage occupancy in your apartments.
AN ENGAGING WEBSITE
Set up your property website and automate your lead nurture process to give prospective renters everything they seek during their apartment search. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, you can transform your website into a digital leasing agent that leads prospects along the multifamily leasing journey with helpful guidance and personalizes the information they receive by collecting their data.
Live video tours offered on your website help to bring awareness to what your community offers without ever having the rental prospect step foot on your property, saving them valuable time. You can drive real-time conversations through FaceTime, Skype or a virtual tour partner, like Realync.
“The internet changed the leasing experience because people can go online and learn everything they pretty much need to know about the property before they even see it in person,” says Michael Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at Youtech, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency. “And, they’re going to be researching your competitors in the meantime and comparing pricing, walkability, amenities and features — all of that.”
Give prospects valuable information on the property website by offering interactive experiences, such as a neighborhood tour that highlights places most important to them and a floorplan assessment to help them pick the best apartment layout for them. As they engage with your website, collect valuable lead data to make converting the lease a little easier for your on-site leasing team when following up.
“It’s just good to know what they’re looking for,” says Corey Egan, LeasingKC Co-Founder and Director of Client Success. “It potentially saves everyone a lot of time. The technology drives the information to those people, and that’s important because everybody feels more comfortable when they have an idea of the other person rather than just a complete cold call. It’s more of a meaningful conversation and builds a relationship.”
MAKE DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS
Carefully studying the multifamily leasing journey and gathering rental prospect data along the way gives your properties several advantages when it comes to attracting and retaining renters.
For Caroline Gould, V.P. of Marketing & Branding at Fore Property, one of the country’s top 20 largest multifamily developers, the property website and data analytics rank as the most valuable tools to target and convert the perfect renters for a particular property.
“The website, the digital presence just has such an enormous importance,” Gould says. “Historically in property management, a lot of things were assessed anecdotally. While I agree there’s no replacement for onsite observations via a property manager and leasing team — those insights are really valuable — but the data is available for us to get away from the anecdotal.”
The PERQ AI Lead Management Platform overlays on your existing website to help collect data from your rental prospects starting with our interactive web experiences. Most tools will collect data like name, phone number and email address, but PERQ takes that so much further by collecting information on what rental prospects are looking for in a community, what apartment type they are looking for, and when they are looking to move.
“Evaluate the data to drive your decision-making,” says Corey Egan. “It’s very valuable for apartment communities to use that data to see who their renter is and where they fit, and then create a more focused marketing strategy to reach those people.”
PERQ collects data from your lead sources and tracks attribution, helping your indefitfy your best performing sources of leads and leases. You can optimize your digital marketing spend accordingly to better target the right renters, tailor the leasing experience for prospects, and improve the lead nurturing process. All three lead to increased occupancy over time.
MARKETING AUTOMATION IN THE LEAD NURTURE PROCESS
Typically, you’d funnel all of that online consumer behavior data and digital profiles into a customer relationship management (CRM) system. However, without a multifamily lead management solution in place, your CRM takes in all of the online leads instead of housing the high-intent ones that are ready to speak to a leasing specialist.
Let your leasing agents focus on the highest-priority leads by employing automated marketing to nurture the remaining prospects until they’re closer to making a decision on where to live. Automated emails and texts backed by AI technology draw in important details from the consumer’s time on your property website to personalize and time the messages perfectly, giving prospects the VIP feeling and building brand trust, while also delivering incentives to return to the website to continue their research or schedule a tour using an automated scheduling tool.
PERQ is a multifamily lead management tool that uses it’s AI decisioning engine to automate the nurture process. It saves the onsite team hours of time and keeps CRMs cleaned up with only quality leads. PERQ takes care of the rest and makes sure prospects are only handed off once they are ready to talk to a leasing agent. You can turn PERQ’s handoff of leads up and down to align with your needs depending on occupancy. And, the data it collects gives you important information about supply and demand for various floorplans, which can help you in your rent pricing decisions.
“Getting all of that information into your CRM and then into an automation system is important because it’ll allow you to follow up in both a time-efficient way for you and an effective, personalized way for your potential customers,” Norris says.
Ultimately, in whatever form of technology it takes, your hope of managing occupancy rests on your ability to collect data and turn it into actionable insights. Those consumer insights serve as the foundation of your digital marketing, precipitating positive growth in both new leases and resident retention rates.
“Whether you’re managing a stock or you’re managing a property, it’s essentially the same goal. You want to increase the value of that asset,” Egan says. “Ensuring you have a solid foundation and a solid message in your marketing is a good place to start. Marketing is what drives everything else.”
“It’s going to drive the leasing process, and that is going to drive the prospects you’re attracting and the residents you’re renting to, and then the residents equal basically everything to the property,” he says. “Once they’re in there, you want to encourage them to stay, you want them to be pleased, and that’s up to you. If you have a mixed marketing message or you’re attracting the wrong people, they might not be a good fit for your community and that’s when all of the headaches start.”