Military Community Uses PERQ to Attract Civilian Renters

By: vvaden

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90-Day Results with PERQ



Civilian Rental Inquiries ‘Go Through the Roof’ with PERQ Software


Barksdale, a Hunt Military Community located in the heart of Louisiana, faces a unique conundrum when trying to market its well-maintained, gated military rental housing to the general public. Situated on the Barksdale Air Force Base, most visitors who land on the company’s website assume Barksdale is only available to enlisted personnel.


Typically, military housing is only for active service members and their families, says Lynette Hegeman, Hunt’s National Marketing Director. But certain military properties like Barksdale follow what’s called an “8-step waterfall” protocol. When it reaches a certain vacancy level, property managers open it to other renters, from federal employees to military retirees, all of the way down to civilians.


“Barksdale is at about 89 percent occupancy, so they are open to anybody in our waterfall,” Hegeman says. That includes civilians at the moment, but it’s hard to share that story so prospective renters understand.


“That’s our biggest conundrum, because you don’t want to go out and blast it,” she says. “When we get our occupancy up, then we stop renting to civilians. That doesn’t mean we kick anybody out. Military and civilian residents sign annual leases. Just like anybody else, once they’re in, they’ll be able to stay. But housing is not always available.”


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PERQ Gives Barksdale Big Spike in Civilian Leads


Before deciding to try the PERQ software solution on Barksdale’s website in September, Hegeman says the only online lead information they typically received was the military officer’s rank and number of dependents.


When you live on a military property, your housing assignment gets determined by rank, with higher ranking officers living in certain neighborhoods while enlisted personnel reside in other neighborhoods. A civilian, for instance, could never live in an officer’s neighborhood, Hegeman explains.


Hegeman says Hunt Companies also manages 40 other military properties, including a total of 11 that can be offered to civilians, but she wanted to test the PERQ software on Barksdale first because it had the lowest occupancy rate in the company’s portfolio.


“I wanted to see how PERQ moved the needle and whether it really helped me convert those lookie-loos to actually taking steps, like calling us, sending an email inquiry, setting up an appointment, scheduling a tour,” she says. “I believe we have seen that, and more importantly, I have seen the number of civilian inquiries go through the roof!


”That is where I’ve seen the needle move the most. We’ve never had as many civilians show as much interest, and I think it’s because the landing page really explains that Barksdale has something to offer them.”


In 90 days, PERQ influenced an average of 50% of leases signed at the property. They also saw a 20X lift in website leads with PERQ.


Better Conversion of Quality Leads with PERQ Solution


People in the military use their base allowance to pay for housing and they can choose to live on base, or decide to live in an apartment or a house off base.


“My job as a marketer is to try to sell the benefits of living on the base,” Hegeman says. “Their allowance covers utilities, maintenance of their front yard, pest control — all of that is included. When they rent an apartment or a house, they have to pay an application fee, deposit, pet fee, their own utilities, water and garbage, etc.”


Selling those benefits to civilians interested in living in a military community adds another dimension to Hegeman’s marketing efforts. Barksdale’s property managers now collect better information from prospective renters who engage with the site’s interactive AI features, such as Check Availability, Housing Assessment, New Customer Welcome, Community Fit and Check for Special Offers. Armed with more details about exactly what the renter is looking for, the leasing specialists are able to ask more pointed questions.


“We’ve had a better conversion of the quantity of leads that come in, and we’ve done a better job at converting them to the next step,” Hegeman says. “I always knew Barksdale had a good amount of traffic coming in, but I don’t think we were capturing it well. I think having the whole landing page being able to decipher civilian vs. military was really important.”


Barksdale’s leasing specialists use the all-inclusive fee as a selling factor to attract civilian renters, as well as living in a safe military community with a community pool, tennis courts and playgrounds in every little neighborhood.


Hegeman says now that she’s seen the initial results, she is ready to try the PERQ software on other Hunt properties. “I love it. I definitely see the value in it,” she says.


She wants other marketers to understand PERQ doesn’t generate more leads, but it does capture leads from visitors who would’ve remained anonymous before and helps convert those online leads.


“The traffic that we’re sending to our site is either what we’re doing through Pay-Per-Click or Google Adword campaigns, or whatever we’re doing [for digital advertising],” she says. “PERQ takes that traffic and keeps people engaged, so we have a better chance of getting that email, phone call, or have them come in for a tour.”


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“We’ve had a better conversion of the quantity of leads that come in and we’ve done a better job at converting them to the next step. I always knew Barksdale had a good amount of traffic coming in, but I don’t think we were capturing it well.”

Lynette Hegeman, National Marketing Director, Hunt Companies