The fastest growing segment in the U.S. renter market, Gen Z renters now lead multifamily market trends — particularly as their habits and priorities differ sharply from earlier generations. How do you sway these modern renters to click, interact, book a tour, and lease a multifamily unit?
Brian Ericson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Kira Brown, Senior Marketing Manager at Phoenix-based Wood Residential recently shared the trends they’re seeing and how they’re attracting today’s generation of renters.
Following are some highlights of our discussion, and you can catch the full Sofa Seminar presentation at the bottom of this post.
Instant gratification, just a tap or click away
Gen Z craves instant answers, expecting the same ease, immediacy, and anytime/anywhere access they enjoy from online retailers, media platforms, and AI assistants like Siri or Alexa. Fail to provide that lickety-split experience at fleeting moments when you have their attention and they’ll jump ship to a competing website that can satisfy their need for ease and speed.
“Either a leasing agent or automated tool needs to get back to them really fast, because if we don’t, we’ll lose them,” cautions Kira. “If someone else answers their questions right away and we respond 24-36 hours later, that prospect may very well have made their decision by then, even if they’re not planning to move in for a while.”
“The bar we’re being held to isn’t just the competitors down the street. It’s the Amazons of the world,” Brian adds.
Longer, self-led searches
Based on their data, Brian and Kira note younger renters are beginning their search months in advance. The tendency is for prospects to do heavy research as “stealth shoppers,” then narrow top choices before they’re comfortable interacting with a leasing agent.
That’s also true for folks moving to new markets, says Kira. Out-of-towners might come check the neighborhood and location, then return home to complete their leasing decision online. When they’re ready to talk, decisions tend to be quick, leaving agents with a short window to respond.
Altogether, those behaviors require multifamily marketers to ensure the right technologies are in place to empower prospects in their research, and deliver lightning-fast support when prospects are ready to engage.
Automations as experience enhancers and staff relief
Aside from delivering the anytime/anywhere support Gen Z renters crave, automations also free up staff time to focus on what they do best and what delivers the greatest impact, such as hosting a high-intent prospect tour versus answering the same question about pet policy 30 times a week, for example.
Using the PERQ AI leasing agent on their websites, Wood Residential’s chatbot (aptly called “Woody”) has answered 1,800 prospect questions in just three months. “That’s 1,800 straightforward questions that prospects got real-time answers to. They didn’t have to pick up the phone or send an email,” says Brian.
Staff, in turn, gets more time and headspace to devote to higher-impact activities and things they actually enjoy like getting creative, building relationships, and refining strategies. “Automation can make our jobs more interesting and compelling because we’re freeing our teams to focus on what’s hopefully the fun stuff,” shares Brian. “We’re taking a lot of the boring routine stuff like sending copy-paste emails on basic inquiries.”
Optimizing cross-channel experiences
Optimizing user experiences on website and mobile, using data to fine-tune what’s working (or isn’t), and leveraging captured data to personalize interactions are some of the ways Wood Residential is evolving their marketing efforts.
We invite you to learn from our full discussion below and check out the PERQ AI Lead Management Platform that’s generated great results for Wood Residential.