Generation Z, Zoomers, or just Gen Z aren’t just teenagers on TikTok. The oldest of Gen Z are in their early to mid 20’s. They are at the age where they are renting on their own — whether it’s in their college town or in the city they move to for their first jobs. What do we know about this generation and how can your multifamily community attract them to your property?
Generation Z accounts for people born between 1996 – 2012. A main difference between Gen Z and Millennials, some of which are over 40 now, is that they grew up with the internet and the digital world. They are more tech savvy and have an easier time with learning new technologies because they have been since they were born.
With the oldest of this generation turning 25 this year, it’s important for multifamily property teams to reevaluate their amenities and offers to cater to the needs of this new generation of prospective renters.
They are the digital generation, that means your community needs to be up to date on all things digital and social. There’s no denying the power of social media as a digital marketing tool. Gen Z is knows social media better than any other generation, they literally grew up with it and spend most of their free time on it. This means that advertising and sponsoring posts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc will be an effective marketing strategy to attract the young adults of today.
This means amping up your content and posting frequently. Having a bad or just not good social media presence is a major turn off for this generation and can impact their decision making. Some content ideas include:
- Pet of the month
- Recap of resident events
- Get to know an onsite team member
- Day in the life at your community
A social presence is a must for any business today and especially for apartment communities. There’s millions of apartment related posts/content on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest. This generation loves moving vlogs, apartment tours, decor ideas, etc. Putting your property among these videos and posts will boost your online reputation and attract more young adult renters to your community.
Once you’ve gotten their interest online and get them to your website, the actual unit and amenities you offer are what’s really going to sell it to them. Being born into a world where everything is online, this generation of renters are looking for high-speed internet and will run if they see reviews citing internet issues at your property. Investing in the internet your community has ensures resident satisfaction and places your property ahead of the competition for prospects.
Spacious kitchens and modern appliances are important to Gen Z renters. If you have an older property, it might be time to renovate older units and bring them up to speed. A lot of young renters have pets or plan to adopt a pet whether it’s for emotional support or companionship. A pet-friendly community is very important to have. Ways to be more pet friendly include:
- No Pet Rent
- No Breed/Weight Restrictions
- Events and Amenities centered around pets
If you are worried that the above suggestions are bad for the bottom line, Jamin Harkness, EVP at The Management Group, has gone into detail about how these pet policies are actually great for creating more resident satisfaction and how he’s seen an increase in revenue because of them.
It’s time to start thinking about Gen Z as young adults who are looking to rent because the oldest of them are doing exactly that. They grew up in a world that is fast paced and more digital than ever. These tips will help you reel in these prospective renters and keep them satisfied.
One of the best things to come out of 2020 was having multiple tour scheduling options. From self-guided to virtual to pre-recorded videos, the ways prospects could tour a unit adapted to a less physical and socially distanced world.
With all of these options, in-person tours still rank as the most popular tour option according to PERQ data. How do we go back to in-person tours in a way that is healthy for both prospects and the leasing team? We’ve got 3 tips to help your leasing team meet prospects expectations with health guidelines and quality of the tour.
Know the Guidelines
It is so important to know what your state’s health guidelines are. While they typically aren’t more than 2 people who show up to tour an apartment, there are states that are hit much harder than others when it comes to COVID cases.
Be sure to stand the recommended 6 feet apart from prospects as they walk around the unit. For a smaller unit where this might not be possible, consider leaving the door open during the tour and standing near it.
Masks and Sanitizer
Requiring prospects to wear a mask during the entire time they are at your property and on the tour is a highly effective way of keeping the leasing agent and the prospects safe. Offer hand sanitizer to them when they first show up and offer it again when they leave.
Some prospects might forget to bring their masks with them. Having some disposable masks on hand to give them is a great way to show how your property is taking safety seriously and allows the prospect to still go on the tour and not have to reschedule.
Clean Common Surfaces
After each tour, be sure to clean the surfaces that prospects touched. Most common surfaces are door handles, cabinet knobs and pulls, and appliances. This seems like it can be a lot of extra work but it keeps the touring unit clean and reduces the chances of spread.
This will make it much safer on days where there are a lot of tours stacked up. Give yourself 10 – 15 minutes between tours to disinfect these common surfaces to ensure that everyone is safe. We have a whole list of resources for multifamily communities centered on COVID-19. You can check them out here.
We have access to more data than ever before. An online prospect can have over 15 different touch points or data associated with their time on your website. On Season 2 of The Bridge podcast, hosts Andy Medley and Muhammad Yasin chatted with Desiree White and Colin Cloud from NE Property Management about how they have been enabling their own onsite teams to help convert online prospects into a signed lease.
The “3 P’s” that NE Property Management looks at when they see incoming online traffic but aren’t closing the deal are:
They look to see if the pricing is too high or too low, if the product they are selling is desirable to prospects and if there are any upgrades that need to be made or small cosmetic changes to their own site.
They also look at the people on the on site team. Desiree finds that listening to phone calls has been helpful as a training tool and even offers to join in on calls for support. The initial conversation is the hardest and the most important.
Conversation and Data
Looking at the incoming traffic on your website as a metric is a way that Desiree and Colin can measure if their marketing efforts are working and if so which ones specifically. This is where they both suggest having Google Analytics and training onsite teams in analyzing their ads and data to ensure that their marketing is doing its job.
Your onsite team has access to the personalized date coming from the incoming traffic on your webiste. The first conversation can’t be following the same script that telemarketers and cold callers use, it has to and can be more personalized. Using the data that your website has collected on the prospect, onsite teams can and should be having more personalized conversations with prospects.
Desiree explains, “you don’t need to act like you’re selling it to them, you’re helping them with this journey.” Lead with the details that the data gives you like the number of pets they have, the floorplans they were looking at, etc. A more personalized experience will make the prospect feel like you want to find them a new home.
We spend a lot of time talking about what prospects want, both online and in-person. From different touring options and amenities, to the neighborhood, we even collect and analyze data from PERQ solutions to see what the trends are for renters.
But what about your current residents? After all, once their lease is coming to an end, they become prospects again. Usually, when we think of how to retain residents and make them feel at home in the community, we think of events or social activities that are in-person and hopefully with a large crowd.
Coming into 2021, it’s still not safe to have those sorts of activities. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to engage with your residents to make them feel at home in your property and get them to resign their lease.
Hosting a social hour every month for residents is a great way to keep the social activities alive. Some ideas for events that can happen virtually are:
Whether it’s bingo or trivia, one thing that we’ve seen at PERQ is how much people want to have social events right now even if it means doing them virtually. Hosting a virtual happy hour with a themed cocktail or even just a theme is a great way to have a more casual event safely.
Having a podcast or book club is something that a lot of communities don’t typically do but it’s something that a lot of people are into right now. Let residents know what podcast you all will be listening to and host a virtual discussion where everyone can talk about what they think.
Right now, people want to be social more than ever. After months of having to limit the number of people we can interact with, people haven’t had as many opportunities to meet new people and hang out socially in a large group. Engaging with your residents isn’t just important for resident retention but it’s important to make your residents and your leasing team feel a little bit of normalcy after an exhausting year.
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