According to a 2017 study shared by the National Apartment Association, the US would need to build 4.6 million new units by 2030, or face a significant shortfall in housing. Divided across 13 years, that means the nation would need to average around 350,000 new units annually every year until 2030 to keep pace with demand. This means that the pace of the past four years, all of which have seen at least around 300,000 new units open, is unlikely to slow down much in the years ahead.
As supply increases in your area, you may find that your marketing has to adapt to changing circumstances. In luxury housing, in particular, it will be a challenge to stand out as new construction engages in an amenities race to attract prospective residents.
How can your community stand out from the increasingly crowded field of competitors? Here are a few suggestions. The big idea is that your resident’s experience of life in your community is going to be vital to your ability to compete long-term.
Help residents stay up to speed on community and neighborhood events.
Most cities and even neighborhoods will have occasional community events that are open to the public. Perhaps, there is a movie night in a local park, free concert, or a new restaurant opening. These are all things your residents might be interested in, and sharing these fun events with them is a great way to improve their experience at your community.
There are a variety of ways you could do this. You might produce a print newsletter that you leave outside their apartment every month, or perhaps, share news on your Facebook page.
However you choose to share this information, making it easy for your residents to stay informed about community events is a great way to give them a positive experience at your community.
Promptly respond to maintenance calls.
There are two ways to provide a great experience—one is to go above and beyond what is expected, and the other is to do what is expected exceptionally well. Residents expect you to respond to maintenance requests, but if you can promptly respond to the request, provide polite customer service, and if you can quickly resolve the problem, you’ll offer a superior customer experience.
Most residents understand that appliances break, heaters can go out, and light bulbs need changed every now and then. However, if your team can respond to problems better than any other community and leave a lasting impression, you’ll be able to outdo any fancy amenities a brand new construction community is offering.
Greet people with kindness.
One 2018 study by Cigna found that around half of all Americans are lonely. Therefore, statistically speaking, a large number of your current residents are likely struggling with feelings of isolation. One small gesture you can do to help is to simply train your staff to greet their residents with warmth and kindness.
Remember, people who live in your community have lives outside of paying rent, coming and going through your lobby, and hanging out in their apartment, so see them as a whole person and genuinely acknowledge them any chance you get.
Politely respond to phone calls.
By the same token, train your staff to politely respond to all calls. If the call is from a prospect, they’re in the middle of an apartment shopping process that is often tedious and stressful. If they’re a resident, presumably they are calling your office because they have a need or problem that should promptly be addressed. What both of these scenarios have in common is that they deal with a person who is encountering a situation they’d rather not have to deal with. You can make that experience less difficult by the way you interact with them. Customer service and human interaction almost always outweigh tangible items. If your community doesn’t make someone feel welcome or cared for, they’ll oftentimes choose to live somewhere else no matter how nice the luxury pool is.
Offer favorable renewal terms.
It’s cheaper to renew a resident’s lease than it is to turn the unit and lease it to someone new. In purely financial terms, you’re almost always going to want a resident to renew. So, offering favorable renewal terms makes business sense. Additionally, given that the person has committed to your community and been there for some time, it makes sense to honor that commitment. Offer someone renewing their lease better terms than you would someone new who is leasing that apartment. It’s a small way of communicating care and value to your residents.