What Do Residents Want?
Have you ever asked yourself "What Do Residents Want?".
The largest and most thorough nationwide study on apartment residents' preferences for technology has been undertaken by J Turner Research for the multifamily sector to date.
What Do the People Want?" examines the trends, habits, and preferences of online apartment search at 1,231 apartment buildings nationwide. ILSs, referrals, the adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other devices for researching and communicating with apartment operators and property managers, as well as investigations into emerging resident and prospect patterns in the use of social media and online ratings and review sites, are all revealed in the responses from 41,303 residents.
Age demographics were used to further group survey results into the Millennial, Gen X, Baby Boomer, and Silent generations.
Understanding resident preferences is critical to successfully delivering the amenities and customer service that drive satisfaction at apartment communities. Knowing how to communicate with residents through the channels they prefer can translate to increased conversion, retention, referrals and higher customer satisfaction levels. Whether you’re an on-site leasing pro, an asset manager or a head honcho at the corporate office, there’s plenty of data to engage, inspire, and even surprise you.
Delivering the amenities and customer service that boost happiness at apartment buildings requires a thorough understanding of tenant preferences. Increased conversion, retention, recommendations, and customer satisfaction can result from knowing how to reach residents through the channels they prefer. There is plenty of information to interest, excite, and even surprise you, whether you're an expert in on-site leasing, an asset manager, or the boss at the corporate office.
The top 9 trends are identified by the survey below:
Even though property managers and apartment owners anticipate an increase in mobile-based leasing leads, 87 percent of respondents to "What Do Residents Want?" still prefer to browse for apartments using desktop and laptop computers.
In fact, laptop computer ownership was widespread across all age groups, with 89 percent of Millennials, 84 percent of Gen Xers, and 75 percent of Baby Boomers owning one. While smartphone ownership was high among younger generations (88 percent of Millennials and 82 percent of Gen Xers), only 32 percent of the Silent generation owned one (62 percent still had landlines).
Price Is Right
While social media isn't a huge pull for apartment seekers, it seems apartment community websites being used for an apartment search remains a critical source of information.
What information do those prospects want to locate on your website?
Unit pricing is seen as most significant.
Surpassing other top responses such as floor plans, amenity lists, and unit availability. Surprisingly virtual tours and online leasing capability were the least crucial website features to apartment hopefuls.
Tip: Post the rent and keep it current, especially if you use a revenue management system.
While social media is not seen as high as a source for apartment hunters , younger age demographics use social media significantly more. In fact, the average age of respondents who utilize social media to find their apartment was age 36, compared to age 45 for those who used Apartment Magazines.
The takeaway: Know your audience and engage with them appropriately. Whether through social media or other traditional ways.
When it pertains to actual lead traffic, Internet listing sites continue to be the number one resource utilized by renters looking for new apartments. Renters utilize internet searches as a sources 64% of the time, outpacing traditional methods(39%) and recommendations from friends and family (24%). In addition to internet searches, respondents frequently cited using Craigslist, which was mentioned as number four by 20% of those surveyed.
The key message is: use a broad internet search scope and maintain your listings.
Pay attention to Craigslist as an unexpected up-and-comer, especially with wealthy, urban young people.
As apartment residents, survey respondents were much more likely to use mobile phones for communicating with property management and maintenance staff. In fact, more than a third (34 percent) like to call the leasing office to submit maintenance requests, and the number of residents using their smart phone to pay rent was three times greater than those who are still mailing in a check. The takeaway: Don’t screen that call—be responsive as residents are increasingly reaching for their mobile device when trying to communicate and do business with property management. Engage a mobile payment portal to deliver greater satisfaction to your residents.
Yelp has topped the rankings for the most trustworthy online rating and review sites, earning a 7.35 trustworthiness score on a scale from zero to ten despite only being used by 17 percent of respondents. When derived from a general Internet search, ratings and reviews were the least trusted, although they still scored above average with a 6.82 trust factor.
Residents actually indicated high levels of trust for all review and rating websites, including well-known internet search sites like Move.com and Rent.com.
Consider both high trust and high volume channels in your ratings and reviews strategy since customers place at least above average trust in the information on these websites.
Just don't send text messages to your residents.
Only 2% of respondents choose texting to make service requests, despite the fact that cell phone and smart phone ownership is high across all age groupings and prospects and residents like communicating via their phones.
One-third of study respondents said they would prefer not to get texts at all, while 62 percent of those who indicated they were fine with texting said they would use them only for emergency notifications.
Learn about your residents' communication preferences.
If there is no need to be concerned, it is best to smile and phone, send an email, or visit residents in person.
Residents may not rely on social networking sites for apartments during their hunt, but that doesn't mean they won't check the "wall" after they move in.
As a matter of fact, 42% of respondents visit Facebook pages between one and three times every day.
A quarter of them look for nearby restaurants, movie times, and outdoor activities, providing property managers with a plenty of social media posting material.
The amount of locals who visit their neighborhood's Facebook page has climbed three times from seven percent in 2010 to twenty-one percent in 2012, according to ongoing studies by J Turner Research.
Tip: Post updates to your Facebook page about upcoming events and the most recent information from the management firm.
The Game of Ratings
Customer service is undoubtedly more important than ever as ratings and reviews continue to influence multifamily lease-ups and property management.
In contrast to social media's vanishing presence, 74 percent of survey participants said they used internet ratings and reviews to help them find an apartment.
Respondents gave the significance of ratings and reviews a score of 6.66 on a scale of 0 to 10. Among the 19% of locals who claimed to have submitted to an online ratings and reviews site, 52% describe submitting a mixed bag of both good and negative comments, with 39% claiming that their ratings and reviews were primarily favorable and (ahem) only 9% stating the opposite.
Internet connectivity and smartphone reception continue to be crucial requirements at the unit level, regardless of the communication method apartment tenants choose to use with management.
Survey participants were asked to rank the significance of speed, reception, and dependability within the apartment unit on a scale of zero to ten (with zero being least significant and ten being most important). Internet connection stability (7.44), cell phone signal reception (7.33), and Internet connection speed (7.54) are all highly ranked technological luxuries.
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