Apartment Marketing’s Post Pandemic Toolkit
Occupancy in the affordable sector has remained persistently high, despite the fast-changing lease-up pattern and drop in prices of rent rates in primary markets.
Susan Camerata, the CFO at Wavecrest Management revealed to Multihousing-news that; ”the demand for affordable housing doesn’t seem to be at the whim of the larger financial market, in fact, it has only seen major increment during this period of economic crisis.”
Also, the executive president at RMK Management Corp, Dianna Pittro said to the Multi-housing News that the housing market has reached its peak season at this time. And she hopes that the market will continue to follow this peak trend so that by the time the peak season ends, things would look like they were in 2019. RMK Management manages over 6,300 apartment homes from Illinois to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota, with a 10 percent increase in the number of customers that patronize them compared to 2019.
A more stable future seems to be fast approaching since the release of vaccines is well on the way. This means that multifamily owners and operators need to find new and improved ways that they can maximize their operations in the post-pandemic market.
Property managers need to know how they can change their strategies so they can satisfy the needs of prospective renters following the pandemic, with the rental season at its peak. So, how should apartment marketers prepare their strategies now that the full rental season is back on?
3 Ways Apartment Marketers Can Prepare Strategies to Market Apartments During The Pandemic
One of the major changes that have been adopted in the 2021 rental season upward movement is the fast-growing importance that’s being placed on technology in multifamily marketing.
Almost every aspect of multifamily marketing and advertising from social media marketing and video tours to the use of chatbots for customer engagement was powered by technology, even before the outbreak of Covid-19. These technologies and trends are now more accelerated as a result of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, many operators were already implementing virtual and self-guided tours, but these two trends and more are more employed as a result of the health crisis, Covid-19. Most property operators are having to apply multi-channel approaches to cope with the changing environment, and uphold resident satisfaction as well as reach out to prospective customers.
Digital marketing is gaining ground at such a fast and unbelievable rate, as customers now want a totally digitized experience. Social media, email campaigns, and paid searches have proven to be useful tools in the covid-19 era, which saw us living life while socially distanced and had us depending heavily on online experiences.
Aside from the role social media has played in the marketing of apartment units, it was also used to showcase how companies manage to deal with the crisis following regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).
As it is now, prospects who are on the lookout for apartments are less likely to visit a leasing workplace unless they need to be there. This has made most property managers pump money into significantly improving their websites and the way their listings are crafted and presented. Virtual tours have proven to be a useful tool in displaying apartment choices to prospective residents, just like digital marketing and advertising campaigns have been useful for property listing.
Printing Is Not Dead After All
The marketing of affordable apartments for catering to the needs of low-income renters follows a different approach. As a result of limited availability, ready lists for affordable housing units are extensive, and new rent-ups include stronger agency marketing and advertising guidelines that are enforced by the Housing And Preservation Department (HPD). This is to ensure that printed information about affordable housing units reaches people who need them the most, Camerata told MHN.
“A lot of businesses have managed to cope with the environment changes by implementing virtual and digital approaches in their business, but we cannot depend solely on the consistent and sophisticated use of technology when it comes to disseminating information about affordable housing and senior housing to the people that need them the most,” Camerata explained. And “we consistently distributed flyers and details on the eviction laws and lease relief extension program, to disseminate information to our residents.”
One of the reasons ‘Wavecrest’ does not heavily rely on social media has to do with their residents’ privacy concerns. However, email newsletters are useful in relaying information as they go out to residents to create an awareness of the available services for them. They get information regarding the availability of vaccines on-site, availability of food, and events where personal protective tools are distributed, as well as the provision of help with the census.
Camerata stated that printed information and signage have always been of great importance to the way ‘Wavecrest’ handles its operations. “Technology is not optimally utilized by seniors and low-income people, therefore we need to ensure that every resident can access important information available to them.” She also said that; ”at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were putting information in lease bills on a monthly basis, to make sure everybody got the information, or in the hallways of particular residents.”
Emphasis Should Be Placed On Safety
Many US states have started to lift the existing pandemic-related restrictions –– the Covid-19 lockdown is already being partially lifted by most states around the world. But, the danger is not gone completely, and as such CDC prescribed regulations should still be followed across every community.
The Vice President of marketing and brands at Draper and Kramer Inc, James Love said his company is still following the government Covid-19 related regulations. He said; “aside from seeing to the safety of our residents and our team, our goal is also to ensure that coverage for all services is available on-site, in case of the need to quarantine our staff, so we have set up staffing plans to cater for different scenarios.”
With the increasing inflow of prospective customers, it has become essential to be more careful. At Porte, the Chicago West Loop 586-unit community, cleanliness is treated as a top priority.
The property manager, Jennifer Bell explained to MHN that; ”as we continue to lease-up properties and gain occupancy, it is important to improve our cleaning schedule to promote the safety of our residents, our team, and the society at large.”