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5 Ways to Promote Renewals on Day One

Promote Renewals

What does this student housing management company do to promote renewals during the whirlwind of move-in day?

Move-in day at the Quarters on Campus, a 1,674-bed student housing community near the University of Texas at Austin, is a big production.

But the staff members at Quarters on Campus have been preparing for this day almost nonstop since move-out, and they are eager to get each and every student settled in as quickly as possible, resolving any problems that crop up along the way.

For Jennifer Messina, marketing director at San Miguel Management, which runs the Quarters on Campus communities, a smooth move-in day goes further than just starting off the school year on a good note. She knows that if move-in goes well, the number of students who renew their leases will increase.

“Because Quarters on Campus is so large, we try to focus on renewals and resident retention starting from the second they pick up keys,” Messina says. “That’s our No. 1 focus because more renewals mean less beds to turn.”

While a snafu-free move-in day experience will do a lot to drive renewals, logistics aren’t Messina’s only focus for move-in. Here are five other ways she’s getting the renewal message out to students and parents on this hectic day.

Door signage. Messina says she used to have staff members post renewal notices in the elevators, but not all students were seeing them there. So now staff members put window clings that promote renewals on all of the glass front doors.

Her goal is to hook the parents. “They’re tired, and Austin is 105, 106 degrees, and everyone is moving in on one day. We really try to get them when they are at their worst, ‘Oh, yeah, we do not want to do that again.’”

Fun staff shirts. All of the leasing staff and hired movers wear neon shirts with bright lettering that say, “Your mom (or Your dad) is hot.” Underneath that is, “Don’t make them move you again.” And on the back it says, “Renew by October 31.” The maintenance team wears the same shirts but without the hot parent part.

“Parents and the kids think they’re funny,” Messina says. “We get a lot of positive feedback about the shirts; they are definitely eye-catching.”

Snapchat filter. This year, for the first time, Messina created a renewal-focused Snapchat geofilter at the location where all students picked up their keys. The filter had a cowboy hat and bandana with the Quarters on Campus logo. The geofilter was active from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on move-in day and garnered 613 views and 85 snaps.

Swag bags. All students get a swag bag of promotional items and a T-shirt at move-in. In the bag, a renewal flier is strategically placed with the move-in FAQs—how to place a work order, what to do if you are locked out and other necessary information.

Pizza party. This year, Messina planned to have Quarters staff members take around pizzas to each unit after all keys were picked up. “But we ended up having a flood this year on move-in, so we were a little distracted with that,” she says. She’s going to try again next year, though. “We either want to work with a local pizza place to print boxes that talk about renewing or put a flier inside boxes.”