The modern renter is more tech-savvy and digitally based then ever. Yet when searching for an apartment, 40 percent of prospective residents are unable to find a link to apply and 43 percent of current renters are unsure of how to pay rent online, according to an Entrata study.
That means the apartment industry not only has to incorporate technologies, but also ensure they are convenient, user-friendly and intuitive for prospective residents and residents alike–regardless of their digital prowess. The quicker marketing teams can incorporate relevant technology into their processes, the more rapidly they’ll fill up their communities, as discussed in the session, “Technology + Marketing = Winning Combination for Apartment Renters” at NAA’s Apartmentalize.
“To meet the demand of ‘I need it now,’ we have to look at our departments and make sure we continue to grow and transition to be the most productive we can be,” said Lauren Gummelt, National Marketing Manager for Lincoln Property Company. “We have to work even harder to communicate with prospects and renters and refer back to our culture and core values.”
Prospective residents want quick answers during their search, which has led to a rise in self-guided tours and chatbots. Residents now expect strong connectivity with the bandwidth to utilize voice-activated smart-home devices, tech-related features that allow the capability to work from home, and convenience-related facets such as resident portals to pay rent and submit service requests.
For instance, 72 percent of residents now pay online at Lincoln Properties. Princeton (66.1) and Dolben (65.2) have also experienced accelerated rates as the industry continues to lean digitally.
As marketing teams continue to vet these technologies, one challenge is to find relevant products that integrate with the existing property management system. Disparate systems will only create an onsite headache that outweighs any benefits.
“If it doesn’t integrate, I don’t want it,” said Sara Graham, Director of Marketing for The Dolben Companies. “My job is to make my onsite jobs easier, so we find platforms that do that. We are testing a platform right now and the partner said that it definitely integrates, so we rolled it out. And guess what – it doesn’t integrate. Word of advice: If it doesn’t work, stop it.”