5 Ways to Get Your Residents to Use a Tenant Portal – And Love It - Property Vista

October 08, 2015

5 Ways to Get Your Residents to Use a Tenant Portal – And Love It

Have you heard the truth about tenant portals? They’re a pretty great tool for engaging residents. Your competitors may not want you to know this, but tenant portals can go far beyond offering a platform for simply collecting and monitoring rent payments. The trick is knowing how to make the most of what they can offer so you can make sure that the people you most want to embrace the portal – your renters – are fully onboard (and online).

If you’ve recently implemented a tenant portal or are thinking about moving ahead with one, you need to get creative about getting your renters to make the best use of it. Here are five tips to help make that happen:

Proof Positive: Outline the Time-Saving Benefits

In your announcement materials, clearly emphasize the benefits of using the tenant portal. It’s available online 24/7, so your renters can access it from anywhere, at any time. If they need to report a maintenance issue, they won’t have to wait around for the property manager to inspect the problem. With a well-designed portal, renters can quickly upload a photo of the issue, and your team can respond electronically. Renters can also say goodbye to those pesky trips to head office to drop off a cheque. And if they want to change how they pay their rent – for example, from credit card to direct withdrawal – they don’t have to make a call or schedule an appointment; all it takes is a few clicks and they’re done.

Create a Community

Use the portal to send a monthly newsletter. Pack it with updates about events happening in the neighbourhood or building, such as parades, free events for children or local fundraising initiatives – for charity or for your own property management company. You can also raise awareness of any anti-crime initiatives from local police. Make sure your renters feel involved; use the newsletter to solicit feedback and input about the portal’s services and content. Building a strong sense of community among your residents helps ensure that they’re happier on your property – and that they stay longer.

Add a Personal Touch

You can further the sense of community by showing residents that you personally care. Send portal users automatic birthday greetings and holiday messages. And personalize all communication. Lease renewals, and even responses to regular communications, go over far better when your renters can see their own name at the top of the message.

Use Incentives

People are driven by incentives. So put it to your advantage. Offer perks that will drive traffic to the tenant portal and encourage online activity. Have a monthly draw for all portal users – it could be a coupon for a local pizza restaurant, or you could give them an incentive even closer to home, like free parking on your property for a month. You could also post a short online survey about your property, inviting tenants to participate in exchange for being entered in a draw. This way, you can encourage renters to explore and use the portal, while soliciting important information about what they like (or don’t like) about your property.

Educate, Educate, Educate

When dealing with residents who aren’t yet enrolled in the tenant portal, show them how it works and get them set up. Encourage them to make electronic rent payments for their own convenience. Show them how easy it is. If they come to you to renew a lease, walk them through the online process. When new prospects view your properties, take a moment to walk them through how the portal works on a tablet, promoting its benefits.

Put Your Portal to Work – For You!

Resident portals can do so much more than just simplify property management operations. They’re at your disposal to help create a community atmosphere and to ensure that renters have a vested interest in your property. By making use of all that tenant portals have to offer, you’ll be able to provide a better rental experience that’s more convenient and comfortable for your residents. And as all property managers know, happier residents make for a more positive bottom line.

If you’re looking to optimize your tenant portal to improve your business and offer greater customer satisfaction, sign up for your free account today or give us a call to learn more.

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Jack Beaton Sterling Karamar, Property Management
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