Attracting student renters can be difficult, especially when many students are basing the decision on a pure mix of price and location. If you are off-campus, you need to be a little more creative to fill your available units.
Here are five solid marketing ideas designed to help you get more student renters to your properties.
Go to Them
Colleges and universities often host fairs or student housing events where local vendors can set up a booth or kiosk on campus and conveniently talk to students. Take advantage of these opportunities get up close and friendly with potential student renters.
Even if nearby schools don’t offer anything like this, you can still take the initiative to go to where students congregate. We’ve heard of one large property management firm that tricked out an old food truck to take to university sporting events or near campus. They handed out free coffee and turned the truck into a mobile leasing office.
And, even though today’s students have grown up with the internet, don’t dismiss the power of good old-fashioned signage. Either on the property or a poster on a board inside a coffee shop popular with students.
Offer Free Food
Whether you are holding an open house, or setting up a stand at a local student-oriented event, everyone loves free food or beverages. Handing out free popsicles or lemonade on a summer day can draw in the crowds. Have tablets on hand so students can fill out applications on the spot.
Another twist on the free food tactic is to offer your current renters free pizza for any lead that turns into a renter. Students are natural networkers, and are in an environment that lends itself to knowing a ton of people.
It’s a fact, students spend many hours online, whether it’s chatting with friends or researching a paper. Your ads need to be on online student housing listings, and in popular online locations like Craigslist and Kijiji. Use PPC to appear at the top of search engine results, particularly during peak rental times.
Your website needs to be mobile and tablet friendly, enabling students to easily browse vacancies and apply online. In addition to photos, do video walk-throughs so potential renters can see the unit.
Another big part of raising your digital game is to be social. Students flock to social sites like Instagram and Twitter. (You may want to also opt for social channels like Snapchat or TikTok.) Use these social platforms to showcase your properties, but to also build a community. Connect with existing renters, tweet about local events and other things of interest to your target market.
Operate After Hours
Students are night owls. If your organization is only available during 9-to-5, you could be missing out big time. Consider extending work hours until 8 pm during peak rental times. You definitely need to work with student housing software solutions that can catch leads coming in after hours. As mentioned earlier, things like online applications, 24/7 video tours or 360 walk-throughs and even community profiles allow student renters to get a sense of your property anytime. All of these types of marketing materials help qualify leads, keep students on your website longer and convert to applications or requests to seethe property. Chatbots can also be set up to answer common questions.
From open houses to pool parties that show off your amenities, plan some events throughout the year that keep your property top-of-mind for student renters. Some property management firms set up monthly breakfast bars in the lobby to build relationships with their existing student renters, and invite their friends to join.
Some student property firms hold monthly contests, like giving away a $20 gift card for a movie or coffee house. This helps them to build awareness of their property and help generate leads. Another firm helps organize springtime yard/garage sale, which helps students get rid of furniture they will no longer be using(and reduces left-behind garbage) and provides an opportunity to attract students looking for bargains (and a new place to live) to the property.
How Property Vista Helps
When you use student housing software, like Property Vista’s solution, you can automate marketing tasks as well as many leasing and inspections processes. Through an online portal, students can sign up online and split the rent automatically. Cash strapped students can pay by a number of flexible options and enter requests for maintenance with little hassle. If you’re looking to improve your operations, checkout our pricing and get a demo.