December 10, 2015

Making the Grade: Student Rental Marketing Tips

In Canada alone there are over 2 million students studying at college or university. If you own or are managing affordable multi-residential units located close to a university or college, chances are you’re going to be renting to students. While this represents a steady stream of prospective residents, it also means higher-than-average turnover and perhaps some difficulty in keeping your properties rented.

Even though your existing student renters just moved in a few months ago, December is a key time to start addressing marketing campaigns for student rentals. It’s around this time every year that students receive their acceptance letters and start to look into securing off-campus housing.

Here’s how you can capture more leads, ensure quality renters and reduce vacancies.

Added Enticements

Don’t just reward new renters with a leasing incentive, use these same incentives to encourage residents to renew early. Don’t forget to post all promotions and incentives on all social media platforms, and in your online ads as well.

Be Available 24/7

Approximately 10% of students leave their province to study elsewhere across Canada. Combine that with students who move to university cities within their own province, as well as the influx of international students who choose to study in Canada, and there is now the new reality that leads need to be captured around the clock. Use online applications that can ensure that all necessary fields – including guarantor information and consent – are properly completed before you assess prospective tenants.

Create Brand Ambassadors

Students love to live near their friends and classmates. Hire some of your student renters or offer them a discount on rent to hand out information on campus and help market your property by creating a peer-to-peer buzz factor. Use gift card giveaways for local products and services to encourage student residents to post selfies hashtagged with your property’s name.

It’s Not Always Price

Sure, student renters are price conscious, but there are also a variety of considerations, so showcase the value they are getting for their rent. Talk about all the amenities you offer: any included appliances, an on-site gym, safety features, a party room or lightening fast Wi-Fi included in the rent. Also, outline aspects of the neighbourhood that would appeal to students. List things like walkability, access to nearby cafes, bars and shopping, local parks, libraries and all relevant public transportation details.

Strong Visual Appeal

Make it easy for students to visualize themselves in your building/housing units. Be sure to have plenty of photographs. Video is increasingly becoming part of the decision making process for students, and their parents, so invest in a video tour of key parts of your housing (an individual unit, amenities like pool or gym or common areas.)

Online and Offline

You know how important social media marketing can be, as well as ILS ads on popular locations like Craigslist, but don’t forget to put up signage on your property as well as post notices on campus billboards and boards in local cafes where students hang out.

Showcase Your Technology

Be sure to leverage every opportunity to highlight how your property uses technology to make life easier for students. Let them know that they can pay rent online, make maintenance requests from the convenience of their phone and go online to get all relevant documents and payment history.

To learn more about how to use Property Vista’s suite of tools to drive more student rentals, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.

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Robert Braun

President, Wolverine Property Management

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