Apartment Operators Adjust Marketing Plans, Increase Virtual Operations

  in   COVID-19

Apartment operators are approaching 2020’s prime leasing season quite differently than in previous years, including changing the way they market their assets.

The solid apartment demand volumes seen just one year ago have slowed to a trickle. Capturing what demand is still out there in a socially-distanced world requires operators to capitalize on virtual leasing, resident retention and cost-effective marketing.

“It’s not the time to pull back on marketing, but you may want to rethink some of the ways you are doing marketing,” RealPage Deputy Chief Economist Jay Parsons said. “Some of those things could include investment in strong content and in SEO/SEM, and ability to target your marketing spend to ramp up or down as needed.”

According to polls taken during a recent RealPage webcast, more than half of operators (51.8%) are making minor adjustments to marketing strategies amid the pandemic. About one-third of respondents (32%) said they are doubling down on marketing strategies, while 10.1% are scaling back and 6.1% are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.

“It is critically important to be relevant in these uncertain times,” LeaseLabs Senior Vice President of Business Development Brock MacLean said. “In addition, connecting with residents in creative ways will also preserve the quality living experience and promote retention as we move towards a more favorable time.”

Many operators are already heeding such advice. When asked what initiatives are receiving a heightened focus in prospect and resident engagement strategy, over half of respondents (53.1%) selected an “all of the above” option that included virtual leasing, self-guided tours and resident portals. Another 37.3% of respondents said they will singularly focus on virtual leasing initiatives. A smaller fraction of respondents said they will offer or are currently offering self-guided tours (6.7%) and resident portals (2.9%).

“Adjust your marketing approach to take advantage of virtual experiences that will resonate with the move-ready prospect,” MacLean said. “A website with highly relevant content and immersive experiences will be relatable to today’s prospect and humanize your brand.”

For more information, watch the RealPage webcast: COVID-19: Impact on Apartment Marketing.