Resident Communication, Engagement and Retention

By jsims Posted July 19, 2017

Resident Communication, Engagement and Retention

I just want the basics, not the bling.” – Mason, Millennial, Las Vegas Renter, Panelist

We wanted to hear the truth from our seven guest panelists from local Las Vegas apartment communities—Jason, Tracy, Mason, Robin, Nigel, Joy and John—when we asked them to share about their community experiences. And they gave it to us: the good, the bad and the bling.

The new property manager role

Resident communication has come a long way since door hangars and two-color flyer invites to pool parties. The expectation from today’s resident is the ability to communicate their way—with 50% preferring text messaging as the primary means of communication—and 42% of renters over 65 preferring text messaging.

This means that the role of the property manager has changed and they need better tools that will help them become more collaborative and more connected with their residents. Comprehensive resident portals like RealPage’s ActiveBuilding® provide a complete platform for the transactional and the social that provide the conveniences residents want and the communication hub that property staff need to support a successful community.

Negatives can be positives

Our panel of three women and four men—representing the three demographics of millennial, ages 35 to 50 and 50+—shared about the expectations and realities of their communities, with Elaine Williams, Owner and President of Elaine Williams Consulting Services, moderating.

“People don’t always engage, but they do watch and want to be involved,” Elaine says, commenting on the one common characteristic among properties with online communities. “I call them the ‘silent stalkers.’” She also emphasized that negative comments on the community thread should not be viewed as a negative, if your goal is to monitor the tone of the community and increase your awareness of community concerns.

Panel highlights

The panel was in consensus about the advantages of real-time communications, however, they were not ready to give up on flyers and door hangars. “I think you need both,” Jason underscored.

Although none of the panel members lived in communities that generated surveys, Robin was enthusiastic about their purpose, “I think the survey idea is priceless. Throw out the outliers and apply the rest.” Reviews were another issue addressed. Most of the panelists referred to reviews when looking to lease, but did not make it a deciding factor, which was, unanimously, price and location.

When asked about preferred amenities, there was a consensus that amenities were not an issue at their communities stocked with Starbucks, architectural flourishes, rec rooms and swimming pools. After all, this is Las Vegas. What they were most concerned about was a neglect of the basics—solid security, reliable maintenance, noise control—that tended to be overshadowed by flashy amenities. Mason put it best when he said, “I just want the basics, not the bling. I can get that on the strip. Just give me a safe, well-kept place to come home to.”

Thanks to Jason, Tracy, Mason, Robin, Nigel, Joy and John for joining our panel!

Learn more about resident portals for your community.