The newsLINK Group - Getting Ahead During Winter

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Winter Season Title: Getting Ahead During Winter Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Finding people to lease units can be a hectic, intense experience. As a result, many multifamily marketers think of the winter months as a welcome slow season: a time to relax and catch your breath before the spring arrives. Editorial: Getting Ahead During Winter 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Finding people to lease units can be a hectic, intense experience. As a result, many multifamily marketers think of the winter months as a welcome slow season: a time to relax and catch your breath before the spring arrives. After all, you may have a community with high occupancy rates, and you may not think many people have any current plans to move on. There is certainly nothing wrong with taking a moment to center yourself and maybe even relax a little over the holidays, but if you let go too much during winter, you are missing a great opportunity. Marketing has to continue in every season because it takes time for any given campaign to show results. A lack of activity now can mean nothing in the sales pipeline later once your marketing momentum disappears. Is that really what you want? It probably isn’t. Shutting down marketing efforts is a good way to lose the attention of the people who are either tenants or potential tenants. A better approach is to use it as a time to start developing marketing efforts that take some time. The winter is the perfect chance to shift your focus and come up with effective short-term goals that will benefit your marketing efforts later. A little advance planning can be the difference between a mediocre year and a great one. If you make use of those winter months to build up toward a successful spring, summer, and fall, that preparation will give you a marketing edge that can benefit you for the remainder of the year. Are you going to be able to sign many leases during the end of the year? It might be possible to fill short-term vacancies of two to three months, if you look for them, but realistically, the answer is generally going to be no. People don’t like to move when the weather is bad unless they are compelled to for some reason. What you can do is lay the groundwork for letting prospective tenants know about your community, and reminding the existing ones about why your community is so great. Here are some specific strategies you can implement as part of your winter marketing campaign. Upgrade Your Lease Process Online applications by themselves are no longer enough. Make sure your process is as up-to-date as possible when it comes to tenant screening, e-applications, digital signatures, and smartphone apps. If you can sign people as soon as they’ve viewed a property, instead of processing paper manually, that can be a real competitive advantage. Retain Current Residents Empty apartments are a liability because they don’t generate revenue. As a result, you should do your best to keep the residents you already have. Some, obviously, will move on for reasons that have nothing to do with you: a new job, going back to school, a wedding, a divorce … there are many reasons why a tenant might not be interested in renewing a lease. But what you don’t want is for anyone to feel like they ought to move because your community isn’t good enough. Winter offers fantastic opportunities for sponsoring holiday events. That gives you a chance to dazzle current occupants and host open houses. Winter is also an ideal time to invest in community businesses. Put together some resident referral programs; someone contacted right now might not move until spring, but you want them to have your community in the back of their minds as a good place to be. Do everything you can to get people talking in a positive way about your community. Learn from the Past Everyone’s slow season is a little different. Take the time to analyze your specific market by looking at the previous year’s performance so you can match the budget to what is actually happening where you are. If you are working with multiple communities it becomes especially important to find out what the differences are instead of just assuming that all of your communities must be the same.

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