Marketing apartment complexes using digital media will be very important for property managers to reach future tenants searching for rentals after COVID-19.
One thing’s for sure. During the coronavirus crisis, property managers cannot enjoy business as usual. Even in early April, online searches for apartments and rental rates have dropped significantly. Still, the crisis has impacted some sectors of the real estate market more than others, and industry experts expect a strong upswing once the worst has passed. After all, people still need places to stay and live. Find out how to use digital media after COVID-19 to effectively market your properties during and after the coronavirus crisis.
Apartment marketing after the coronavirus
To develop digital marketing plans, consider the state of the rental property market, how property managers should respond to consumer behavior during and after the pandemic, and finally, some reliable property management digital marketing strategies to consider.
Coronavirus declines in property rentals
Housing Wire saw a decline from 10 to 35 percent for online apartment searches during the first part of April. Short-term rentals suffered the most, as people have drastically reduced travel. In response, many short-term property owners have begun offering longer terms to make up for the drastic declines in business or vacation trips. Still, the report ended upon the optimistic note that property managers did not see declines like some other industries, including hospitality or travel. They also expected rental properties to enjoy a strong upswing once the worst of the crisis had passed and people began to resume their normal lives.
Property management’s response to COVID-19
Besides analyzing the current rental market, it’s also important to consider current coronavirus best practices for apartment managers.
- The National Multifamily Housing Council, or NMHC, has published guidelines that cover everything from proper disinfection techniques to package handling. They based these suggestions on CDC recommendations, and it’s great to not only follow appropriate tips but to communicate your actions to your current renters, prospects, and other stakeholders.
- Most progressive property management companies have moved a lot of their business online anyway. It saves time and money and best of all, typical renters prefer these convenient options. If you haven’t made much progress, it’s a good time to consider online contracts and payments and even virtual tours. If you need to show empty apartments, keep hand sanitizer by the door and follow a screening process before scheduling the appointment.
Property management digital marketing strategies for after the coronavirus crisis
Laurence Yun serves as the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. While he spoke more about the home sales than the rental market, his marketing advice for after coronavirus applies just as well to the rental market. He said that a couple of the biggest consumer behavior changes would stem from timidity about meeting strangers in person and economic uncertainty.
Digital Apartment Marketing After Coronavirus
To alleviate the first concern, David Kong, a NYC Keller WIlliams partner, said he has already ordered online 3D walkthroughs for apartments. Prospective renters can view these from any computer or mobile phone. You can still schedule appointments with your property managers, but instead of conducting initial visits in person, you can offer online walkthroughs. Of course, you can even advertise self-guided virtual visits that people can take 24-7.
Redfin, an online broker, boasted that it was ahead of the game because it already prepared virtual home tours and plans digital marketing campaigns for each listing. They believed they had a unique selling tactic because they felt their online media mix optimization could close deals just as well as brokers who focused on offline meetings and showings. It’s only reasonable to expect that other real estate businesses will benefit by following this lead.
Search and Social Marketing After COVID-19
Besides marketing specific rental units, you can use your social platforms and ads to demonstrate how well your company has responded to the crisis by following best practices from the CDC and the NMHC. Let prospective renters know that you care about the health of your tenants and your employees and exactly how you demonstrate that care.
Also, if you see specific demand changes, you might consider responding to these with changes in your own rental policies. For instance, if you offered short-term leases geared to AirBnb-type clients in the past, you might consider extending leases for individuals and families who need a place to shelter for several months or even longer. Even if you need to lower your monthly rental rates somewhat, you can always benefit from the economy of not having to replace tenants as often.
Your local market research may find a ready audience with displaced travellers, college students, or medical workers. When you come up with a local demand and some appropriate deals, be certain your target those people for your digital ads on search and social platforms.
Bouncing back during and after the COVID-19 crisis
Again, industry experts expect rental properties to bounce back fairly quickly. While the market may change, your flexible approach to this disruption can give you an edge. Follow safety guidelines, provide prospective renters the online tools they prefer, and of course, use your marketing to let your audience know what a good job you’re doing.