By: Shad Bookout
Today is Groundhog Day. It is the most epic of days that celebrates meteorological prognosticating rodents. And it is not just in Punxsutawney, Penn., that it is celebrated. It has become an American cultural phenomenon since the tradition began at Gobbler’s Knob in 1887. It is also the theme and title of one of Bill Murray’s most revered movies. The story revolves around a man who repeatedly lives the same day over and over again.
The same sensation that Murray’s character – Phil – experiences, is felt by the majority of apartment shoppers in today’s market. Once they decide the area of town in which they will reside, they are doomed to relive the same apartment tour at nearly each and every community they select for potential homes. But you do not have to have your prospective residents suffer the same fate and PackageLog is just one of the many tools you can use to be remarkable and remembered.
The repetition begins with the advertising. As future apartment residents sort through the countless online and print ads in a particular marketplace, the same descriptions, amenities, and basic boring photos keep occurring from one apartment community to the next. It is as though they were all cookie-cutter images of one another. Sure, the prices are different and one or two amenities may be unique, but nothing that truly sets one apart from the other.
Apartment tours are another place where the endless repetition can be daunting to apartment shoppers. Did everyone get trained at the exact same place at the exact same time? The tours always start with a tour of the clubhouse / leasing center and then proceeds though the same amenities that all of the apartments seem to share (pool, tennis court, fitness center, etc.). Next, we arrive at the model, which often seems more like a museum than a representation of resident lifestyle. Upon return to the leasing center, there is a request to lease today and the passing on of a rent quote and maybe a brochure.
Then follow-up, when it occurs, consists of a form email or a phone call from someone “just checking in”. At the end of the day or week of apartment shopping, all of the apartment communities just seemed to blend together and it becomes a struggle to remember which one was which.
But the world is beginning to change, and more tools than ever before are available to apartment communities so that they can stand out in their market. For advertising, the communities that talk about their unique offerings and the lifestyle that residents experience will be the first ones that will catch the eye of today’s more selective customer. Fun YouTube videos and resident testimonials will garner more interest than the traditional print marketing pieces. Actively seeking resident feedback on resident review sites will increase the number of postings and add a sense that your residents are seeking ways to spread the word-of-mouth about how much they love living there.
Making your community stand out during and after resident tours in unique ways is another way to be remembered. Stop taking the “Golden Path” and create a tour that is memorable. Introduce other residents and all the staff, including maintenance. Memorable items you can have in your model include a Twitter Mirror, a drone, or even Amazon Echo. Also, remember to have examples of how the lifestyle there is the best in the market. Even your follow-up can be memorable and customized when you engage them via text, social media (like Snap Chat), or even cool mailers like PostCard on the Run. Remember that the goal is to be memorable and at the top of their minds when they go to make the decision.
PackageLog is a great tool to help along every step of the process. When enticing prospective residents, PackageLog gives you a unique amenity to talk about that help you stand out in your market. Where else can they get live time alerts about the arrival of their package to the leasing office? The customizable package notifications that are sent are also a great opportunity to add an additional request for a quick online review. In addition, they provide a new level of enhanced communication that helps create a greater sense of community and lifestyle. The biggest advantage is to be able to follow-up with your future resident letting them know that when they move in, they are living at more than just an apartment community. They are moving into a place that they will love living at.