Multifamily

How to Reach Gen Z and Generate Interest for Your Apartment Rental

Welcome to the next generation of renters, Gen Z. Also known as Zoomers, this younger generation grew up on brands such as the iPhone, Instagram, and Facebook. So, how do you reach the gen Z audience? To attract these digital natives, your marketing strategy must meet the new behaviors and expectations of this generation.

Research Begins on Google

Searching for a new rental apartment brand begins with Google. In fact, Gen Z starts 39% of its search with this behemoth. It’s important to note that the second source of info is apartment search websites (Apartments.com, HotPads, RENTCafé) followed by driving or walking by.

The implications are clear. Your marketing plan must include digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO). After all, if you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist for this generation of consumers. Pay per click also remains a good play although real estate-related words are some of the most expensive keywords with an average cost per click of $2.461.

All Technology All the Time

The new generation demands a high-speed Internet connection. In fact, it’s more important than parking, gym, and in-unit laundry. Gen Z, more than any other generation, is seeking apartment brands that have embraced technology to handle apartment-related tasks. Zoomers are looking for automated rent pay systems, repair order apps, exercise reservation systems, smart locks, and smart thermostats to schedule and plan everything on their phones. Fully 62% of Gen Z respondents indicated that technology in their community was extremely or very important2.

Ratings and Reviews are Key

As Gen Z consumers have grown accustomed to researching new brands before they click the “buy” button, they are also seeking ratings and reviews before even deciding if they’ll tour an apartment in person. “Ratings and reviews ranked higher than videos and the property website,” states Esther Bonardi, Vice President of Marketing at Yardi.

More importantly, 60% of them are likely to write a review if it exceeds their expectations. In short, this generation is most likely to be influenced by reviews as well as write them.

Again, the ramifications for marketing your community are clear:

  • Ask for a Review – Now is the perfect time to ask your current renters who are part of this younger generation to post a review.
  • Change The Way You Ask – The traditional marketing request consisting of “your input is very important” isn’t working. Drew Davis suggests these four steps instead3:
  • Make It Personal – Make it clear that the request is coming from you, a real person representing the property, not just that the property is asking.
  • Express Gratitude – Sentences such as “thank you for being a great resident” create a solid connection.
  • Give Them the “Why” – Explain that you’re the property manager or owner of the brand and why their review matters.
  • Thank Them – It takes time to write a review. Let your reviewers know how much you appreciate them.
  • Heighten Your Brand Awareness – Tune up your social listening skills to hear what’s being said. Most importantly, respond and engage with both positive and negative reviewers.
  • Post Reviews on Your Site Gen Z will look beyond your site for reviews but posting them somewhere on your site makes it easier for older generations (e.g., Millennial, Gen X, or Baby Boomer prospects) to find.

Thanks for the Amenities

Community assets are key when it comes to marketing your brand and your property to this generation. Gen Z is keenly interested in security and control features with over 85% mentioning them as important. This statistic translates into the need for safely storing packages, especially with the explosive growth in in-home delivery.

After all, it’s not just “porch pirates” but “building bandits” that also steal packages. With an astonishing 1.7 million packages lost or stolen every single day and 40% of thefts occurring within the apartment community, a secure package delivery box is paramount. Smart parcel delivery lockers require a unique PIN code or barcode virtually eliminating theft and bolstering confidence in apartment security.

When it comes to in-unit amenities, Internet speed and washers/dryers are neck and neck when it comes to Gen Z consumers’ top five requested amenities4. Rounding out the top five modern apartment features are interior features (balconies, hardwood floors), spacious floorplans, and cell reception inside the apartment.

Instagram is the Instant Favorite

Forget Facebook (that’s for Boomers) and say hello to Instagram. According to a recent RENTCafe survey, 36% of Gen Z’ers mention Instagram as their favorite social media platform5.

As one Gen Z apartment seeker states, “I’m going to peep and creep” into your social media to get a good sense of your brand, even though she probably won’t follow you. What does this insight mean for you? It means don’t assume your marketing isn’t working just because your follower numbers of followers aren’t growing. Instead, look deeper into the analytics to see which post or marketing campaign is creating meaningful engagement.

More Space, More Flexibility

The average size of an apartment is jumping thanks to routines established during the pandemic and the growing work from home trend. In fact, in 36% of American cities, rental units are larger than they were in the previous five years6.

As Michael Van Der Poel, founding partner of Asia Capital Real Estate explains, “We’re doing little things like adding built-in offices and areas where people can work from home in nooks and crannies.”

Three cities are leading the shift to larger spaces: Everett, Washington, Kirkland, Washington (home of Costco), and Scottsdale, Arizona. On average, one-bedroom spaces are expanding by 28 square feet, two bedrooms are growing by 39 square feet, and three bedrooms are adding to their square footage by 105 square feet. Incremental space bodes well for Gen Z who cite spacious floor plans as one of the key influencers in renting an apartment. 

Gen Z is unique. It’s a generation of tech-savvy, Instagram-loving, and review-focused young consumers willing to start every search on Google. Apartment brands that rise to the top are ones that are marketing their properties to embrace technology to open doors, parcel lockers, and the future.

To talk to a representative on how to move your brand into the future, contact us here

Sources:

  1. Sellers, Amanda. HubSpot. 150 of The Most Expensive Keywords on Google (By Industry). (2020, May 19). https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/most-expensive-keywords-google.
  2. Ives, Geneva. The Balance Sheet. Gen Z Renters. (2021, May 5). https://www.yardi.com/blog/marketing/gen-z-renters/29094.html.
  3. Davis, Drew. [Yardi]. (2020, September 16). Episode 6: The Perfect Review Request with Drew Davis [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-61ESMFCxI.
  4. National Apartment Association. (2020). The Complexities of the Digital Generation: Insights From the NAA/Satisfacts/ApartmentRatings Survey on Gen Z [Report]. Retrieved from: https://www.naahq.org/publications/research/complexities-digital-generation-insights-naasatisfacts-survey-gen-z
  5. Bona, Sanzia. RentCafé. Gen Z Survey: Young Renters Are the Most Techy, Research-Focused, Instagram-Loving Generation of Renters. (2020, November). https://www.rentcafe.com/blog/rental-market/market-snapshots/generation-z-most-techy-research-focused-instagram-loving-generation-renters/.
  6. Sparber, Sami. The Wall Street Journal. Supersize Apartments Are Back in Demand. (2021, June 29). https://www.wsj.com/articles/supersize-apartments-are-back-in-demand-11624964401.

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