After years of racing to keep up with the demand, inventory for multifamily rent properties now outpaces demand in many major markets. That puts property managers in a tough spot, trying to prevent renters from being wooed away by more amenities or lower monthly rent as renewal dates approach.
But wherever there’s a challenge, there’s often an even greater opportunity.
Swift’s recent survey sheds some light on how property managers can not only hang on during this crunch, but actually thrive. Especially where millennials and Gen Z are concerned.
Renters between 18 and 29 outnumber all other age groups combined. So, it isn’t surprising that of survey respondents that intend to live in apartments next year, 52 percent are millennials and Gen Z.
This age group tends to value quality of life experiences above quantity. For example, millennials were (and still are) key to the booming success of fast-casual restaurants everywhere. The same “experience craving” affects where millennials and Gen Z choose to call home—and for how long. So, while they may be harder to please, their numbers make meeting their expectations impossible for property management to ignore. But how can they provide these renters the type of experiences they want, without blowing the budget?
Here are some interesting insights the survey revealed about millennials and Gen Z, and how property managers can leverage them to improve recruiting, retention, and referrals for this group of renters.
83% are more loyal when surprised with savings offers.
Everyone loves surprises—especially when they carry a positive monetary value. Often with less disposable income, younger renters welcome unexpected savings offers. Properties can consider offering rewards for regularly paying rent on time, for move-in anniversaries, or other occasions. These types of surprise rewards are opportunities to grow renters’ loyalty, and, when developed in conjunction with partners, can actually cost the property less than the reward’s “face value.”
82% said special offers can direct their reward spend to those items.
Simply put, when you attach a special offer to prepaid rewards, move-in incentives, or even deposit refunds, it’s likely the recipient will apply that reward towards that offer. Consider developing relationships with local partners, retailers, and service providers who can subsidize your rewards and incentives. This way, everybody wins: the renter gets a valuable reward, the partner gets additional business, and the property pays less than the reward would ordinarily cost it.
Renters prefer virtual or prepaid cards 2:1.
Physical checks and PayPal run distant second and third to virtual rewards and those delivered on prepaid cards. With virtual or prepaid, renters can spend their reward incentives anywhere they choose, for whatever product or service they like. Plus, awarding renters with branded prepaid cards can serve as reminder of the value they earn from continuing to live at the property—not to mention providing an opportunity to transform deposit refunds into referrals. Which brings us to…
65% would make a referral for a $100 bonus added to a deposit refund.
This proves that loyalty and goodwill can continue even after a renter decides to leave. After all, a positive referral to a friend or co-worker is worth a thousand silences, which stretches your marketing dollars farther. And a bonus like this works especially well when offered on a prepaid card—which bears out the previous point.
71% make purchases on a mobile device at least monthly.
This may seem unrelated to the other findings. However, the fact that the majority of millennials and Gen Z shop on their phones provides rental property managers even more opportunities for engagement and disbursement of rewards and partner offers.
Recruit and retain by delivering rewards and incentives the way renters want them.
The current excess of rental inventory makes it a real challenge for today’s multifamily rent property managers to recruit and retain renters. And the sheer numbers of millennial and Gen Z renters make it impossible—and indeed unwise—for these managers to ignore this group’s expectations. But understanding and catering to their likes and preferences provides more than enough opportunities to meet that challenge head on.
Offering renters surprise offers and regular rewards, providing these incentives on virtual and prepaid cards, and attaching special offers subsidized by partners can help rental properties thrive in spite of today’s supply-exceeds-demand market.
About the author
Rodney Mason is Chief Revenue Officer at Swift Prepaid Solutions, a global leader in prepaid corporate incentives and disbursements.