In this 5-part series, we will explore strategies in the “Revenue R’s” areas which can dramatically boost revenue growth in your multi-family community marketing approach.
We can define the 5 R’s of Revenue Growth as:
Today, we are tackling one of the simplest, often neglected sections of revenue growth: Renewals.
All too often, performance is measured on garnering new clients. This type of marketing can become a problem and cost your company significant funds. New clients cost 5X as much to secure as it does to keep a current one.
How many times have you seen a great deal advertised? Excitedly, you explore the details of the deal, only to find that it is NOT available to current customers. You, long-time loyal customer, are excluded. There is almost no incentive for you. Too often, great “deals” or “specials” are for new customers, while current customers overpay for the same services.
Number ONE on any revenue growth plan for a multi-family community should be Resident Renewals / Retention. Resident loyalty leads to renewals AND referrals (which we will discuss further in Part 2 of our series). Building resident loyalty is not just important; it’s VITAL. Maintaining a relationship with your community members is the beginning of creating an atmosphere that encourages them to renew their lease and to refer their friends! Recognizing the importance that renewals can bring in the form of stabilized tenancy will instantly motivate you to increase your efforts in marketing to your current residents.
Create a renewal strategy /plan. The best way to increase renewals is to have a plan and stick to it! Create a concise and targeted approach to building resident loyalty. Your plan will benefit the community and will help guide your property management team to an increased retention rate. Having a plan is always good, but consistently carrying out the plan is imperative. Residents will be hard pressed to believe that your efforts are genuine if you implement strategies (incentives) and soon allow them to fall dormant.
Relationships lead to renewals. Start early to earn your residents’ “renewal vote”. “We just started a new program to renew our residents two days before they move in,” says Philadelphia-based Resource Residential CEO Harlan Krichman. Krichman morphed a leasing agent into a concierge for residents. “They call on residents two days before move-in to see if they need anything. They call on the resident two days after they move in, then two weeks later, then two months later, and so on to maintain high-touch throughout the lease duration,” says Krichman. This hands-on approach to resident relations helps foster a sense of community and relationship that encourages residents to remain in the community.
Be careful publicly advertising rental rates. Just like the cable and cell phone companies, it can offend residents entering their community every day, greeted by a giant sign stating “$699 leasing special” when they are paying $899! If you choose to offer a special, do it tactfully and quietly. As management, we all understand that rental rates vary by market, timing, and local conditions, but your residents may not understand this concept.
Cultivate a community atmosphere through resident activities. Allow your amenities to shine. Have a great pool? Offer pool games or have a certified Red Cross Lifeguard teach swim lessons. Have an awesome pool table in your community room? Establish a pool tournament and invite a local pool player or expert to give lessons. Have a media / movie room? Offer free popcorn alongside a family movie.
Other activity ideas include:
-Offer pet training classes
-Family game nights (board games) or car (poker) tournaments.
-Holiday events- have photos with Santa, Valentines, an Easter egg hunt, and what better activity for kids than Trick or Treat inside their own community.
-Organize a community yard sale and advertise it for free.
-Host community meal prep nights or community baking / cooking classes. Oftentimes you can find residents inside your community who would be honored to serve as hosts for these activities.
-Have live music or even a great playlist poolside.
-Invite guests to bring food to a community barbecue potluck. The community that eats together stays together!
-Offer a “parents night out” with free babysitting at the clubhouse for 2-3 hours.
The opportunities are endless! You can find these and many other ideas for programs by visiting residentevents.com. The activities will positively affect your revenue by saving residents money. You will be helping their often tight budgets in return for receiving rent payments on time.
Offer renewal incentives. Discounts on rent, free upgrades, security deposit rebates, gift cards or even cash are all great incentives. When it comes to incentives, monetary gifts of any sort are proven to be the most popular.Offer improvements and renovations to long term residents FIRST. You will be surprised how happy a resident will be to hear that they will be receiving a new refrigerator, dishwasher or countertop.
Utilize on-site staff to improve the value added services of your community. Is your leasing agent an aspiring yoga instructor? Allow them to host a weekly yoga class at your community room, FREE to your residents of course, but invite outsiders also. This could mean a new lease for your community! You could also offer the services of your maintenance staff as “handyman hours”.
Spice up your services. Small services like offering to collect mail while the resident is on vacation, water their plants, or feed their fish, could be all they need to become a lifelong community resident.
Embrace Social Media. Set up a group on Facebook for your community where residents can communicate in private, make suggestions and socialize with each other. Make a specific hashtag for Twitter and Instagram and encourage your residents to brag about all the things they love about the community.
Go bold- Do away with renewals altogether! This could be a risky move, but many communities have seen great success with NOT forcing long-term, loyal clients to sign a future lease. Especially for residents who have lived in your community for more than 2-3 years, send a nice, handwritten note to them, thanking them for their residency. Let them know that you invite them to be a part of the community for many more years, then close by pointing out that you will not require them to “renew” their lease as they have already proven their loyalty.
These ideas can take quite a bit of design, planning, and attention to ensure that they are properly implemented. The task can be daunting for property managers who are already strapped for time. Remembering these tasks can seem overwhelming, but with Leonardo247 you can efficiently complete your daily task list. This leaves room to expand your ideas into areas that add value to your community and increase renewals and referrals. Check back next week for more ideas on how to increase Referrals!