Winter is the slowest season for apartment rentals. The vast majority of renters would rather move when the weather is nice, so by the time colder temperatures set in, many apartment communities have reached a strong occupancy rate that can carry through to the spring.
But this is 2020, so the normal seasonality patterns have gone out the window.
Apartment communities across the country are grappling with lower-than-usual occupancy rates as we enter the winter season, so apartment marketers are being forced to rethink their normal approach to attracting new residents. If this describes your situation, read on for some solid approaches that will keep your apartment demand high as we enter the colder months.
Promote seasonal apartment amenities.
Marketing your pool or barbecue pit this time of year probably won’t make a significant impact. Instead, highlight winter-friendly features such as fireplaces, covered parking and central heating on your apartment website, social media and paid search ads. Bonus points if you can also showcase the beauty of your community during winter. Think snowy winter landscapes, warm and cozy spaces, and a bit of holiday decor.
Offer special pricing.
Sometimes rent concessions or apartment specials are necessary, even though they’re not an apartment operator’s first choice when trying to bring in new residents. Offering a reduced rate on the first month, a month of free utilities, or a lower deposit amount can be an effective way to bring in new residents. Promoting your deal across all of your apartment social media platforms as well as your website and apartment online ads creates a sense of urgency that could lead to more signed leases.
Start leasing virtually.
Apartment communities throughout the country successfully established virtual leasing in the spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If your community has yet to embrace virtual leasing, now is the time as wintertime sets in. This solves two problems: It’s safer as the pandemic continues to spread, and it also streamlines the apartment rental process. If you can show prospects that they can rent an apartment in your community safely and with minimal hassle, you have an edge over the competition.
Strengthen your apartment website SEO.
Making your apartment website SEO friendly can make a big difference in your visibility online. When your website content is optimized, it will rank higher in Google and other search engines. Keyword research can help you determine what kind of content you need to get noticed. Also, ensure that your apartment Google My Business profile is filled out completely, which will help with local search results.
Get creative with marketing apartment units.
It tends to be easier to rent one- and two-bedroom apartments than three-bedroom units. If you’re struggling to rent a three-bedroom this winter, you could try marketing it as a two-bedroom with an office, or a nursery. This could be especially effective if the rooms in the larger apartments are on the smaller side. Featuring this floorplan on your apartment website and on social media could be the key to getting it some attention and, hopefully, a new resident.
Run apartment paid search ads.
Apartment Google Ads and social advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be an effective way to reach prospects who are searching for apartments in your local area. If you’ve run paid search ads in the past, you will want to refresh the copy rather than running the same apartment ads that worked in the past. Mention any special deals you’re offering for winter, and promote any seasonal apartment amenities you may have.
Update your apartment review sites.
While this is a year-round task, it makes sense to take stock of your apartment online reputation now to attract as many residents as possible during winter as well as prepare for the springtime rush. Take a fresh look at your apartment reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp and Multifamily-specific sites like Apartments.com and Apartment Ratings. If your apartment ratings could use a boost, ask current residents to review your community and make sure to reply to every review.
Get an apartment chatbot.
It’s important to capture every contact you receive at any time of year, but it becomes even more so during the slow winter months. An apartment chatbot can jump in to assist with answering prospects’ questions, sending rental applications and scheduling virtual tours. The chatbot stores the contact information for everyone who it interacts with, so leasing agents can follow up with prospects.
Don’t forget about lease renewals.
It’s much less expensive for an apartment community to keep an existing resident than to find a new one. So, it’s smart for apartment operators to offer renewing residents a deal, especially now. Keep in mind that most communities reserve their best offers for new residents, but even smaller concessions, like $100 off the rent for a month, could tip the scales in favor of staying rather than leaving. Other offers to consider include free carpet cleaning, gift cards, or a discounted parking space.
Winter in Multifamily might look a little different this year. If you’re struggling to find residents for your apartment community, you can turn it around with a little creative thinking and a willingness to try some new approaches. Let Respage help!