Whether or not you’d categorize yourself as a student-housing landlord, it’s time to start taking advantage of the Echo Boom demographic. Hot on the coattails of the Baby Boomer generation are their kids, which account for a whopping 23 per cent of Canada’s population.
According to David K. Foot, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Toronto, “The Ontario university system grew to accommodate the Baby Boomers—and this generation’s impact will be felt for years to come, thanks in part to their offspring, the Echo Boom.” He adds that this impact will continue to affect enrolments well into the 2020s, an argument bolstered by a Statistics Canada projection, which shows he 20-24 year age group growing by 2.3 per cent between 2006 and 2016.
Is your company benefiting from this boom by marketing available rental units to college and university students? Most landlords have caught on to the growing trend, adding “Students Only” zones to their websites. Having a drop-down menu with all of the major schools across Canada to select from is a great start. However, to form a significant imprint on the minds of this particular demographic, landlords are starting to pull out all the stops. Here are some suggestions on marketing your apartments to a very busy group.
Join Frosh Week
Sometimes we all wish we could go back to that week or two at the very beginning of school where inhibitions are thrown to the wind all in favor of enjoying that first bit of freedom from mom and dad. Although it’s unlikely you remember, Frosh Week is the perfect opportunity for local businesses to bombard a captive audience with a ton of advertising. Get in touch with schools near your rental apartment communities to find out how you can get involved in the festivities. For lots of exposure, pitch some signage, have a BBQ and host a party at one of your sites for current and prospective residents.
Make your Friends your Neighbors
What did we all need more of as students? Cold hard cash. If you have apartments for rent in a college or university town, advertise to current residents and offer them money when they refer friends. And don’t just advertise in the elevators and common areas; Take out ads in campus newspapers and start a Facebook page. You’ll be surprised at just how popular your residents are when their friends start lining up at your rental office.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!
Oftentimes, landlords hold off on advertising until leasing season is in full swing. Students, however, will be in apartment-search mode all-year round due to changing semesters, poor choice of roommate, etc. Come fall, be prepared to approach potential renters throughout Frosh Week, sporting events, orientation days, etc. Contact the university for additional marketing opportunities, including calendars and brochures.
Make New Friends
One of the smartest things you can do to attract renters to your properties is by partnering with nearby schools. Hosting meetings with student life committees is especially effective as it’s here you can find out whether there are opportunities to host events. Other options to explore are environmental initiatives and partnering with the security department to ensure students are adequately protected in their commute home from campus at night.
In addition to offering snacks and refreshments, ask your site team put together a welcome package for move-in day. In it, you might want to include nearby grocery stores, movie theatres, libraries, public transit routes and schedules, and restaurant/entertainment guides. A great way to do this is in calendar form, where you can add important rental information such as rent deadlines. Don’t forget to add your branding wherever possible!
Build a Facebook Page
By now, your company probably has a corporate Facebook page. More and more landlords are currently building site-specific Facebook pages to engage residents and build community on a very personal level. Post photos of building events, community updates and apartment living tips; launch events, such as photography contests and seasonal costume competitions. The more dynamic the page, the more attractive it will be to prospective renters who happen to come across it when they’re “creeping” other users’ walls.
Share the Wealth
Many students live on a shoestring budget and others have no concept of how to stock their rental unit with everyday maintenance essentials. New renters and students are especially great candidates for buildings with lending closets, which are generally stocked with a vacuum, ladder, iron, ironing board and basic toolbox. Other appealing items are DVDs and kitchen appliances. Better yet, post a sheet in the lobby that asks renters what they’d like to see in a lending closet. Once it’s stocked, simply ask renters to sign out items by visiting the rental office.
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The RentSeeker.ca Team
Apartments for Rent Made Easy