It’s a big bummer to miss out on valuable information. In case you weren’t able to attend NAA, we made sure to take college-style notes, so we could share our favorite sessions, and the associated takeaways with our multifamily friends. You ready? Let’s go! In no particular order, here were our favs. 

Meet Gen Z: Understanding the Next Generation of Renters

Let’s get to the point: Gen Z attention spans are short, as in eight seconds short. The good news is, anyone who has been to an actual-cowboy-boots-required-rodeo knows, you can get a lot done in eight seconds. Gen Z is now the largest generation, and by 2023, they’ll be 30% of the United States workforce. Here’s what you need to know. First, when creating a search strategy for Gen Z, long-term keywords are an excellent approach. Gen Z search queries are on average 4.9 words long, which is longer than any previous generation. Growing up with Google at their fingertips, they learned to get hyper-specific about what they were looking for, and your SEO strategy needs to meet this level of specificity. And, Gen Z doesn’t go to the second page Search Engine Results Page (SERP). During a search, 100% clicked either a PPC ad, or one of the top four organic links. 

In addition to upleveling your search strategy, reaching Gen Z renters also demands short, bite-sized video content, with over 70% preferring a video shorter than 60 seconds. So, if you’re sharing out recorded tours, keep the tour sections segmented into short digestible pieces. Leverage this video content across channels as video is rising in importance for visibility and popularity. Feeling creatively blocked about video? Get inspired by Instagram and their TikTok style Reels. These fifteen-second snippets aren’t just for skin-care-pyramid-schemes, so consider looking to Reels and TikTok trends to create quick, punchy videos that will answer renters’ most pressing questions about your property and amenities. 

Here are a few fun facts about the typical Gen Z apartment search and tech wants:

  • The top three tech features: really fast wifi, smart locks (bye, keys!), and smart thermostats. 
  • Prefer to see property photos over lifestyle photos when considering an apartment. 
  • On apartment websites, they visit these four pages most (in order of importance): floor plans, photos, amenities, and videos. Good news, this is why on G5 websites, our single call-to-action pathway directs researching renters to the floor plans page, first. 
  • Top Gen Z social media channels: Instagram, Facebook (yes, really), and YouTube. 

Your Online Reputation: Trends, Strategy and ROI in Rental Housing

Consider these statistics: Renters actively research over 14 properties when trying to select their next apartment home, then visit around four properties. Over the past ten years, the number of properties that renters research is going up, and the number of properties that they visit is going down. Why? Because renters can learn what it is like to live at your property through their online research. They check out your floor plans and imagine how they would arrange their furniture. They look at photos to see what their living room view might look like, and last and not least, they read reviews to hear directly from the source: your renters. Now, onsite visits answer different questions than they had in the past. It’s more of a gut-check, than an initial vetting process. 

Reviews are everywhere, and they have the power to attract or repel renters. How relevant are past reviews though? What if you’ve made changes at your property to fix issues that resulted in negative reviews? Here are a few data points about reviews in the multifamily industry:

  • Nationwide, for each individual property, there are on average 4.38 reviews sites and an average of 108 reviews per property. 
  • 64% of people say that they read all online reviews. 
  • However, 42% will not think that a review is relevant in their decision-making process if it is over 6 months old.
  • 22% consider all reviews in making their final decision. 

All of this is to say, bad reviews are redeemable as long as you fix the root issue. In addition to giving renters the insider scoop, online reviews also have the power to influence your SEO ranking. Remember how we talked about Gen Z renters not going past the first page on a SERP? Bottom line (literally): top SERP slots are important real estate that you need to claim to drive organic traffic. 

Tour Type and Demand: Not All Tours Are Created Equal

First, let’s make sure we all understand the four types of tours offered at most properties today. 

  • In-person tours are what we would traditionally think of, and call a tour. A leasing agent leads Rosie Renter through a vacant apartment answering her questions, and helping her decide if it is the right apartment for her. 
  • Virtual tours are when a leasing agent and a prospective renter are on a video call of some kind and the leasing agent is actively describing the apartment and answering questions. 
  • A video tour is a pre-recorded tour that you send to the prospective renter for them to watch on their own time. 
  • A self-guided tour, essentially means that prospective renters tour the property on their own either in-person or through technology.

What we need to understand about offering various types of tours is that they don’t serve the same renter need or purpose. For example, panelists in this session shared that renters who took self-guided tours and leased a unit, completed their tour within 60 minutes of their initial inquiry. Bottom line: the instant-everything-consumer wants to tour after their work-day ends, and at their convenience. However, they also shared that, if a prospect didn’t sign a lease after a self-guided tour, 47.3% said it was because they still wanted to interact with a leasing agent. Meaning, it wasn’t a firm no, but they needed a few final questions answered. 

A thoughtful approach about how you implement different tour types, and how you move a researching renter from looking to leasing, is important to make any tour-type effective. 

Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick: Art of the Pivot

Pivot! No, we aren’t talking about the iconic “FRIENDS” episode, we’re talking about the pivots your marketing took over the past almost two years. At the end of the day, when you work in marketing, the core of your job is communicating: a message, a campaign, an email, a great deal, a new property amenity, gratitude to your renters. We agree with this session’s speakers: there is no such thing as over communicating. Your message needs to reach your renters in different modalities. So, consider descriptive headlines for the skimmers, and bolded information to make sure key facts don’t get lost in the shuffle. 

Clear communication isn’t necessarily ground breaking, particularly for marketers. However, it’s good to be reminded of how many changes we’ve communicated, and how many changes your renters have encountered, in the last year. Hold empathy for your renters, and remember when communicating yet another change to your renters, that clear communication is kind communication. 

AI: More Than the Next Big Thing

AI is a part of all of our individual lives. From podcast recommendations based on your listening habits, to your Netflix recommendations, to Amazon reminding you to re-order your favorite shampoo, smart technology that monitors user behaviors provides a better user experience, and is the way of the future. 

How does this apply to multifamily? Glad you asked. The price of real estate continues to rise, it’s basically doubled in the past ten years. Meaning, investors are putting more into each individual property, and in case you missed it, they are savvy. They’re curious about how they can leverage data to receive a better return on their investment. While the panelists covered a lot of different types of smart tech, let’s quickly focus on marketing technology. 

Tech has transformed the power of marketing and the tools that marketers have at their fingertips. Instead of being Mad-Men-era-all-about-aesthetics, multifamily marketers now have the option to work with MarTech providers who can use data to predict which user journeys will end in a phone call or tour request. Instead of having a high volume of conversations with researching renters, imagine if you could target your digital advertising to channels and campaigns that are statistically more likely to connect with ready-to-rent prospects. 

Psst, guess what? You can. We aren’t just here to give ourselves a pat on the back, but it was awesome to hear in a panel that the future of AI in multifamily MarTech is not just a dream. In fact, it looks a lot like the actual technology that G5 built and uses every single day to optimize our clients’ digital marketing. 

Multifamily State of the Industry Report

Want more insights? Keep up with other national industry trends by downloading our most recent State of the Industry: Four Headaches in Multifamily Housing.