TOPIC: Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively?

Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4054

Whenever the subject of ApartmentRatings.com comes up, invariably hysteria follows, but I want to find out if anybody is actively using tactics to make ApartmentRatings work for them rather than against them. For example, are you actively driving residents to give positive feedback? How are you responding to negative responses?

Thanks!

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4055

One way we are trying to influence a positive response from residents is a- When you know you have a happy resident ask them to post something, more than likely they will be more than happy to do it with nothing more than a thank you in return. or B- per sway tenants to write a positive feed back with gift cards, gifts, or a small discount off rent, usually works. On the other hand dont mention this web site to a irate tenant. It will never turn out in your favor and the less they know about it the better, I would say.
  • Sunset Springs apts.
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Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4058

Thanks for the reply! I wonder how many communities are giving gifts for reviews... I've heard that when this happens, people tend to adjust their review based upon how good the gift is, rather how good they think the product/service is. And I know Yelp has done a lot to pull reviews that appeared that they were paid for, but I'm not sure what apartmentratings has done on that front.

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4060

A few months back, starting in February, we decided to run a campaign that was designed to get our residents to post reviews for our properties on 5 preselected review sites which included Apartmentratings.com, Yelp.com, Yahoo Local, Bing Local & Google Local.

We had noticed that only those residents who were upset and had negative things to say about our properties were motivated to post reviews which led to mostly negative reviews on the review sites for most of our properties. In order to get good reviews from the residents that were happy with our properties we offered to give them a $5 gift card to Starbucks for each review they posted on the 5 preselected sites and one raffle entry for each review they posted on these sites as well for a chance to win a Grand Prize of a $500 Gift Card to Best Buy.

We were very pleased with the results of the program as we received 15 positive reviews for each negative review and saw that the majority of reviewers posted their reviews on ALL 5 sites, over all we averaged 7 new reviews posted for each property and we saw our ratings #s on Apartmentratings.com improve dramatically, which means they return at the top of the list when users sort the list by ratings #s on the site, one property went from a rating of 18% up to 48%.

A few examples can be found at:
Highland Meadows
Stonegate
Orchard Pointe

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4062

Yes indeed! If utilized pro-actively, apartmentratings.com is a fantastic marketing tool! Check out our community...Verde Panther Creek in Frisco, Texas.
  • Christi Wedel
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Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4065

Yes, we emphasize apartmentratings.com as much as possible. I was terrified of this when it first came out but if you use it to your advantage it works great. I'm in a unique area where we cater to mostly college students but I am not Student Housing. So, a large percentage of people review the ratings (especially parents) before chosing a place to visit. Since March I can say that due to our good rating on this site it either rented or helped US rent 5 apartments out of 25 vacancies we have had. We advise residents every chance we get to leave us a good rating and when they move out we remind them as well. We've put it in our newsletter too. We have satisfied residents so it works for us but if they were unsatisfied then I would not to do it.

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4066

I have mentioned this elsewhere, but paying people to post reviews may be an issue. As of 12/2009, the law states:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) blog disclosure regulations require those who write articles or reviews of products or services on the internet to disclose, in a "clear and conspicuous" manner, any free products or payments they receive for these reviews.

See here for more details.

internet-law.lawyers.com/Truth-in-Bloggi...isclosure-Rules.html

I'm not a lawyer (and I don't even play one on TV :-) ), but ours advised us of this new law.

Hope this helps someone.

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4068

We ask customers when they give us a compliment if they would go there and comment when they have time. When we do get a negative comment, our own residents defend us.
The one thing I don't like about it is that our competitors have been known to write bad reviews (they didn't bother hiding their email address, not too smart).
We don't bribe our residents for good reviews and when we do get bad ones, we respond right away with an invitation to discuss the issues with the PM or Regional if someone isn't comfortable with the on-site team. It's been an advantage to us at my current property because we happen to have an over 70% positive rating, but I have worked sites where that wasn't the case. It doesn't take much to turn it around if you care about the service you provide to people. We include a little card with a note about how to post a review on apartment ratings with our renewals and move outs as well. I'd rather have honest feedback, good or bad than "paid for" positive feedback. Most people can see through that and if you have enough reviews you can tell if there are consistent complaints about the same things. The worst is when a staff goes on there and tries to pretend they're a resident, that also is transparent and makes you look bad.

Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4069

I have used apartmentratings.com in the context of market analyses and asset management monitoring. Yes, the scales seem to be tipped toward the negative. However, I have found that trends and patterns are evident in comments on the site. Properties with poor performance will yield more negative comments. Properties with good performance will yield less negative comments. It is easy to spot someone with a negative agenda. I would encourage property managers to solicit positive feedback via apartmentratings.com. However, there is no substitution for a well managed property with happy customers. The truth will always find a way to reveal itself. Anyone who thinks apartmentratings.com is the enemy might need to look in the mirror with their management staff.
  • Jeff Thompson
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Re:Is Anyone Using ApartmentRatings.com Effectively? 11 years 2 months ago #4070

I'm not certain about this, Brent, but I believe Apartment Ratings will pull posts if they can confirm that the person was paid to post them. In general, I think paying for positive reviews should be discouraged. Instead, I'd suggest looking for ways to surprise residents *after* they have left a review, regardless of the tone.

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