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Apartment Text & Chat True Stories

Want to learn how other multifamily properties are engaging more online/mobile prospects? I'll be sharing case studies and success stories about what worked (and what didn't work quite so well) for other folks in this industry, specifically regarding the use of mobile text and live chat. Sometimes our best resources are each other!

How Student Housing Can Prepare for Ever More Mobile Generations

How Student Housing Can Prepare for Ever More Mobile Generations

The multifamily industry—and student housing in particular—has keyed in on the needs, wants and expectations of the millennial crowd. You know the importance of mobile as it relates to your offerings, residents and prospects. Mobile convenience, on-demand services, free Wi-Fi, high-speed Internet, the list goes on. Just remember: Those aren’t millennial-only expectations!

Let’s look at student housing as an example. Yes, millennials are still in college, especially as grad students. But even more important in the coming years is Generation Z, the oldest of which are headed to college RIGHT NOW. Parents, guardians and other family members also have expectations that property managers need to listen to and manage. These people may be in different “demographic” generations, but they are all increasingly mobile-focused. 

In other words, you need to ensure that whoever interacts with your student housing community has the most seamless, convenient experience. A responsive website is obvious, but think about what happens next. If students or parents want to ask questions, for example, do they still have to call or email? Or do you offer the instant gratification of chat, text and video? 

Mobile-friendly messaging options aren’t for everyone, but not offering them could soon be a big disadvantage. Take a look at how you could appeal to and engage students and their family members (of any age) via text and chat.

Parents & Guardians: Engaging in New Ways 

The parents of today’s college students are most likely part of the Baby Boomer or Generation X groups. Regardless of actual age, most are very interactive when researching a product or service and are more in tune with messaging than you may realize. So offer text and chat options as easy ways to engage and ease their stress when it comes to children going away to college:

  • Parents have the opportunity to “get to know” your community no matter where they may physically be, building trust as they review your floorplans, availability (and likely ask questions about the security you provide residents).
  • They may appreciate a video of your community texted to them or streamed live in a chat. (45% of boomers said virtual tours were very useful features of websites.) 
  • Balancing work and family time is often a challenge, so mobile messaging convenience is appreciated.


Students: Messaging Millennials = Results

You can bet that millennial students expect immediate responses when they chat or text. They grew up with computers and mobile tech. They love—and expect—to get information easily, quickly and at the touch of their fingertips. Plus, communicating via text message can mean faster responses from these student residents (they, like most of us, are hooked to their phones)! Here are some tips for how to prepare:

  • Ensure that your digital presence is as strong and streamlined as possible, including contact options, because millennials will often search and reach out on multiple devices. 
  • Investigate ways to implement legally compliant, secure texting, from students texting an inquiry or scheduling tours to your teams following up.
  • Set up processes for qualifying leads via text or chat and following up on such online leads. You don’t want to slow down their decision-making process with a delayed response.


Students: Prepare to Innovate for Gen Z

Generation Z students are a mobile step beyond even the millennials; most don’t know a world without smartphones. They are the true digital natives, which has led to a great “sense of urgency.” These students interact and stay connected with friends, family and businesses in a variety of ways that student housing properties should be prepared to provide:

  • Gen Z (and a growing majority of all consumers) spend less time on computers and more on phones. Appeal to that with fast Internet access in apartments, Wi-Fi across your community AND easy communications on their device (and channel) of choice. 
  • Don’t make them wait for responses. Like millennials, Gen Z is accustomed to on-demand services (think Amazon Prime and Uber!), so equip your team to securely text and chat on the go with tools that include mobile apps.
  • Think beyond traditional tours. Look into tech that can help you provide a personalized tour in more convenient ways, from streaming a live video tour over a chat to texting said video.

To put it in perspective, a recent Informate report said the average American deals with 6 phone calls per day, 32 texts and spends 14 minutes on chat/VOIP. (And young adults are much higher on the text and mobile messaging scale!) So as you prepare for leasing to the next round of college students, don’t disregard the role messaging could play for everyone involved: the students, their parents and your team. 

Get your team ready to engage with potential student renters (and their parents) in these more efficient and effective ways at every stage of the leasing process. Because messaging won’t just be a “nice-to-have” option soon. 


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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great article Angela!

We previously wrote about Generation Z and the impact they'll have on student housing and we hit on many similar points that you did. I think the most important point being the sense of urgency and their expectation of instantaneous response and customer service. "Don't make them wait for responses" is incredibly important!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Definitely! I think it's fascinating how quickly this sort of expectation has permeated almost all generations.

  Angela Wijesinghe

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