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Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis

Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis
Apartment resident review volume reached an unprecedented level in Q1 2020, more than doubling the total number reviews posted in the prior quarter (Q4 2019), giving credence to the importance of reviews and ratings. “We have observed that apartment reviews follow the same pattern as the industry leasing seasonality. Given the holiday festivities in Q4, the review volume is generally low, and it picks up again in the first quarter. It climbs up further in the second quarter due the leasing period in various communities nationwide,” explained Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research. These data come from the fourth edition of The Mechanics of Online Review Sites and ILSs produced by J Turner Research. The report is an unparalleled resource on the growth of online reviews, review sites, and Internet Listing Services (ILSs) relevant to the multifamily industry. It offers a quantitative perspective on the progression of online reputation in multifamily. Its analysis originates from the online reputation monitoring of nearly 116,000 properties nationwide across various review sites and ILSs, each month. As of Q1 2020, there are 9,777,352 reviews for the 115,948 properties J Turner monitors, and 86 percent of these properties – 99,579 have at least one review. In this report, all analysis is based on these 99,579 properties. In 2015, it monitored 55,700+ properties. The number of reviews has grown 3.5 times from 2,741,818 reviews in 2015 to 9,777,352 reviews in Q1 2020. Additionally: Number of reviews per property – The average number of reviews per property in 2019......
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Social Media and Review Responses: Do you know your audience?

Social Media and Review Responses: Do you know your audience?
During your day to day tasks do you treat social media posts and responding to reviews the same? Both are equally important in a community’s marketing strategy, however each have a different target audience. Imagine you are checking out a new restaurant for dinner, if you have never been there before, reviews will be the most important aspect of looking for a quality restaurant.  Once you have dined at the restaurant, you can now contribute to the restaurant’s online story through social media by posting videos or photos of your food and experience. Reviews are most valuable before you’re a part of the experience, social media is most important once you’ve become part of the experience. Renters view their experience through the same lens, turning to ApartmentRatings among other review sites to thoroughly understand the resident experience as well as other aspects of life at the community. Once a renter chooses to lease, they can now contribute to the community’s online story via social media.  A renter’s journey is extremely important no matter if it is before or after a lease is signed.   Our 2018 Social Media Study shows only 14% of renters consider a community’s social media presence, ranking it at 46 of 48 when it comes to the impact of the prospects leasing decision. What does this mean in regards to a community’s social media efforts? “Do social the resident’s way” Social media has become an avenue for residents to connect and engage with the community team. Residents can sense the authenticit......
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Elements of a Rock Star Review Response

  Responding well to an online review is more involved than you might think at first glance. There’s a lot of customer service and public relations theory working in the background that has to be incorporated into a few short sentences. And it’s happening while you’re trying to hold back the emotion from being skewered online. If you can find a way to tame the angry beast inside and remember the following five elements, you can become a response rock star. Authenticity This isn’t a statement to the media or a legal letter. It’s a response to an upset resident with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective renters watching. If your response reads like you outsourced it to your legal team, it’s not going to sound natural and prospects are going to know it isn’t genuine. Be natural, be authentic and prospects will believe you truly care about your residents. Honesty The worst thing you can do is lie. Saying your service manager was at the community at 9 a.m., when they didn’t show up until 3 p.m. might seem like a good idea because prospects will believe you arrived on time. But the truth always comes out and it’s more believable when it comes from a resident. The resident will call you out on a follow-up post and other residents might post their own negative reviews about late service just out of principle. Always tell the truth, even when responding to a review. Friendly It’s hard to be friendly to someone who just ......
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Improve your Reputation Management Strategy

Make no mistake about it: Online ratings and reviews are more important than ever to renters. According to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Study, nearly 80% of renters said that online reviews influenced their leasing decision. Additionally, a 2017 renter’s journey survey conducted by RentPath found that 57% of online apartment shoppers prefer listings that have “a lot of honest reviews from people like me.”   Despite these numbers, many owner/operators don’t have formal reputation management programs in place. This could be because when the apartment market is experiencing high traffic volumes and high conversion rates, operators may not think they need to worry about reputation management. It’s also possible that many owner/operators think they don’t have the budget to hire a third party to manage their online reputation. Or they simply may not know where to start when it comes to handling reviews.   Given the importance that prospects place on online reviews, it is now critical for apartment operators to have a sound reputation management program in place. Here are three steps that a community can take to get started laying the groundwork for reputation management.   1. Ask for honest feedback. Use surveys or social media campaigns to ask residents to leave a review of your community on your ILS listing or on a site such as Google to generate recent and fresh feedback. By consistently prompting residents to leave reviews, online prospects get a better and more real-time understanding of resident experiences. If reviews are outdated, data suggest......
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Is Your Property Being Trolled?

Is Your Property Being Trolled?
When an irate resident decides to troll or leave negative reviews for your property or properties managed by your company on multiple review sites repeatedly, what do you do? Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with trolls firmly, but professionally. Here’s why: content is king. Residents and apartment shoppers have become more discerning and sophisticated in interacting with online reviews and responses. When analyzing a review, they filter facts from emotional outbursts and look for recurring complaints in areas of apartment living that are most relevant to them. Apartment shoppers notice manager responses, and they expect a genuine and personalized response with a problem-solving attitude. Below are some handy tips to deal with trolls effectively. Get the facts. Gather the facts on the situation described by the reviewer. Your response should be armed with facts to stop any further controversy or dispel any rumors about your property. Your groundwork should include:   What’s the status of the reviewer—prospect, current or former resident, or a guest? Talk to everyone involved—the office and/or the maintenance staff. What is the nature of the problem? Is it a recurring issue highlighted by other reviewers, for instance, bed begs, pests, and nonfunctional amenities, or is it a staff complaint? Was any attempt made to diffuse the situation by communicating with the reviewer and offering a resolution to his/her concerns? What was the outcome of your efforts—was the reviewer receptive to the solution you offered?   For instance, one of the most common conflicts i......
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Asking for the review

Asking for the review
Have you ever left a review on your own, just because? Chances are you were either super happy or more likely, super upset about a particular incident. On the rare occasion, someone may ask you to. But that’s the exception, not the rule typically.   So my question is, are you asking for reviews? Or are you passively waiting for someone to be sufficiently upset or sufficiently over the moon happy to post something about your community on their own? If it’s the former, kudos to you, super star! If it’s the latter, you need to get busy! Like, yesterday.   This is a world where people rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Facts are facts, whether we like it or not, it's gonna happen. Are you leaving your property’s reputation and future revenue in the hands of just anyone? What you should be doing is controlling that message as much as possible.   Are you making it easy for your happy residents to review you? If not, why not? There are so many reputation management tools out there that can help you manage your message. Even if you don’t have anything budgeted for reputation management, there are plenty of things you can do that don’t cost a dime.   Invite your residents to review you. You know the residents who love you. You know them by name, you see them all the time, they hug you in the hallways. Why not send them an email with a link to your commun......
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How and Why To Conduct Tenant Exit Interviews

How and Why To Conduct Tenant Exit Interviews
High turnover rates are an unfortunate reality when it comes to managing student rentals. We’ve discussed this phenomenon in the past and identified that student renters are often transient. Centurion Apartments reported that, “Student housing has a turnover rate of about 50% per year, and the average student will rent their unit for one to three years.”   With such a high turnover rate in student housing, landlords should employ strategies to increase tenant satisfaction and minimize turnover. One particular technique that landlords can employ to better understand why tenants are leaving or are unsatisfied is to conduct exit interviews.   Within the industry, it’s a common practice for landlords to interview tenants before signing a lease; but on the contrary, very few property managers conduct exit interviews. Exit interviews can be a treasure trove when it comes to valuable information about tenant retention.   Once a tenant has indicated they won’t be renewing their lease, try to arrange an exit interview. It’s important to schedule this interview as promptly as possible, as there is still a small window of opportunity to encourage the tenant to reconsider and stay. In some cases, the landlord may need to provide incentive for the tenant(s) to partake in an exit interview such as a small monetary reward, gift card or reference letter. The information provided will be worth the cost of a small gift.   Once the tenant has agreed to the interview, it’s time to begin preparing. Landlords and property managers should ask a specific set of questi......
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Why Online Reviews Matter A Lot In Student Housing

Why Online Reviews Matter A Lot In Student Housing
Perhaps one of the most empowering elements of the Internet is the ability to give every single consumer a voice. Consumers now have the ability to have their voice heard by millions, with little to no effort. Ever since the introduction of Yelp in 2004, there has been an increasing importance for online reputation management in virtually every industry.It’s now common practice for consumers to seek out reviews online before ever purchasing a product or service. This holds particularly true when it comes to the apartment rental market. According to SearchEngineLand.com,apartments are the second most impacted industry by online reviews. Now more than ever, renters are seeking out online reviews when deciding where to live. Consider some of the statistics below:   92% of consumers read online reviews. 87% of consumers would not consider using a business with an average rating of 1 or 2 stars. – Search Engine Land 46% of renters look at ratings and reviews when searching for an apartment – Satisfacts 88% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations – Appfolio  Consumers are putting a lot of trust into online reviews, which is making it increasingly important for student housing providers to have an online reputation management plan in place. This is especially true when it comes to managing an online presence on Google.   More often than not, students will use Google as their primary search engine; it’s often where they’ll search for student housing information. This is important because Google shows online reviews directly in search results.   As an illu......
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‘Don’t Live Here!’ How To Handle Negative Online Reviews

‘Don’t Live Here!’ How To Handle Negative Online Reviews
There are so many things to love about the Internet and its bounty of information. And then there are negative reviews... No matter how hard you work at making residents happy, occasionally someone will post a bad review of your community on social media like Facebook or Twitter, on review sites like Yelp, or on online forums. Whether it’s the first you’ve ever received or you’ve become accustomed to online criticism, finding a negative review about your community still stings. Unfortunately, the chance of getting negative online reviews removed is close to zero. But having a process in place for reacting to negative reviews can help you keep your emotions in check and minimize any long-term damage to your community’s reputation. Take a deep breath. Before you react, take a minute to breathe. You’re human, and a negative review is bound to make you angry or upset. That’s to be expected, but it’s necessary to control your emotions and measure your response. Sleep on it if you need to, but don’t dash off an angry response. Look at the big picture. If you get one negative review in a sea of 1,000 great ones, what does it matter? It may not warrant a response at all, especially if the criticism is unfounded or minor. If the criticism is valid and could scare away prospective residents, consider damage control measures such as ads and press releases sent to local media. Engage a public relations professional to help if needed. Investigate. If a negative review mentions a spec......
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Words Have Wings

Words Have Wings
If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ve probably noticed that I refer to the Malagasy language a lot. I tend to do that because of the incredible experience I had living among the Malagasy people in Madagascar for a couple of years, and because I spent the next five years of my life studying and teaching the Malagasy language. Malagasy is incredibly simple (fortunately for me), and that simplicity somehow makes it easier to clearly present deeply profound thoughts. In fact, the Malagasy people have ancient traditions of teaching powerful messages through short and simple “ohabolana,” or parables. One of my favorite ohabolana from the Malagasy people is this one: Ny teny toy ny atody; raha foy, manan-elatra. (Words are like eggs; when hatched, they have wings.) You can discern a few different meanings from this ohabolana. For example, you might reflect about how harmful gossip or rumors can be; you might think about how words have the ability to uplift and drive good causes forward; or you might even discern a message in the ohabolana that I’ve never considered! That’s the beauty of an ohabolana; you can get from it what means the most to you. For our purposes in the multifamily industry, I want to stress the importance of knowing what is being said about your community and taking the right amount of time proactively managing your reputation. More importantly, my goal is to help companies avoid the distraction of “wild goose chases”, running after each little thing that has been said about thei......
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