The Millennial Generation, otherwise known as Generation Y, is made up of those between the ages of 25-34. This group is known for having strong preferences and opinions, plenty of ambition, and a ‘sky’s the limit’ mentality when it comes to their abilities. They are very tech-savvy, impatient at times, and are always ‘connected’ via their smartphones or tablets.
These days, millennials are more flexible than ever, seeking out careers across the country or even internationally. Partially due to the sluggish (but improving) economy, young people feel the need to take any good professional opportunity they can, even if it means packing up and moving away from their families. Because of this, millennials are choosing to rent apartments more than ever. It’s important that this group is able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice, so renting is more practical for this stage in their lives.
Making Your Community Millennial-Friendly
As a property manager, it is great news for you to know that there’s an entire generation that is actively seeking out a place to rent. Millennials are a unique group, though, so there are a few things you should know in order to appeal to them. They are dubbed the “Generation of Choice” because of their unrelenting demand for choice in all aspects of their lives. Here are the Four “C’s” that explain this Generation of Choice:
(Ad) Choice – You should advertise your community where this generation spends a lot of their time – on their smartphones and on social media. Social and mobile are both ideal resources for showcasing your community’s advertisement and what it has to offer Millennials. It’s to your advantage to seek out ways to target this highly visual demographic, rather than wait for them to look for you. Luckily, with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to advertise your community directly to this demographic across the mediums that they prefer. Print is also a great resource to add to your advertising strategy – it provides this choice generation yet another search tool for finding their ideal apartment.
Charming Ads – Similar to this generation’s preference for specific ad types, they are also looking for ads that capture their attention with aesthetically pleasing graphics and engaging features. Seek out ways to make your ads more interactive – perhaps incorporate augmented reality using an app like Layar, so users will be able to scan the ad with their smartphone or tablet to learn more about your community.
Connection – Millennials like to stay connected. In fact, they want more dialogue – 76% are looking for a two-way conversation with brands (American Millennials: The Choice Generation, DRAFTFCB). Engage with them and be responsive to their wants and needs, which will forge a positive relationship between you both. Keep in touch with this group through mediums they prefer, such as mobile. Consider communicating with millennial renters using a text message program, which allows you to send news, promotions, and other community messages directly to their smartphones. This group also relies heavily on word-of-mouth, and over 75% of the next generation of renters base their decisions on ratings and reviews. Ensure that your community has a reputation management program in place, which will allow you to listen to what people are saying about your community. This is a great way to learn more about renters’ perceptions of your community and gain knowledge that will help you further appeal to them.
Consumer Control – Millennials are a savvy group. They know what they want, and they expect brands to take that into consideration. Brands are not really calling the shots; it’s the millennials who have dictated how things should work. For example, as an apartment community, this could mean that you offer an online rent payment option because your residents demand convenience. It is widely accepted that consumers dictate the terms of a relationship, and brands are taking consumer preferences seriously in order to appeal to them. Crowdsourcing is a popular trend that many brands are utilizing to incorporate the ideas and influence of consumers into the development of products and solutions that will meet their needs.
Working with millennials may be a change of pace for you as a property manager, but it’s more important than ever to stay in tune with the preferences of this next generation of renters. By tuning in to their preferences and desires, you will learn a great deal about this generation of choice and find ways to incorporate new ideas into all aspects of your community – from marketing and advertising to resident engagement and retention. Millennials are out there looking for their ideal apartment, so there’s an opportunity for you to reach out and appeal to them.