Move over millennials– Generation Z is also looking to rent, and they come with a different set of tenant priorities. Here’s how you can appeal to this younger generation (without alienating older residents/potential residents).
Property managers have been focused on millennial tenants for the past several years. Of course, millennials remain a priority, but we are reaching the point where your next generation of tenants — Generation Z – are entering the renting landscape. Just as Millennials and previous generations have been, Gen Z will also be very particular about where they live and what amenities are offered to them, coming with their own specific needs and wants.
Below we’ll share some insight on how you can make your property attractive to a Gen Zer.
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If you think you’ve read all you need to know about Millennials, get ready for Generation Z and a whole new set of rules and guidelines. This group of Americans, born between 1996 and 2010, is just now beginning to come of age (the oldest are already out of high school). In fact, a good many of these 61 million people are looking to rent your apartments.
The Millennial generation had their unique preferences and tastes, but many studies on Gen Z reveal that they are very different in what they want as consumers and tenants.
Even many early-born Millennials can’t claim that they’ve never known lives without smart technology. This is what differentiates Gen Z- they cannot make this claim. They were born at the dawning of the age of digital, and they expect technology to be a large part of their living arrangements. Giving them a non-technology or low-tech option is simply not a choice.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) did some research and found several techniques that will help you more effectively rent to Gen Z:
Implement marketing strategies containing video
It may be difficult to believe, but the Gen Z attention span is even shorter than those of Millennials. It’s non-negotiable: you’re going to need a YouTube presence to graze their radar.
“[Gen Z will] never, ever use Google — always use YouTube for anything that they want,” Lisa Trosien, the founder of ApartmentExpert.com, told the NAA. “So if they’re going to look for an apartment, they’re going to find it because the apartment community has a video. It doesn’t have to be a really fancy video, because they’re used to their friends putting videos on YouTube that are very organic in nature. So they don’t care if it’s really polished or anything like that.”
It’s important to note that creating videos doesn’t have to break your budget. Gen Zers prioritize authenticity over quality. They’re looking for you to — as they would say– “keep it real.” That means no false claims, no shady offers, and no empty promises.
Offer coworking and shared-experience spaces
While activity-based amenities, such as a fitness center or a pool are attractive to Millennials and even Baby Boomers, research has shown that Gen Zers may be less impressed by such areas. Gen Z has an inclination toward more sedentary spaces where they can still get that communal feel that a gym or pool might offer. They may prefer places where they can sit still in one place and create, like coworking spaces and common areas. An example of this is a room devoted to crafting or other Etsy-like creative projects that can be pursued as a hobby or a side business. These rooms are key — Gen Z will not want to be holed up in their apartments by themselves. They’ll want to commune.
Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel told The Huffington Post, “the newly developing high-tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” The article goes on to state that Generation Z desires more independent work environments; 72% of teens say they want to start a business someday.
Nat Kunes, vice president of product at property management software company AppFolio, tells Multifamily Executive that Gen Z will be looking for a sense of community and an experience: parties, movies and other activities that build a lifestyle and a community connection.
Personalize their tenant experience
Because they have grown up with technology their entire lives, Gen Zers are used to the customization that technology can provide based on their personal wants, needs and characteristics.
“[Gen Z is] motivated by personalization,” Kunes says. “Knowing a bit about each resident before they come in will help you tailor offerings to their liking and offer them customized concessions. In the past, it was common for a leasing office to offer a set-amount off rent, or a month free for signing. Now, property managers are creating personalized offers, like free memberships at nearby fitness studios if they are into exercise, or free dog-walking services for those with pets, for example. The net-dollar spend by the property manager is about the same or maybe even less than what they were spending on those old concessions, but it makes Gen Z feel so much more attached to the community.”
Put everything but the apartment online
This means keeping up with your social media and offering an app for residents where they can make payments, submit maintenance orders, receive important property updates, etc. Other must-haves: a functioning, constantly updated website, credit/debit card processing for paying rent and the allowance for electronic signatures. In fact, The Brook Furniture Rental Blog reports that a study conducted in 2014 found that 22 percent of Millennials had never written a check; that percentage will surely increase with Gen Z .
Forbes adds that, since Gen Z has only ever lived in an “on-demand” and “digital first” world in student housing that may often be considered “luxury,” many of these renters will be used to top-notch service and cutting-edge amenities. One such recommendation is voice-activated technology that talks to phones and other smart devices. Gen Z has been acclimated to technology being a part of their everyday lives, so you’ll want to ensure you’re meeting these expectations.
Breathe easy on online reviews and ratings sites
Unlike Millennials, Gen Z will not be as concerned with what the unwashed masses think or opine. They’re not going to be placing as much emphasis on Yelp-like reviews or groupthink. Who will they listen to instead? Their friends and family.
How important is Gen Z to your property’s future bottom line? The Huffington Post reports that Gen Z will make up 25.9 percent of the population of the United States, outnumbering Millennials by one million. They’ll contribute $44 billion to the American economy, and by 2020 will account for one-third of the U.S. population.
No matter what generation you’re in, everybody requires a safe place to live. Read more about the best safety amenities you can offer tenants.
The need for safety spans generation
Of course, we realize that not every member of one generation is exactly alike. However, no matter who your tenants are, you want to make their safety your top priority. This is never a negotiable. Be sure that in addition to your Gen Z-oriented amenities, you’re also providing the most important property factor: at atmosphere of safety.
Kings III offers solutions that help you reduce risk, liability and cost and most importantly- make your tenants feel safe. Unlike a typical 911 emergency call center, Kings III operators are plugged into your property 24/7/365, where there’s never a shortage of highly trained and responsible dispatchers. Their phone equipment has a lifetime warranty saving you from unbudgeted expenses and when you’re ready to modernize, Kings III will replace your elevator emergency phones free of charge. Learn more at www.kingsiii.com.