It’s official. Gen Z is finally here and they are something like never before. With wildly different expectations from previous generations, their entry into the housing market is going to be a game-changer.
After growing up in the shadow of 9/11 and the Great Recession, Generation Z (people born between 1997-2010) is known as the seen-it-all generation. Despite being a sober and realistic generation, they are incredibly optimistic about their own personal future and financial stability.
Not only are Gen Zers dominating the student housing space, but they are also quickly gaining traction as the multifamily target demographic. While they may seem young, they currently contribute $44 billion to the economy and are rapidly entering the workforce. The multifamily industry can get in on the action by staying on top of trends and leveraging consumer data that will be crucial in defining what this upcoming generation wants, needs, and values.
To help get you started, we dig our research and pulled together some top tips that will help every multifamily marketer successfully marketing apartments to Gen Z.
A Guide Marketing Apartments to Gen Z Renters
A study by Vision Critical perfectly sums up this generation. “Gen Zers have inherited the skepticism but not the pessimism of their parents. They’re a happy generation with a nose for corporate fakery.” So what does that mean? Well, if you have dozens of fake 5-star Google reviews, they will catch on.
Instead of wasting time and money on generating fake reviews, spend your time, money, and energy on creating authentic and real experiences with your residents. Even if a negative review comes in, take it in stride. Negative reviews are the perfect opportunity to show your conflict resolution, customer service, and real personality.
Compete with Luxury Student Housing
Unlike previous generations, Gen Zers had the unique experience of staying in quality, often luxury, housing during college. As they enter the housing market post-graduation, they will aim to maintain that quality of housing – whether it’s realistic or not. What was once considered a high-end feature for millennials or boomers, may be considered standard by Gen Z. This generation places a high value on smart-devices and eco-friendly living – making smart appliances and energy-efficient devices standard.
Student housing has also made this generation accustomed to community spaces and seamless interactions with neighbors. Mixed-uses spaces, community common areas, and on-site live/work spaces will appeal to this generation more than older generations.
Create Inclusive Experiences
Marketing apartments to Gen Z will challenge your current status quo. Gen Zers are the most diverse generation, so your marketing campaigns and communities should reflect inclusivity and diversity. Implement diverse campaign strategies, otherwise your marketing messages won’t be able to reach and connect with potential renters.
But don’t stop at marketing. Using diverse hiring practices and promoting inclusive communities will demonstrate your efforts in creating well-rounded rental properties.
Find Them on Social Media
Unlike previous generations, it’s unlikely that Gen Zers will go directly to your website. In fact, the majority of Gen Zers will find you through social media. As of today, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are great places to connect with this generation, they are quick to adapt to new technologies, and they may quickly shift to the newest thing. (Psst…have you heard of TikTok? You might want to look into it.)
The secret to finding them on social media is to enter the network before it becomes saturated with other marketers – just look at Facebook. If you get there first, you will be able to capture their attention and connect with them quickly.
Create Fast and Easy Interactions with Chatbots
This generation grew up with Alexa, Siri, and Google at their fingertips – so they expect instant answers to their questions. That means even a phone call or email is too slow. Implement a chatbot that provides instant answers to potential renters with the information that will need during the rental process. With instant access to information about amenities, pricing, floor plans, and the neighborhood, your renters are equipped with the information they need to move down the funnel.
As an added bonus, chatbots can also help your current residents by scheduling maintenance and providing important community updates.
Develop Personalized Incentives
While it’s long been standard practice to offer a set amount off rent or waive app & admin fees, this young generation would be more drawn to personal offers. Authorize your property managers to create personalized offers for potential renters. Free dog walking services, a discount at the local gym, or reduced bike-sharing fees are just a few examples. These can be the same value as free rent or waived fees, a win for the community, but provide a more personalized touch for the Gen Z renter.
If you haven’t been keeping Gen Zers on your radar, it’s not too late. Before investing in new amenities or expensive renovations, property owners shouldn’t just be thinking about the present – but the future as well. Gen Zers have just begun to enter the market, and we can expect their growing presence will have far-reaching impacts on everything from amenities to the community experience. You can get ahead of the pack but thinking of this up and coming generation now by implementing our tips for marketing apartments to Gen Z renters.
Siobhan Park is a Digital Marketing Specialist (and the Culture Captain) at REPLI.
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