Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, student housing professionals came together in Dallas, Texas to attend InterFace Conference Group’s third annual LeaseCon/TurnCon, held on December 15th.
This one-day summit included discussions and networking sessions designed to educate attendees and share news of the latest and greatest in marketing, leasing and turnkey operations.
SmartRent was pleased to attend this event, where we noticed a few common themes among the discussions. Get the insights you need to succeed in the 2022-2023 academic year with this brief recap.
Technology provides instant gratification students crave
Students today have high expectations for student housing providers. Why shouldn't they? Many of them are younger than Google and don’t remember a time when an answer wasn’t a click away.
College students want to embrace smart technology and IoT devices in their next off-campus apartment, as they do in all other areas of their lives. “To meet that expectation, we have to continue to leverage technology,” says Demi Sterling-Kinney, Executive VP of Operations, Aspen Heights Partners.
In Sterling-Kinney's opinion, the best solutions consolidate mountains of data and allow you to manage your entire portfolio using one dashboard. They also help communities trim costs and operate more efficiently.
From the student's perspective, in-home technology differentiates one property from another and speaks to their need for connectivity. They can remotely adjust their thermostats, protect their belongings from leaks, and control who comes and goes from their home using their smartphone.
Given the perks in store for operators and students, it’s clear to see why smart tech in student housing communities is a huge win for everyone.
Self-guided tours exceed traditional tours
Echoing sentiments we’ve heard throughout 2021, LeaseCon/TurnCon touched on the importance of self-guided tours, especially as our industry endured the pandemic.
“Self-guided tours will enter our sector more and more,” said Lindsay Brown, VP of Leasing and Marketing at Campus Advantage. “Students want to do things on their time – it’s that Amazon demographic that wants it right here, right now.”
Nodding alongside her was Julie Bonnin, Principal and COO of Asset Living, who reported that 80% of Asset’s leasing activity is done online. What’s more, 45% of those residents never come into the leasing office to lock down a lease.
Her team has recently begun offering self-guided tours in response to this demand. Bonnin points out that self-guided tours help Asset Living get heads in beds as well as reduce labor costs, since they need fewer employees in the leasing office.
Interested in SmartRent’s self-guided touring platform? We’d be happy to tell you more during a demo.
The human touch still matters
College students may belong to what Brown calls the “Amazon generation,” but the human touch is still important. A community's online experience must align with its in-person experience. Students won't lease if these experiences don't match.
Jessica Mancuso, Director of New Development Marketing at Asset Living, says her team prioritizes the human touch by making their in-person spaces as engaging as possible. Gourmet coffee bars and Instagram-friendly areas encourage students to share their experiences on social media.
Having smart home devices installed in common areas is also a fantastic way to boost the "wow" factor from the moment the student walks in.
Speaking of social media, it’s a great avenue for displaying the authenticity of your brand. When planning your posts, keep in mind that "Gen Z is all about transparency, consistency, and humor," according to Brittany Pieper, Assistant VP of Marketing and Leasing at Capstone On-Campus Management.
Along with content that is honest and entertaining, Mancuso reminds us that "video is king" and that it should be a part of communities' social media strategies in 2022.
Get ready for the year ahead
It won't be long before the new academic year arrives and, given the topics discussed at this year's LeaseCon/TurnCon, there's much to look forward to.
A better time has never come to prepare your student portfolio with the tools you'll need to succeed next year, including smart home technology, self-guided touring options, and a human-centric marketing approach.
The good news is that SmartRent can help. In an increasingly competitive market, why wait to give your student community a leg up? Request a demo and we'll show you how smart technology can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and simplify turn.