A primary goal for any building owner or manager today is to create a positive atmosphere that organically yields qualified new applicants and lease renewals. While cleanliness and proper maintenance are critical, exceptional communication can be a significant incentive for residents to renew leases and help grow a multifamily building’s reputation.
Going beyond email and text updates, modern digital displays can transform a residential building into a contemporary, interconnected community, providing real-time information and engaging content that is invaluable for residents. Instead of merely fulfilling landlord obligations, the proper signage can go further to showcase the advantages of both the building and the surrounding neighborhood while also keeping residents informed and entertained.
Connecting residents with property events and exciting new amenities can reconstruct a building into much more than a collection of apartments. In turn, residents who feel like part of a larger community are more likely to form a connection with community managers and each other and stay longer.
By balancing necessary updates with modern technology and relevant information, building owners, community managers, and landlords can help create a constructive, modern environment that consistently retains existing residents and brings in new ones.
Taking Advantage of Digital Trends in a Multifamily Building
While basic functional communication is the lifeblood of any messaging system, there are additional ways to make a positive impact on residents. Although nearly everyone is aware of the ongoing digital transformation, property managers in particular need to account for the shifting landscape to keep up with the competition and make their properties somewhere people love to live.
Easy-to-update digital signage provides a customizable and dynamic line of communication that landlords can use to engage residents and make them feel both connected and informed.
Just as importantly, residents are already used to the omnipresence of digital signage in other buildings they frequent. In fact, they are accustomed to news and entertainment showing up in a myriad of trendy locations, making their home turf a natural place for such customized content.
Considering that even every-day retail locations, luxury hotels, and other locations squeeze in news and entertainment while customers go about their visits, property owners have plenty of incentive to take advantage of the trend and modernize their real estate with cutting edge technology that creates a positive impression of what their building offers. It also offers them the opportunity to use the technology to efficiently communicate essential property messages, such as facility maintenance notifications, rent due reminders, social invites, and urgent alerts.
Beyond the Basics: Enhancing a Resident’s Experience
Since a building’s location and other external elements are often determining factors in a resident’s choice of a place to live, helping them connect with their surroundings can improve resident morale and highlight a building’s value.
For example, local news and weather updates are well suited for digital screens. In many locations, real-time transportation information is extremely valuable, such as nearby subway schedules. Providing relevant data in easy-to-access places shows that a building owner, community manager, or landlord is in tune with each resident’s daily life.
With the right system in place, building managers can easily provide a wealth of other valuable information to residents as well, such as:
- Interesting and engaging uplift stories
- Neighborhood information like local library or park hours
- Local business events and opening announcements
- Building events
- Local or national news, sports highlights, and entertainment segments
As digital footprints continue to grow, the need for real-world social connections remains high. Community managers can facilitate this by showcasing upcoming local events on the digital screens strategically placed around a building. These events can then be a conversation starter among residents, opening the door to a more welcoming atmosphere.
Digital signage can also be used to promote planned building events. Instead of relying solely on emails, paper signs, or word-of-mouth for these types of announcements, digital screens can reinforce a messaging strategy and drive engagement, even adding convenient QR codes for more event information and RSVPs. Buildings that have successful functions (e.g., cookouts and movie nights) tend to have lower levels of turnover.
Turning Satisfied Residents into Future Revenue
Residents with a positive outlook on their living circumstances can drive revenue in many ways. With residents who trust the communication system in place, property managers spend less time handling questions and can focus on the other pressing tasks that go into managing a building. As staff focuses more on regular building maintenance, improvement, and troubleshooting, the ability to provide positive resident experiences only increases thanks to a foundation of strong communication.
Beyond being a boon to efficiency, next-level communication that yields satisfied residents can even lead to significant new revenue opportunities. Similar to the methodology of the hospitality industry, rental properties function best when they mold personal experiences instead of transactional ones.
Recommendations from satisfied residents to prospective residents can lead to drops in vacancies and units filled with new tenants already familiar with the building. In an era when reviews of a building can instantly be sent all over the internet, crafting a positive reputation is now just as important for a multifamily building as it is for a restaurant.
A visible digital messaging platform is something that can be easily experienced by prospective residents the moment they walk into the building and as they move around the building. Modernized digital signage can highlight the type of real-time messaging a future resident can expect, helping set expectations and ultimately encouraging potential applicants to begin the process.
Using Essential Information as a Path to Other Messaging
Digital displays are designed to balance the novel and the practical, which is why many community managers use digital content to fortify their messaging systems. More than the fundamental value of real-time critical updates, digital screens can encourage residents to seek additional information (e.g., community announcements). Some of the basic proactive messaging well-suited to centrally controlled digital displays include:
- Maintenance issues
- Key dates
- Local events that will impact the building
- Basic systemic changes residents need to be aware of
- Safety and security alerts
Unsurprisingly, residents are keenly interested in knowing about any maintenance issues that might affect them. It’s vital for building owners, community managers, and landlords to be able to acknowledge problems and provide a repair timetable as soon as possible; without proactive communication regarding a maintenance issue, property managers will inevitably deal with a mountain of resident inquiries.
Though any maintenance problem can be frustrating for a resident, it’s also an opportunity for a community manager to showcase professionalism by getting ahead of the problem.
The omnipresence of digital signage in well-trafficked areas can also do what texting and emailing can’t do on their own. While property managers should pass along planned maintenance information to residents well beforehand, emails and texts can easily be ignored or forgotten by the time the date arrives.
Aptly placed digital messaging, however, can provide important reminders to residents in real time, long after they have read and discarded the original message from their inbox. Utilizing the upside of digital messaging can help keep even the busiest of residents up to date while avoiding unnecessary frustration. Instead of the type of digital spam pushed aside on phones and computers, digital screens within a residential building can be viewed as customized outlets that residents will not want to ignore.
Maintaining Revenue and Confronting Tenant Turnover by Building a Positive Reputation
The total cost of high tenant turnover goes well beyond the loss of rent, with other costs including maintenance/cleaning, advertising, real-state expenditures, HOA fees, and the potential for creating additional tenant turnover. But even though a landlord needs to be wary of the full costs of turnover, a strong reputation based on satisfied residents can largely mitigate the negatives.
While experts have encouraged landlords to utilize tech to improve communication and enhance resident satisfaction, digital screens are a way to go well beyond the scope of email, text, and social media updates.
Rather than just a collection of units and hallways, modern multifamily buildings also reflect the property in ways that weren’t possible in prior eras. With an easy-to-operate signage network in place, property managers can not only quickly create and post their own property messages, but they can also rely on the digital media provider to curate relevant, meaningful content geared specifically toward their residents. This means that news, sports, and entertainment content are selected after careful research of what multifamily residents are most likely to engage with and appreciate.
Like the hip coffee house down the street, it’s the atmosphere that creates return customers while organically attracting new ones. Digital signage is one of the best and most cost-effective ways a building owner or community manager can forge a connection, demonstrating attentiveness and diminishing the void typical in landlord-resident relationships.
The negative snowball effect associated with high turnover can also cut the other direction when that connection is successfully cultivated. While moving tenants in and out is inherently disruptive, stable environments encourage residents to consider a building more of a home than a rental. As that reputation is established, bringing in new residents (and revenue streams) while maintaining older ones only becomes easier. Of course, many factors are outside a community manager’s control, but effective communication and relevant, engaging content that fits the digital age can establish positive relationships that can increase a building’s entire financial outlook.
Embrace New Opportunities in Digital Messaging
Tenant expectations have changed as much as the way we communicate. While completely anonymous landlords used to be the standard, many residents now see a building’s community manager and its atmosphere as an extension of the owner. With versatile digital networks that provide essential messaging, meaningful content, and build camaraderie, a property owner can help create an engaging, modern environment that will allow residents to flourish. With a centrally controlled network connecting an entire building, or even multiple rental properties, Captivate is the ideal tool for property owners to transform the way they communicate with residents, increasing resident satisfaction and driving revenue. Contact Captivate see how customizable digital signage can provide a much-needed upgrade to rental buildings of any size.
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