While the warmer months are typically packed with moving trucks and new renters, the doldrums of winter can be especially challenging for building managers. Because of the perception that winter is the most difficult time of the year to move, apartment managers must strive to keep current residents satisfied and to provide the amenities that will bring in new applications to fill any vacancies and keep their building from ending up on the wrong side of the market trend.
Although offering rent discounts and promotions can increase interest, as a building manager you must find other ways to limit the impact of the slowest time of the year for new rental leases. By successfully promoting a building’s features and amenities, a multifamily building can be seen as more of a community than a disparate collection of units. Successfully highlighting the upside of a building can encourage residents to stay through the winter but also attract new renters by showing them what they’re missing.
Bringing residents together and creating that sense of community requires understanding what renters are looking for in a living experience. In addition to showcasing a modern-looking living environment, successful community managers weave together events and helpful services that can connect a diverse population.
With assistance from well-placed digital screens, today’s building managers can keep residents up to date on what’s going on so they’ll fully appreciate what a building has to offer. Often, all you need to improve winter leasing is to know how to successfully promote features you already have in place.
Why Renters Often Avoid Signing Leases in the Winter
Many renters simply don’t want the hassle of having to move in colder weather conditions, but there is more to the story. Lease signings tend to drop no matter the region, with dips even being seen where weather is much less of a factor.
In addition to the potential for frigid temperatures or inconvenient weather, there are other practicalities in play when the calendar turns to a new year. Fresh off holiday expenses, it can be difficult for renters to secure a down payment and make plans to start a new lease. Even if a renter is planning on moving to a less expensive apartment, the move can still shake up finances right after what tends to be the most expensive time of the year.
Another consideration is the limited time off from work that many renters have following the holiday season. After additional time off in December, many are simply inundated at work in January and February, making it difficult to plan the logistics of a move. In many situations, taking time away from work in January—outside of an emergency—is virtually impossible.
It can also be especially difficult for families with young children to move in the winter and during the holiday season, which is another reason May through September tends to be the peak of the cycle. Such families typically like to move when there is a school break to ease the transition, contributing to the drop in overall rental demand.
Helping Residents Appreciate What They Have with Digital Signage
Multifamily building managers have two important tasks in the winter: seeking quality rental applicants and keeping existing residents happy so they don’t go elsewhere. When it comes to the latter, you must still be cognizant of residents looking to take advantage of winter deals in a new location.
Although many renters prefer not to move in the winter, opportunistic residents might find it the ideal time because of less demand, less competition and potentially, better lease rates. Either way, you’ll want to keep occupancy rates high. Here are tips that can help maintain current residents and attract new ones through the winter:
Digital Signage That Reflects the Modern Environment
The modern-day resident is inundated with information, much of it useless or not relevant to their lives. To counter this, building operators have an opportunity to utilize curated digital content to promote information that is meaningful to residents.
Whether it’s critical weather and travel updates, stock updates, or an entertainment story that can spark a conversation, digital signage in the common areas of a residence can be an essential tool for a positive community experience, making the building modern and connected.
Energy-efficient screens can also help complete the modern look of today’s upscale multifamily buildings. Sleek, large-format digital displays featuring premier content offer both visual appeal and applicable information, helping residents stay current while seamlessly enhancing the overall aesthetic.
With the right digital content solution, outfitting a building’s digital screens is simply a matter of partnering with a digital proptech solution that offers curated, value-rich content that engages the viewers of a given location. With minimal effort on the part of a building manager, these digital screens can showcase a wide range of relevant information, keeping busy residents informed even as they’re waiting in an elevator or lingering in the lobby.
Additionally, a digital communication solution that allows you to add your own building messages helps promote all your other building efforts, like the ones below.
Planning Your Building’s Seasonal Events
As winter takes over or trods on, residents typically wish to remain in regular social contact but might not want to venture out into the blustery weather too often. To showcase your building’s commitment to improving resident lifestyles in the winter, it’s an excellent idea to fill the calendar with fun and creative (or simply helpful) events that won’t require a resident to leave the building. A wine-tasting or movie night with fellow residents might be the perfect way to wrap up a stressful week – especially if it doesn’t require putting on winter attire and hailing an Uber.
On the flip side, buildings that don’t offer many exciting winter events could be at the mercy of those that do. By helping to forge lasting relationships and improving the events calendar in winter, residents will be more likely to join the party than look for a new place.
Get Creative and Go Beyond the Basics
Your winter events schedule is an opportunity to show that you understand the lives of the residents. Some basics, like game nights and book clubs, are perfectly fine, although expanding the palette can help encourage even the more difficult-to-reach residents to come out and join the fun. Hot chocolate bars, crafting seminars, and poker tournaments are other types of events that can inspire camaraderie among residents.
Going even further, events like crockpot dinners can be an excellent icebreaker and a way for residents to show off their culinary skills. Anything that can get residents to forget their phones and talk to other residents can be a positive way to build community and improve satisfaction throughout the winter months. It can also be helpful to encourage residents to bring in nonresidents for key events, as this can provide an organic way to showcase the community to someone who might one day be a rental applicant.
Use Your Digital Screens to Pass Along Event Information
Appropriately placed digital signage can be the glue that holds it all together. While it’s great to have shuttle services and community events like wine tastings and game nights, they have diminished value if your residents are left in the dark about the details.
High-impact digital screens in elevators, hallways, and other common areas can point out new events and remind residents of ones they already planned to attend. It will also give them something to talk about on their elevator ride or while they’re waiting for their laundry cycle to complete, creating opportunities for interaction and community building. Ultimately, getting the word out will be the key to making your building events thrive.
Going beyond digital messaging, today’s screens can provide an interactive experience as well. A QR code can help an interested resident register for an event right there on the spot, significantly increasing the chances of them following through and attending. By building community and effectively communicating with the residents, a building operator can take proactive steps to ensure residents are satisfied and stay in their current units for the long term.
Highlight Ways the Building is Energy Efficient
The modern resident wants to see that their building is run by professionals who are anticipating the trends of tomorrow. To that end, residents expect their buildings to be as efficient as possible. What steps are you taking to improve this area? Are there any scheduled upgrades worth promoting to your residents?
Once again, as a community manager, you are directly competing with other buildings that are moving towards energy efficiency. Higher-quality laundry machines, more efficient lighting systems, improved heating systems, and increased EV charging are just some of the steps that many residences are already taking. While residents don’t expect buildings to transform overnight, they do want to see that progress is on the horizon.
Attracting New Residents with Winter-Friendly Features
Even though there are fewer renters out there in the winter, there are still plenty of opportunities for multifamily building managers. If a prominent downside of moving in winter is icy conditions and dealing with the cold, any services or features that improve winter life will be very attractive.
Once again, this is where digital screens can make the difference. If your building offers a shuttle service to the nearest subway station, having the schedule promoted on a highly visible digital screen can give a positive glimpse of everyday life. A new resident might have to battle the cold to start a new lease at your building, but they might be willing to do that if they know they can rely on a shuttle service once they’re moved in.
That said, promoting any onsite features is also critical for attracting new residents. If your building has a gym, residents will be happy that they can get their workout in without heading out into inconvenient weather. Showcase this on your digital screen, and make sure the gym is as modernized and welcoming as possible to differentiate your building when it comes to attracting new applicants.
Gaining a Leasing Edge By Understanding the Modern Resident
Today’s on-the-go professional looks to their residence as more than just a building where they live. Helping residents form connections and showcasing a sense of community can pay dividends for building managers trying to make it through the challenges of the winter leasing season. And even though renters may prefer to sign new leases when the weather is warmer, the savvy building manager is always looking for ways to pique the interest of prospective residents considering a location change.
While having impressive winter-friendly amenities is always a plus, building owners can transform any common area with digital screens featuring entertaining, informative, up-to-date content they value. By regularly absorbing content that is relevant to their daily lives, residents can see a building’s digital infrastructure as a critical feature of the residence.
During the doldrums of winter, seemingly small features like a timely weather update or an invite to a community event can make a meaningful impact on a resident or applicant. When a manager is trying to find a spark in the slowest leasing time of the year, any attempt to illuminate a modern, resident-friendly atmosphere can be well worth the effort.
With a network that provides relevant and meaningful content for residents and professionals, Captivate can help transform common spaces with minimal effort. For more on what Captivate’s curated digital content can do for your multifamily building, schedule a demo today.
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