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Four Trends from NAA

Last week, I was able to spend time in Las Vegas immersing myself in all things apartments at the National Apartment Association Conference. Here are my four big take-aways:
  1. Corporate Branding is HOT! I attended many individual marketing sessions as well as spoke with several marketing professionals from around the country – almost everyone had a similar goal: improve the corporate brand. The marketing focus is beginning to move farther up the sales channel and companies are competing for the top-of-mind position. According to Sarah Travis from Google, renters aren’t necessarily choosing the company that will show up first in their search, rather the company that the renter recognizes is getting the click (as long as they’re in the top 5).
  2. The apartment search process is CHANGING. Gone are the days of someone spending a weekend paging through the little yellow book of apartments that they picked up at a grocery store. Visiting 10 properties before making a decision is old news. How many properties is the average renter visiting? 3. Yes, three. Renters now want to spend about two hours online learning as much as they can, including virtual tours, then only visit the property when they are ready to lease.
  3. Occupancies are HIGH. Fewer people in the United States want to own homes, everyone has their own opinion on why – from the housing crisis to a change in desire to mow a lawn – regardless, nationally the vacancy rate is around 4% (NAAHQ.com), which is right on track with what we’re seeing here in Sioux Falls.
  4. digital. Digital. DIGITAL! Online marketing is taking over the apartment realm. I had the opportunity to meet with several companies that focus on marketing apartments online – companies like LeaseLabs and Apartments.com. Both are breaking ground in reaching tenants in new creative ways. They’re creating tools like polygon searches to find an apartment within walking distance to work or using GeoTargeting to only show a potential tenant ads if they’re within a certain distance of a property. Apartment marketing is only going to become even more targeted.
These were just four of the most trending ideas when it comes to apartment marketing. As our world turns even more digital, it will be exciting to watch how the sales funnel changes. I’m sure that next year these trends will only be even more intense as the industry evolves.