What CRE Owners Must Consider To Acquire And Retain Occupants

Real Estate


Retention is key to property owners. It’s simple mathematics: It costs a property owner more money and resources to acquire a new resident or tenant than it does to keep one for an extended period. The occupant must be viewed as a customer, one whose needs should be examined and satisfied to the best of the property owner’s ability. Landlords have begun to realize that understanding who the occupant is at your property, and providing them with what they want and need, is now a business imperative.

For instance, many of the newer apartment complexes in regions of the U.S. are fairly similar in the amenities they offer, the size of the unit and the quality of construction. Property owners know this and have begun to ask themselves the question, “In order to keep people from moving down the street for a reduction in rent, what can I do to retain my resident?”

A key driver in tenant retention is to help renters feel that they are part of a community, and that starts with the building in which they reside. It is meaningful to the resident and to the landlord that the renter positively experience their community, that they feel they are making a contribution to it and that it is suited to their lifestyle.

Being able to understand what occupants are doing at a property and what their preferences are is paramount to being able to engage them in the most positive and preferred community experiences.

Commercial real estate companies of all sizes have begun to embrace data collection as they understand the value in making educated choices based on what residents and tenants do and want. CRE is beginning to take on the approach of big brands: Big brands use data collection to find out all they can to understand their customers and they do what is needed to acquire and keep them.

CRE technology has historically been built to help in occupant acquisition, that is, getting potential residents and tenants in the door, showing them a unit and trying to close the deal. Until recently, there has been little focus and commitment to developing tech that ensures that once occupants are in the door, information, events and experiences are considered and offered that will keep them happy and engaged. Big consumer brands work hard to keep customers engaged, loyal and coming back — and CRE operators have learned a lesson from their playbooks.

Today, software and utilization of technology can allow property owners to drive experience like, for instance, Disney does. Disney garners data from its customers with their every choice — where they eat, where they stay and how many times they go on a particular ride. From this information, Disney builds a profile that can predict what additional experiences would be of interest and what other options they can offer to you to create a happy, loyal and repeat customer. CRE tech can offer the same kind of insight and experiences based on the preferential data received from residents and tenants. (Full disclosure: Our company is one provider, among others, of this type of technology.)

It is also important for property owners to consider what they are doing at a property and if they are they doing it correctly in order for the property resident to feel engaged. Does a resident go to wine tasting events regularly? Do they own a dog and visit the park? This kind of information can help property owners decide on their budgets utilizing real data. When it is time to invest in a wine list for an upgraded tenant experience or an expanded onsite dog park, a property owner can make an informed decision by collecting and analyzing these preferences.

Customer insights create a framework for repeatable and successful improvement that generates the insight landlords need to better define the occupant experience. The ability to aggregate tenant information has reduced risk exposure because property owners no longer need to rely on “gut feeling” or intuition when it comes to important capital investment decisions. With a holistic view of occupants and their relationships with their community, owners can improve their marketing effectiveness with a thorough understanding of occupant personas and life cycle, which results in resident and tenant retention and provides a deep understanding of who a building’s occupants are. This insight helps owners offer occupants what they want, helping them feel like they belong in and are up to date on their community.

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