Student Housing Marketing Ideas That Will Make You Stand Out Amidst COVID-19
by McKenna Hogan, on Aug 6, 2020 8:30:00 AM
According to a survey conducted by The Chronicles of Higher Education, 85% of universities are still planning on conducting in-person classes this fall semester.
Not to mention, the student housing market has the unique advantage of experiencing a steady demand—even through recessions.
So, although the major effects of Coronavirus on student housing remain to be seen, these marketing ideas will ensure you stand out among competition during the pandemic.
Maximize social media marketing
Statistics have shown that since the onset of COVID-19, social media marketing has skyrocketed within industries of all kinds.
Considering social media is already a huge part of the younger generation’s daily routine, it makes sense that student housing marketers should capitalize on this opportunity.
Below are some posts that are sure to catch incoming students attention.
- Video posts
- Testimonials from previous students
- Local event updates
- Digital content
- Special features and amenities
- Posts of current student renters
- COVID-19 accommodations
Not that the need for social media in student housing marketing really needs to be justified, but keep in mind that 54% of social browsers use social media to research products, so capitalizing on this opportunity could be the difference in whether or not you meet your lease-up goals this semester.
Leverage advanced technology
Believe it or not, more than 78% of students confirmed that the availability of high-quality student housing affected their choice of college or university.
Due to the significance future students place solely on decent housing, schools as a whole should prioritize these needs and wants that directly affect their enrollment rate.
Amenities such as shared spaces and unique experiences are huge right now—especially for millennials and Gen Z.
Unfortunately, many of these extras aren’t currently available, or are limited, due to the ongoing pandemic.
However, technology has made a huge impact on the way real estate markets over the past few months, and also as a unique selling point when it’s offered as an extra product or service.
For instance, university tours have turned almost entirely digital thanks to tools such as virtual tours, 3D renderings, and drone videography. This has helped widely with marketing schools during the pandemic—but don’t count on it going anywhere post-COVID.
These tools may have been brought on because of it, but advanced technology has become extraordinarily beneficial to students who are either out of state or don’t have the time to visit multiple locations before deciding.
By keeping up with this digital transformation through marketing efforts, your property will have a leg up against competition that stuck to traditional practices.
Consider offering a concession
Despite previous assumptions, concessions for student housing really haven’t increased as drastically as suspected from 2019 until now.
With the ongoing pandemic, offering discounts as a result of sought after amenities not being available has started to become a little more common, but mostly for properties that are struggling to pre-lease.
However, this doesn’t mean considering concessions is “giving up” per say, in fact, it could be a huge selling point for your community.
Student housing can get rather expensive. And, as RealPage puts it, even if it’s lower than the amount originally hoped for, it’s better than missing out on a full year’s worth of revenue.
Whether it be discounted rent, gift cards, or other types of giveaways, marketing this tactic will be sure to stand out to student renters that may be on edge about opting for your community, or even your university.
By acknowledging the high asking price for some student housing and catering to a more desirable rental cost, you have an increased chance of forming a positive relationship with students and their families.
Not to mention, deals and promotions always look good to this younger generation of consumers.
Combine digital and out of home strategies
Although colleges across the country have closed down both from the pandemic as well as summer months, many students are still actively living on campus.
And while digital marketing is sure to catch this tech-savvy generations attention, OOH marketing such as signage and pamphlets can be a huge proponent in lead generation.
Due to the underlying assumption or lack of clarity that comes with current safety regulations installed for public spaces, having a sign outside your property stating your leasing status or whether or not you offer virtual tours can act as an easy and beneficial reminder of what you offer.
Similarly, creating pamphlets or brochures to hand out around campus at bus stops, dining halls, or local businesses can provide that extra visibility needed to stand out among competition.
Not to mention the fact that pamphlets and similar OOH marketing collateral are tangible, which makes them easy to pass around to other students who may be more inclined to rent with you.
Including content such as floor plans, high-quality photography, and amenities within a pamphlet can incite urgency as well as excitement, overall streamlining the leasing process.
Stick to what you know
The pandemic has and will most likely continue to affect the way students choose housing—but overall, they are still looking for the same qualities and benefits of a rental.
Considering the uncertainty within the market, student housing has yet to see a significant decline in vacancies, so keep up with the basics, but get creative with this new generation of students.