Young people have always looked forward to that first place of their own. It’s a rite of passage, an exciting adventure, a new beginning. And, from a property manager’s perspective, it’s a big opportunity. If you haven’t already embraced the idea of renting to the newest generation that's coming-of-age, then now is the time to adjust your paradigm on the Gen Z mindset.
The nutshell: Invest in technology and communication channels that connect since this age group has never experienced life without technology.
Here are a few tips from the pros for making Generation Z feel welcome:
Most people, and especially Gen Z, are conditioned to use their mobile devices. Empowering them by providing access to every detail - from discovery to maintenance service to paying rent - of their experience with your community is a huge advantage. Ease of design is key. Keep it simple and thorough. And, above all, make sure you are set up for mobile.
Tip: Your ‘app’ is important, but establishing visibility and reputation everywhere (your website, reviews, search, etc.) is a must. That’s where you need to be.
People often refer to younger generations as ‘entitled.’ Well, that’s descriptive if not entirely accurate. What they expect is an efficient service that feels like its catered to them. Who doesn’t want that? Make it easy for them to connect with you.
Hint: Do not use tech tools that try to funnel them into calling on the phone! They will abandon that channel in droves.
The entire concept of mobility in the world has changed. How can rental communities adapt? Embrace it. Free, dependable, and powerful communication and transportation options will attract young people who have a preference for either a) having their stuff delivered, or b) being close to the things they want.
Hint: Think about the design and layout of buildings and parking, and do what you can to assist in making mass and personal transit choices feasible.
It’s more than a collection. The ‘social’ aspect of our society is a little less ‘face-to-face’ and a lot more network-oriented. Think of the virtual community you serve. That means there are even non-residents that might benefit from decisions you make and processes you implement. It’s a powerful way to showcase your community!
Hint: Consider ‘traditional amenities’ like pools, clubhouse, tennis courts… do they really pay off? How about an espresso/snack area? Or perhaps easy access to convenience items? Times have changed.
Kids are more particular these days, but consider the fine line between good and great. Fancy facades are less important than commitment to substance. Clean, maintained, and convenient will win, and if it keeps your costs and their rents reasonable? Win-Win!
Hint: Consider how easy it is for people to share residences in your community. And make it more so. If you can come up with designs for smaller, more affordable single spaces, go for it!
Sustainability Pays Off
Gen Z is aware of their impact on the environment and world. They embrace diversity and social consciousness. Make sustainability part of your community plan. It’s not only economically intelligent, it proves a true commitment to the values your community shares.
Hint: Adapt to the environment. If your community is in an arid region, for example, use sustainable landscaping concepts and native plants for more natural surroundings.
The recurring theme here is technology. The key is using tech in a meaningful way to reach your community! Don’t approach it as an expense...consider it an investment. Generation Z will definitely notice.
Forbes Community Voice Seven Tips For Welcoming Generation Z To The Rental Market