Much of this article comes from PropertyWare’s, a RealPage company, website, propertyware.com. This specific article was published on their blog a few years ago. Click here to go directly to it on their website.
Though time-consuming, finding tenants for your property is one of the most consequential items on your must-do list. You need to prioritize the key selling points that differentiate your property from others in your area – regardless of whether it’s Class A, B, C+, etc. (You never know what properties your potentials will look at on a whim.) With all of that solidly defined – and crafted into a cohesive message — you can find true quality leads and deliver a positive living experience to keep your tenants and reduce turnover.
According to Invesp’s Khalid Saleh in an article entitled, “Customer Acquisition Versus Retention Costs,” attracting a new customer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. He goes on to report that research shows that 44% of companies focus more on customer acquisition while only 18% focus on retention. (This is true in so many industries where customer retention is crucial; one example: subscriptions, both print and digital, live and die by their renewal rates.) Think about that. And think about where your property is investing its money.
It should go without saying (but we’ll say it here anyway), almost anything you do to satisfy your current residents will also attract those like them to come to rent/buy at your community.
Here are the 5 Tips from the article referenced above. We’ve added correlating tips to incorporate your fitness amenities. (We’re reprinting the tips exactly as they appeared in the original article.)
The following 5 tips aim to strengthen renter retention.
1. Create a connected community
There is a reason that social media has grown so rapidly and consistently. People wish to feel connected to their community. The information you share on your website, blog, social media channels and through your online tenant portal creates that sense of connection to the community. In “Creative Ways to Retain Renters,” Property Management Insider discusses the importance of forging connections with local businesses for offers. This push to connect individuals within a community can be valuable for both the tenant, the owner, and the community as a whole.
Wellbeats, Reflect, Peloton, Touch, and the Mirror offer virtual content, including a live or on-demand recorded trainer content. All of 2020 through today everyone around the country (the world even) discovered online fitness content. Yes, it was around before covid (think Peloton nation). But it was consumed by record-breaking numbers of people including many who never set foot in a gym or fitness center. If you do not have a fitness center at your property, virtual programming is your solution. All you need is at minimum one smart TV with as much or as little space as you can manage and a subscription – paid or free – and an announcement to your residents about your new fitness offering and BOOM – you now have a fitness amenity. Just like that.
Check out this list of the Top 5 Areas of Virtual Fitness with the top platforms offering that type of content. Click here. Share them with your residents so they can do them at home or organize a small groups in your fitness center – or any open area with online access – until you find an even better solution.
There’s so much available in this unique but wide area of fitness that we’ve added another article (below) with details on one real game-changer and a special offer on virtual fitness programing you can give to all of your residents for free – at a discounted price.
2. Establish strong communication with tenants
Poor communication leads renters to have a lackluster customer experience. Open communication and a place to voice concerns immediately make you stand out from your competitors, creating stronger renter retention. In a Propertyware blog, “8 Ways to Retain Your Best Tenants,” we suggest simple gestures that include a move-in welcome letter, a birthday gift basket, and even a reward system for tenants who consistently make online rental payments on time.
It’s easy to add to any or all of your communication tools a note about your fitness center. New equipment, visiting trainers, nutritionists, Yoga & Yogurt Tuesdays, etc. Some equipment lets you “game-ify” workouts and tracks a leader board showing scores. Share those results in your newsletter or portal and you just may see a few more visitors to your fitness center.
3. Stay on top of maintenance
Routine maintenance is important both for keeping your tenants happy and for maintaining your property. Monthly check-ins with your tenants allow you to stay on top of essential repairs that improve each tenant’s quality of life and function as preventative measures that ensure the longevity of your property’s amenities, which reduces large repair costs in the future*. Even simple maintenance such as s changing air filters and light bulbs and cleaning rain gutters can go a long way toward keeping your tenants happy and ensuring you’re doing all you can for your property. Being proactive creates trust between you and your tenants. That trust will translate to higher retention rates and excellent word-of-mouth sponsorship.
*All those same benefits accrue to your fitness center when you get regular, professional maintenance done on all of your equipment too. And, though not mentioned in the article referenced here, there are safety issues all over your property. Safety has to be priority one in all areas of the community Find a professional maintenance company who carries enough insurance to be a buffer between injury claims and your property.
4. Cover all of the rules
A list of all of the rules of the rental property can be included in the move-in packet. Reviewing this list with new tenants is a great way to both educate the new tenant and establish an early connection. Besides rules and information about maintenance processes, new tenants need helpful information about local services such as trash, electric and internet providers, depending of course on which services are not provided in the rental agreement. Show you care by giving detailed and thorough information on these subjects. Additionally, give the tenant a reliable way to contact you, which will reassure them that you take their concerns seriously and want them to have an easy transition moving into your property.
For safety and liability issues, you must post the rules of your fitness center. Be very specific about age restrictions, proper use of the equipment, how to report a problem with any piece of equipment. And signage is a must. If a machine is malfunctioning and possibly dangerous, you need to take it out of service, disable by unplugging or otherwise making it inoperable with a sign as soon as a problem is reported. When a machine is still operable, but some functionality is limited post a sign about the limiting factor. Example: Treadmill will only incline to 6 degrees – Someone may not get the full workout they want but a notice to that effect is all that’s need. However, a treadmill that is stopping and starting suddenly is dangerous. Take it out of service and post a sign that your service/maintenance company has been contacted. Best Practice: When you have a service date, add that to your sign and in any other communications with your residents. Any time you have an update as to when a final repair will be completed, update the residents again.
5. Provide online access
If you haven’t moved your rental property management systems and processes online, you’re behind the curve. Consumers demand access to information on their terms. Making it easy for tenants to pay online 24/7, sign lease and renewal agreements and request and use a maintenance app to provide a level of service that is not simply desired but expected.
The day will come when your residents will be able to use an app, or your portal to reserve a treadmill for the exact time they want to go for their 60 minute run. Or the same for any other piece of equipment. And that day is coming sooner rather than later. Heartline, for one, is working with AmenityLinc to do just that. As well as have a QR code scan to drive maintenance requests by residents (the requests go to your staff to approve and send along to our service team). And a lot more.
Retention is based on providing excellent customer service to your tenants. Happy tenants rent for the long term. Implementing these key elements will increase your renter retention rates, keep your owners happy and grow your rental property management business.
Your fitness amenities can play a large role in boosting renter retention as much as any other part of your property. So, leverage them the right way!
In our January 2022 issue – How to Sell Your Fitness Amenities During Your Prospect Tours. In-person or Virtual. Lots of nitty gritty tips and examples.