Are You Reading Your College Student Market?

Young women taking a break on moving dayCollege students are big renters. They need the flexibility and terms rental contracts give them — and because your average college student has no clue where they will be a year from now, they are one of the markets you should be marketing to the most. As a property manager, it is important to know your target audience. Sure, you don’t want to alienate the other markets (young couples, single adults, etc.), but each marketing tactic you take should still address your target renter effectively. So how do you engage your average college attending tenant?

Think of How College Students Look for Apartments

College students are on the go, tech-savvy and in a hurry to find what they are looking for. Most college students will look for their next apartment online, which means you need an attractive advertisement, listing that shows off how you help college students, and of course, pictures. If you offer special rates for college students, use that as part of your advertisement — letting them know that you are a budget-friendly option. If you have amenities that help them save even more, such as an on-site laundryroom, fitness center, etc. that could help too.

Offer Short-Term Contracts for College Students

College students don’t know how long they can commit to one residence. They may be waiting for student housing to open up, looking for roommates or they might be transferring to another school. So if you want to attract college students, you need to offer short-term options. Yearlong rental contracts are rarely sought after by college students. If you can, try month-to-month lease options or even three or six-month lease periods so that you can accommodate those special situations.

Be Tech Savvy

College students don’t want to have to write checks to pay their rent. Offer mobile apps or online bill pay options so that they can pay their bills without having to deliver a physical check to your rental office every month. As a benefit, offer free Wi-Fi in your community center or give out Apple iTunes gift cards as tenant rewards.

Remember that college students are mostly influenced by parents and friends. So your listings need to not only speak to the student, but those who help them decide if your apartment is right for them. College students are looking for housing because they need a place to live, but also they’re looking for a sense of community. If you’re close to a college, you’re bound to have a lot of college students looking at your apartments, so make sure you tailor your units to their needs just as much as your other target renters.

May 2014