After two years of rapid change and uncertainty, residents are paying attention now more than ever to the care and trustworthiness of management companies, according to a recent report from J Turner Research.
The report was delivered on Tuesday during the session “Marketing Matters – How Good Behavior is Rewarded in the Market” at the Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Joseph Batdorf, President at J Turner Research; and Chelsea Kneeland, Director of Research & Development at J Turner Research, discussed the results of the survey “Internet Adventure Study III,” which included responses from 2,257 residents nationwide. That group was represented by 64 percent females and 33 percent males; overall, their average age was 40.32 years old.
Most telling, from the report, is that when asked, “What’s most important to you when selecting an apartment to rent?” Fifty-five percent of renters said, “The apartment staff cares about me.”
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They Read All the Reviews
All reviews are read by 64 percent of renters who are searching, with 5-star and 1-star being most viewed at 14% and 13%, respectively.
The age of the review posting can play an important role, however the survey showed that 64 percent of residents deem a review that was dated 2 years ago or longer is irrelevant.
The survey showed that if a community had low ratings overall, but had been showing improvement in more recent review posts, 78% of renters said they would “somewhat likely to very likely” consider the property.
ORA score A Decisive Factor
Renters preferred checking reviews from at least two different review sites to validate authenticity instead of relying on one site for an accurate depiction.
J Turner Research calculates an Online Reputation Assessment (ORA™) score for communities. The ORA™ statistical model aggregates and analyzes online ratings and reviews of over 122,000 properties across multiple review sites and ILSs to generate a single score on a 0-100 scale.
When renters were presented the choice between two properties with a 10-point variance in the ORA score, they chose the higher-rated community 65 percent of the time. If both choices’ ORA score was below the national average, they chose neither.
Response Should Come Within 72 Hours
Renters posting negative reviews on a site said they are willing to wait up to 72 hours for a lengthy response that provides a solution rather than a quick response of acknowledgement of receiving the review.
Twenty percent of renters begin looking for an apartment when about three months is left on their lease. However, the percentage who begin looking a year or more early is 15%, meaning “apartment communities more than ever have to start working on their reputation management skills about as soon as the renter moves in,” Batdorf said.