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Is Your Online Reputation Costing You Student Renters?

Industry Insights

Reclaim your online reputation and drive better reviews with
real-time inspections for Student Housing…

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One of the most significant effects of social media on businesses has been the rise of our digital review culture. Think about it: When was the last time you bought tickets to a movie without first checking its Rotten Tomatoes score? Or dined at a restaurant without first confirming that it has an acceptable Yelp rating? I’d wager that those instances when you took a chance and skipped the online reviews were few and far between.

It’s not just movies and restaurants that are subject to the influence of online reviews, though. You’d practically be considered reckless if you didn’t carefully read through the online reviews of a product before purchasing it. And forget making hotel reservations without first consulting TripAdvisor.

How online reviews affect Student Housing Operations

Student Housing

Studies confirm that online reviews greatly influence buying decisions. A 2016 Pew report, for example, shows that half of adults under 50 routinely check reviews before buying items. And they put stock in these reviews, too: 90% of respondents to a Dimensional Research survey reported that positive online reviews influenced their buying decision. (The percentage of respondents influenced by negative reviews was similarly high at 86%.)

If consumers are unlikely to buy a pack of pens without first checking its review score, how apt are renters to ignore online reviews of Multifamily properties before deciding where to live? A new study from NMHC confirms that review sites played a role in more than three quarters of renters’ current leasing decisions. In fact, renters find online ratings even more important, on average, than referrals from friends or family, according to a 2014 Kingsley Associates study.

Student Living

Online reviews affect every kind of property, but they are particularly relevant to student housing for a few reasons. First of all, today’s college students are the digital natives of Generation Z, and that means they use and trust online reviews more than any other demographic. But the unique issues of operating off-campus student housing also conspire to make online reputation management particularly difficult in this sector.


Online reviews affect every kind of property, but they are particularly relevant to student housing for a few reasons. First of all, today’s college students are the digital natives of Generation Z, and that means they use and trust online reviews more than any other demographic. But the unique issues of operating off-campus student housing also conspire to make online reputation management particularly difficult in this sector.


Student Living

Damage

It’s no secret that college students, on average, tend to cause more damage than older residents. And if this damage isn’t properly attended to between tenants, today’s students have no qualms taking their concerns to their online review site of choice. Student Housing Operations also experience a unique turn season — everyone moves in and out at the same time. This makes creating damage estimates and returning security deposits in a timely manner a major headache — and student residents, again, are likely to voice their frustrations about delays through the online review megaphone.

Damage



It’s no secret that college students, on average, tend to cause more damage than older residents. And if this damage isn’t properly attended to between tenants, today’s students have no qualms taking their concerns to their online review site of choice. Student Housing Operations also experience a unique turn season — everyone moves in and out at the same time. This makes creating damage estimates and returning security deposits in a timely manner a major headache — and student residents, again, are likely to voice their frustrations about delays through the online review megaphone.

Inspection processes may be the culprit

Improving the quality and efficiency of inspections can measurably reduce these reputation-damaging complaints. Take the issue of heavy wear and tear: Focusing on accurate and thorough inspections can help managers identify (and fix) damage in between tenants, providing a higher quality living experience and, in turn, better online reviews. And getting through inspections at the end of the school year more quickly enables managers to send security deposits back promptly — a major factor in student reviews of housing communities.

Of course, knowing the importance of inspections is one thing; actually implementing better inspection processes is another. Using traditional inspection methods like pen-and-paper or legacy software can be prohibitively time-consuming when it comes to completing thorough unit inspections at the end of the semester. So there’s a strong argument in favor of implementing a real-time digital inspection solution. Adopting a dedicated, user-friendly mobile inspection app like Happy Inspector allows employees to quickly perform and document unit inspections. No more uploading pictures — the in-app photo feature automatically uploads and organizes pictures to the cloud. And the intuitive interface prevents incomplete inspections by guiding your team members to inspect and document each item, unit and community consistently — so you collect high-quality, standardized data for better business decisions.

Automate Turn

Take your online reputation seriously

Just like poor reviews can cost sofa or TV manufacturers buyers, online reviews for student housing communities can cost owners renters. Today’s college students were raised in a culture where online review sites are an inextricable part of the decision-making process, and housing managers that fail to act on bad reviews put their Operations at significant risk. A real-time inspection mobile inspection platform gives you the ability to calculate costs per unit, property or region; and organize carpet flips, painting schedules and every rehab item required by unit, community, region or globally — so you can keep students and parents happy.

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Reclaim Your Reputation.

Get our Best Practices Student Turnover Checklist, including an example of the actionable insights and automated turn boards offered by HappyCo’s Real-Time Dashboards.

About the author

Avatar

Jennifer Tyson
VP of Marketing

Jennifer Tyson is a seasoned marketing professional with more than 15 years experience at leading Silicon Valley companies and startups. During a decade at Apple, Jennifer launched three generations of Apple Internet services including the blockbuster iCloud 1.0 launch in 2011. iCloud became the fastest growing Internet service of its time acquiring 45 million users within the first 30 days and over 300 million in less than two years. In December 2015, Jennifer joined HappyCo leading marketing. Jennifer holds an MBA from Dominican University of California and a BA from the University of California Santa Cruz.

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