The COVID-19 pandemic hampers our ability to connect and people are eager to interact in person. As some communities begin the first phase of reopening, people are looking for cues and guidelines to follow as they venture out in public. Retail shops are placing signage on the floor to properly distance shoppers in queue. Restaurants are removing tables and chairs to ensure a spacious layout—we’ve even seen mannequins placed in booths, so diners don’t feel as alone!
As your leasing office begins to reopen, how can you create a personal connection from a distance? Here are some tips to help you create an engaging experience through the phases of reopening.
Communicate your leasing office hours and any guidelines that can help manage your residents’ expectations. A great way to do this is by creating “welcome back” signs that have your adjusted hours. Make sure that your signage is warm and inviting. For example, “We have missed you,” posters that have been signed by your leasing staff are a kind gesture to show visitors and residents that you care about their health and safety. You can also post flyers that let your visitors and residents know that these areas are cleaned frequently. They will take comfort in knowing that you are taking precautionary measures by regularly cleaning common areas.
Reinforce social distancing by setting guidelines for high traffic areas in your community. One place that you may want to reduce traffic flow is through your stairwells. If you have more than one stairwell, have one designated for going up and one for going down to reduce close contact. Be sure to post a sign that communicates the guidelines, such as, “We care about your safety, so we have changed our traffic flow in our stairwells…”
Determine the maximum occupancy that your leasing office can accommodate. If you have a small leasing office, consider only allowing one or two residents or visitors inside at time. For larger leasing offices, you may want to consider ordering floor decals that direct visitors where to stand in the leasing office. Get creative with your decals by adding your community’s logo or quotes that highlight your commitment to your residents. Something like, “We are so glad you are here!” or “We appreciate you!” are all positive sentiments you can add to them. This is a great way to show visitors where to stand, at a safe distance, when they are waiting to speak to someone.
Food trucks are a great way to create a festive atmosphere while maintaining social distancing. Consider having a food truck on the first Saturday of your reopening. Use sidewalk chalk to create standing points while people wait to order food. If you have a grassy area, set up picnic areas with tablecloths on the grass that can be used by small groups. You can even offer to-go containers with your logo as another option.
If you are opening with fewer team members and at reduced leasing office hours, offering on-site tours may be difficult. Also, now that social distancing has become the “new normal” many people will not want to tour in person. Virtual tours are the answer and can still create an engaging and personalized experience. They are a great way to show off your community, from a distance. Consider one of these virtual tour options to show off your amazing community features and amenities.
Send a 3D tour link or YouTube video to the prospective renter, they click the link and tour the apartment at their own pace, so they can drive their own experience. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then all you need are beautiful images to create an emotional connection with your property. The prospective renter can click on a 3D apartment floor plan, the resort pool area, fitness center and any other spaces you would like to showcase. They have the freedom to tour on their terms and their desired timeframe.
For those that want to feel like they taking an in-person tour, consider giving prospects the option to schedule a FaceTime tour with a member of your leasing team. Start off the call by making a personal connection. If the prospect has a dog named Coco, show them the amazing dog park that you know will be a big hit with Coco. Your staff is able to show off your property and their unique personalities that will leave a memorable impression.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. But, how can you make a good first impression if the average property misses nearly half of their calls? If you think voicemail has you covered, think again. 87% of callers will not leave a voicemail and will move on to the next option.
To keep your office open to prospects 24/7, consider hiring a virtual leasing assistant like LeaseHawk’s ACE that can answer calls, chats and even texts from prospects when your office is closed or your leasing staff is unavailable. Built using Google technology, ACE collects guest card information, sets appointments and answers common leasing questions in a natural and conversational manner.
Give ACE a try and see how it can help you respond immediately to prospect inquiries. Call or text (480) 571-1339 and ask ACE to schedule a virtual tour!
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By adding new technology, the diversified multifamily REIT with approximately 52,600 apartment homes, has been able to increase its tour volume, conducting upwards of 40 self-guided tours per day while employing only a fraction of multi-functional office personnel at a given community.
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