ForRentUniversity.com conducted a survey from January 13 - February 14, 2014. The survey had a distribution of 704 respondents, 90% of which were current college students, 40% of respondents lived in an off-campus apartment, 31% were commuter students, 24% of which lived off campus, and 5% responded other.
This interactive white paper uncovers valuable insights about today's student renter, and provides your community with tools and advice to connect with this unique demographic.
An online survey was conducted from January 13 - February 14, 2014
through email invitations, website advertisements on ForRentUniversity.com™
a blog post, and on social media outlets. A $350 incentive was used to
The survey had a distribution of 704 respondents, 90% of which were
current college students. 40% of respondents lived in an off-campus
apartment, 31% were commuter students, 24% of which lived off-campus
and 5% responded other.
RECOMMENDED.Recommendations have quickly become an important part of the
off-campus housing search process. How important? Let’s take a look.
When it comes to finding an off-campus apartment, peer reviews and
recommendations are of paramount importance to students. Whether they
turn to their friends and parents for trusted advice, or scour online review sites,
students rely heavily on other’s feedback when searching for apartments.
students rely heavily on recommendations...
...and they like to share theirs as well
Conventional wisdom would lead one to think that students rely solely
on review sites and social media when rating and reviewing off-campus
communities. While the Internet is pervasive in every aspect of college life,
college students trust and prefer word of mouth recommendations over ones
on social media and review sites. Yes, that’s right — OVER social media and
traditional media review sites.
said recommendations were an
important factor in their decisions
media review site
IN MIND.For many, college serves as a time of transition. Over the course of four years,
students slowly become less reliant on their parents and become more
independent, including when it comes to finding an off-campus apartment.
As college students become functioning adults, their relationship
with their parents changes as well. Parents don’t wield as much
influence on day-to-day decisions, but instead become trusted
advisors and confidants on major decisions. When it comes to
choosing an off-campus apartment, most students conduct their
search without any assistance from their parents.
most students search for apartments independently...
...but some parents serve as trusted advisors
Of the 25% of students who searched for off-campus housing
with their parents, most said that their parents served as a
resource, answering questions and providing advice. A high
number of students also responded that their parents went on a
community tour with them. The level of parent involvement could
be due to the age of the student, as sophomores would likely lean
more heavily on their parents than upperclassmen.
ATTENTION.It goes without saying, but without the local university, you’d have a pretty
high vacancy rate. At the same time, some universities are hesitant to allow
off-campus communities to promote and advertise their services on campus.
This can be quite the dilemma. Here are a few tips on when to market on and
How heavily do students rely on the university to
help find an off-campus apartment? Should you
promote your brand on campus when students
don’t utilize any on campus resources to find
Predictably, students typically utilize ILSs like
ForRentUniversity.com to find off-campus housing.
Of the students who do utilize university resources,
most consulted the university’s off-campus
housing office and accompanying website.
which of the following university resources did you
use in your off-campus housing search?*
DID NOT USE UNIVERSITY RESOURCES
OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING WEBSITE
OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING OFFICE
Respondents were asked to check all that apply
IN.The goal of your online advertising is simple: Draw students in, to connect
and engage with them. Here are a few insights on how to grab students’
attention and make it easy for them to reach out to you.
Students are often drawn in by two different parts of your
listing: visual elements and community descriptions. In terms
of visual elements, both photos and floor plans give students a
sense of what the apartment looks like, and whether or not it
will accommodate their lifestyle. From a community description
perspective, make sure that your property description and
amenities descriptions highlight your community’s strongest, most
student-friendly features and are search engine optimized.
use visual elements to provide a glimpse
of your community and resident life
be ready to answer the phone
For an expense as large and as important as an apartment,
students wants to speak to a real person who is knowledgeable
and patient enough to answer all their questions. Due to the
inexperience of some student renters, they will most likely ask
more questions than a seasoned renter, and their interest in
your community may depend on how helpful your staff is
in answering their questions.
FREQUENTLY.For some students, handing in their rent check is the only interaction they
have with their off-campus housing community. With the increase in social
media use, some communities have made an honest attempt to connect
with their residents on a more regular basis and instill a sense of community.
Here are a few social media insights.
students prefer facebook when engaging...
There is a myth that college students have “moved on” from
Facebook and that they no longer use it. The truth is clear:
Facebook is still the most popular social media site when it
comes to connecting with your community.
...and like seeing a mix of news and resident life
Overall, it seems that students interact with their communities
via social media for two main reasons: to receive news and
updates, and to see community and resident life. Be sure to strike
a good balance between posting updates and showcasing your
offers property managers and off-campus communities
increased online exposure through multiple advertising opportunities. The
mission of ForRentUniversity.com is to enhance the visibility of communities
through dynamic search outlets on the website and an expansive network
of linked services. ForRentUniversity.com utilizes innovative listing tactics to
promote communities, and also offers communities direct engagement with
residents through Facebook and Twitter.