Our friends at Multifamily Insiders recently wrote about a very unique and personalized renewal incentive. One property manager offered a tenant a Lego Star Wars set to re-up his/her lease. It is unknown if the offer worked but we love that it was even tried.
Nevertheless, this got us thinking about whether this might be the start of a trend in real estate. Generally speaking, rewards programs for tenants are not as well developed as they are for consumers in other sectors such as credit cards, airline travel, etc. So while you can turn your miles on United into anything from cash to toys to a charitable gift, all you get for your monthly check to Property Management Ltd is another invoice 30 days later and the responsibility to inform your landlord whether or not you are renewing your lease as the deadline approaches.
There is a ton of opportunity, from simple rewards to more tailored promotions like the Lego example, for property managers to explore. To start with the brainstorm, we polled the Mobile Doorman team to see what they would like to see in their renewal letter.
Brian: I’ve never lived in an apartment building, but if I did I’d want rent coupons. I sometimes offer these to tenants in the properties I own and I think they like them.
Kyle: I’m kind of lazy when it comes to living arrangements and I hate moving. But the thing that compels me to move is when rent gets raised without anything else being improved or upgraded. So if my landlord replaced old appliances with new ones that work properly and look good I would be tempted to stay. Internet-connected appliances would be especially cool.
Kari: After housing, food is my next largest expense, and it’s something I greatly enjoy. Ongoing gift certificates to my favorite local restaurants and/or grocery stores would make me very happy.
Bob: I’d like my landlord to provide me an experience I wouldn’t otherwise get to have. For example, dinner for two at Next would be awesome. It’s way less than a month of rent but it would be so much more meaningful.
Graham: Pay for my membership at Go Cycle Studio. I take classes there all the time so I’d be frequently reminded of my property manager’s generosity while not having to pay to get in shape.
Walter: Dog treats and a new tennis ball. (Note: Walter is Bob’s golden retriever, we may be putting words in his mouth. He just sort of looked away when we asked him.)
The conclusion based on this small sample: everyone’s motivations are different but can (and should) be appealed to in equal measure.
The other conclusion: The MD team is not nearly as creative as the manager or resident from the Multifamily Insiders article.