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Top Four Student Housing Trends

Everyone in student housing – whether you are in management or in the leasing office – needs to know the market factors influencing student housing communities in the future. Commercial real estate investors and others in the student housing business learned about those market forces at the recent Third Annual Atlanta Student Housing Summit.

Here are the top four trends that experts shared at the meeting:

  1. amenity 1Amenities will continue to be the top draw for students considering off-campus housing. For example, Landmark is developinga $100 million project at the University of Florida that includes a hotel, indoor golf lounges, Starbucks and a VIP floor with a rooftop pool and private sauna, BISNOW reported. Students also increasingly expect high-tech amenities, such as Bluetooth surround sound and package delivery notification via text and email.
  2. The traditional double-trunk dorms with shared bathrooms will remain a mainstay options for on-campus freshmen and sophomores. “It might be an essential skill for later in life. They find they might be developing bonds they’ll have for a lifetime,” said Dr. Andrea Trinklein with Emory University, according to
  3. amenity 2Off-campus student housing can only be successful – in investors’ minds – if they are close to campus. And they must be near a bus line. “If you’re way off campus, it’s a project we’re not likely going to look at or want to finance,” said Vincent Toye with Wells Fargo, according to Just as in previous market examinations, location is everything.
  4. Student debt load may force lower student housing rents. College and university costs continue to escalate. In fact, 57 U.S. colleges are charging $60,000 or more for tuition, fees, room, and board for 2014-15, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education listing of tuition data released by the College Board.  However, in 2009-2010, only five colleges surpassed the $50,000 annually. As college enrollment skyrockets simultaneously, students’ debt load is increasing – there is a staggering $1.2 trillion student housing debt, according to Cecil Phillips, CEO of Place Properties. “That’s why I’m confident increasing affordability is going to become the mantra,” Phillips said at the Summit.

Teams 5Of all the trends the experts shared, the increasing importance of amenities – particularly unique amenities that help your community stand apart from the rest – is shaping the future of student housing. If you don’t give Generation Z and millennial residents the different experiences and high-tech amenities they desire, they will go elsewhere.  PackageLog help you stand out by providing you a method of email and text notification to residents when they receive package deliveries into your mail room. But even with high tech amenities at your disposal the best thing you can do is to take time with your residents and learn more about their individual wants and needs. US Postal Solutions takes the heavy time burden of sorting and distributing student mail off of your shoulders. Both services allow you to focus more time and effort on taking care of your student residents and making sure that each semester has a line of new residents waiting to move into your amazing community.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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The Top 5 Springtime College Towns

By: Christine Blank

Spring has come to student housing. After the long, extremely cold winter, everyone seems to be in a better mood and is getting outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Many U.S. campuses – and the towns surrounding them – are the best places to celebrate the arrival of spring, with their gorgeous scenery, festivals and other fun activities.

Here are our top picks for the greatest springtime college towns:

College Station  / Bryan, Texas

college towns 2Home to Texas A & M, Texas College, Baylor College and a host of other great institutions, this city is also one of the best places to be in the spring. There is always some sort of outdoors festival or event in this town, and many involve food. For example, many student housing residents will check out the huge All Things Chocolat festival on March 24 at Brazos Center. Then, the fun annual Rock the Casa Theta 5k will be held April 18 and the popular Downtown Street and Art Fair in downtown Bryan is the same day.

Orlando, Florida

college towns 3Student housing residents at the University of Central Florida, Valencia Community College, Full Sail University and Seminole State College, love getting out in this great city in the spring. First, the temperatures are in the pleasant 70s and 80s, versus 90s and above during the summer. Then, there are the exciting events happening around town – many of which are inexpensive for students. Many students flock to Winter Park for the annual Winter Park Art Festival, held March 20-March 22, which features free live music, art viewing and yummy fair-type food. And then there is the fun Spring Fiesta in the Park at Lake Eola on April 11 and 12. Students can hang out around the lake while sampling food and products from vendors.

Boulder, Colorado

Missouri v ColoradoHome to the proud University of Colorado-Boulder and a number of smaller colleges, this city has some of the best hiking and outdoors activities for college students who want to stay fit. They can head to the nearby Boulder Mountain Park and the Mount Sanitas Trailhead for stunning mountainous views. If hiking is not their thing, students can check out the Colorado Craft Beer Week at Twisted Pine, March 21-29, or visit the free Boulder Farmers Market Fine Art & Craft Fair on April 11.

Atlanta, Georgia

college towns 5This great Southern city is home to a number of top universities, including Emory University and Georgia State University. Atlanta and the surrounding area is also one of the best places for student housing residents to enjoy spring. The Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival, March 21-March 22, features 300 arts and crafts booths, food vendors and live international music.  Students can also take a break from studying and have some fun during the annual Comedy Festival, featuring over 70 national comedians at five venues, from March 25-29.

Oxford, Ohio

college towns 6Even though it is a small town, the home to Miami University is consistently ranked the best college town in the U.S. The ranking has been attributed to its low cost of living, low crime rates, and earning potential for people with a bachelor’s degree and higher. But we think also think it is because students have an enjoyable life here, especially in the spring.  Many students take part in the Ohio Spring Race Series on March 22 and visit the annual Spring Ice Show, May 1-2.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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Don’t Let Stress Ruin These Last Few Weeks

By: Craig Meddin, CEO

stress 1The last few days of Spring Break have arrived, and soon your student housing residents will be busy gearing up for the final days on the semester. As the end of school nears, many of your residents may begin to show signs of stress.  Some have test anxiety attached to the pressure of finals. Others may suffer from trying to develop a plan for moving out at the end of the semester. Some are worried about life after college, while others are worried about their return for the summer. Time management, relationships and roommate troubles add to these emotional burdens. For some, the stress will even be overwhelming.

As management and team members in student housing communities and residence halls, you are often the first to see the signs that this stress has on your residents. Roommates may be too caught up in their own challenges and become unaware of what’s happening around them. But these warnings are real and can have huge negative direct impacts, or impact others. By looking for a few signs, asking a few questions, and giving simple advice to your student residents.

stress 2As students become stressed there many physical signs. According to Fox Business, residents who were otherwise known for healthy lifestyles may revert to unhealthy eating and sleeping habits. Other warning signs include: social, outgoing people become reclusive, drastic changes in behavior, increased occurrences of illnesses, and even long periods when they just seem to disappear.

Once you have identified residents whom you observe are exhibiting such behaviors or that you know are having a challenged time, there are a few things that you can do. The University of Florida suggests this list of tips to students to help them manage their own personal stress:

  1. Understand your role in stress reactions
  2. Develop a balanced lifestyle and effective personal organization
  3. Learn specific relaxation techniques
  4. Gain perspective on problems by discussing them, and
  5. Clarify your values and develop a sense of spirituality

stress 3Psych Central expands on similar ideas to these, but goes on to describe additional coping tips. Physical activity, mediation, and engaging in things that create happiness all help students cope when times are tough. Those things can include a timely letter from home, a care package or even a personalized friendly invite to an event from the community staff. However, when things seem truly overwhelming, make sure they talk to someone who can help.

We hope that you, your team, and all of your student residents have a stress-free journey to the end of the semester. Our teams at Postal Solutions have many tools that can help you reduce your work stress and increase the time that you (and your team) can devote to the happiness of your residents. Contact us today and learn how we can help.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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Spring Break Fever Comes To Student Housing

by: Chelsea Seidman

spring break 1The first days of spring are close at hand. Soon, your student housing residents’ thoughts will turn to finals and then to summer. But for now, their minds are filled with the joyful thoughts of what happens next. Because, as the snow begins to thaw and the flowers return to the meadows, your student housing residents will embark on the time-honored tradition of Spring Break. But, before they depart for the parties, there are a few things that they (and you) need to do.

Before Your Students Leave, They Should…

  • spring break 3Leave information with roommates or others about where they are going in the event of an emergency.
  • Be sure to issue any maintenance requests, so that there are no last-minute repairs or servicing upon return.
  • Turn off the water and lights, and unplug any expensive electronics.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Pick up mail and any packages that are waiting for them in the package room.

Before Your Students Leave You, You Should…

  • spring break 2Send your residents the tips and list of items that you request they do before they leave.
  • Encourage them to renew their lease if they haven’t already, because, when they return, all the new students will start apartment hunting.
  • Advise them if you will be entering their apartments for quarterly inspections or preventative maintenance.
  • Collect any outstanding rent or fees.
  • Set PackageLog aging feature to “OFF”, so residents’ packages do not expire and get returned to sender while they are out of town.
  • Post any office hours changes if you plan to have different hours during the break.

Spring Break is a great time to step back, finish up to-do lists, and rest for the final push to the end of term. Soon your residents will be gone, and you will have an action-packed summer getting your community ready for a fresh batch of faces and personalities. But for now, enjoy your break – your Spring Break.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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750,000-Packages-Logged Milestone for PackageLog™

March 2, 2015 – On February 26, the 750,000th package was logged into the innovative package management and notification system from PackageLog. Since its market inception 26 months ago, nearly 500 businesses have subscribed to PackageLog to better track and communicate to their customers about inbound package deliveries. With the continued growth of online shopping, plus the over *14% percent delivery growth that companies such as FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service predict annually over the next three years, there will be even more demand for PackageLog’s time-saving services in the future.

“Our entire team is thrilled to be part of this revolution in efficiently handling packages,” said PackageLog Founder and CEO Craig Meddin said of reaching this incredible milestone. “All manner of businesses – from multi-family housing to legal offices to high-rise business towers – are constantly dealing with the challenges of space and time that packages create. We are proud to help those affected business get back the time, space, and resources they reserve while providing a seamless communications tool. “

You can learn more about PackageLog by visiting www.logware.com/packagelog. In addition, interested businesses can receive a two-week free trial at http://www.logware.com/free-trial-pl. For additional questions or inquiries, please email mypeople@logware.com.

*Source: erevoultionventures.com

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US Postal Solutions announces NAA Student Housing Conference Initiatives

US Postal Solutions has outlined a groundbreaking initiative to coincide with the 2015 NAA Student Housing Conference, Feb 17-18, 2015 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas.  Its newly-enhanced student mail and package management program creates a unique platform to not only engage residents on a meaningful level, but it also it provides an opportunity for student housing management to save thousands of manpower hours annually.

“It is time for our industry to look toward the future of the interaction between student housing management and its student residents,” says Postal Solutions CEO Craig Meddin. “The package delivery area is the logical touch-point to create a new type of engagement that benefits both sides of the student housing world.” The new connection that Meddin is referring to is based around the PackageLog Notification system.

PackageLog’s digital platform allows apartment communities and student housing facilities to easily track and notify residents about their package arrivals. The system sends customized, automatic email and text notifications to residents when their packages are delivered to the leasing office. The system then continues to monitor the status of each package and send additional reminders that the delivery is awaiting to be picked up in the office. Even though PackageLog has already been available for two years, the new initiative marks a turning point in how mail and packages are managed within the industry. Now PackageLog  seamlessly integrates with many Package Management software platforms.

The United States Postal Service, as well as companies such as FedEx and UPS, is seeing massive increases in the shipping volumes they are handling. FedEx has already reported nearly a 13% increase in volume over the same period of last year. At the same time, the amount of space and time student housing facilities have allocated to deal with mail and packages has been drastically decreased.

“It is a double-edged sword,” says US Postal Solutions Director of Operations and retired US Postmaster Scott Pope. “On the one hand, the increase in volume of available student apartments is bringing new life to the Student Housing industry. Many communities and management companies have felt he pressures of keeping up with these increasing demands, including the overwhelming volume of mail and packages arriving to their communities daily”. The USPS has deemed that all multi-family communities –especially Student Housing – must be a single point of delivery, adding to leasing staffs’ already heavy workload. Add on six minutes per parcel for package management on average– not to mention the space constraints – and you begin to develop a picture of the burden of these challenges.

PackageLog’s newly enhanced program promises to help communities take back the time lost due to these challenges.  Space will be also be re-gained, since the time a package remains in the package room or closet will be reduced by up to 80%. And the best part is the signficiant financial savings to multifamily communities, thanks to both reduced man-power hours and the budget-friendly nature of the PackageLog platform.

Learn more by visiting booth 601 during the NAA Student Housing Conference

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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Show Some Love To Your Student Housing Residents

by: Shad Bookout

Valentine’s Day is back. I know… it seemed like only yesterday we were unwrapping presents under the tree and toasting in the New Year. But the day has arrived that we celebrate love. Almost everyone is in the spirit: from elementary school kids with decorated shoeboxes giving “Frozen”-themed cards, to young couples out for dinner, to people giving flowers. Isn’t this also a great opportunity to remind your student housing residents that you love them too?

Valentines 9 - CopyToday’s student housing residents are like no other generation prior. They are more independent, more connected, and more socially in tune than any other demographic group in history. With that comes a distinct list of wants and desires. They moved into your community probably after reading countless online peer reviews. Once they are there, though, it falls to you to inspire them on a near-daily basis to stay living there throughout their entire collegiate experience.  But are you sure that your are providing them the things they really crave?

Make It an Experience

Today’s student resident is not looking for the least expensive apartment in which to live. They are not looking for the place with the biggest pool or other amenities. In fact, they are not necessarily looking for the place closest to campus. What they crave are experiences. The want memorable moments with friends that can be captured on Instagram or bragged about on SnapChat.  From terrific (if not epic) resident parties that you host, to charity events they can share in, it is important to provide constant opportunities for your residents to engage with each other and to engage with you. But make sure it is unique and memorable, for those are the events that this generation of students truly loves.

From FOMO to YOLO

Vday 2These are the two acronyms that drive the emotional engine of today’s students. The “Fear of Missing Out” combined with a “You Only Live Once” philosophies create an attitude of wanting everything, everywhere. And they want it now. If their friends are doing it, they need to be doing it. But, at the same time, they are surfing multiple screens at a time (remember, this generation of screenagers grew up with a smart phone in their pocket) to find the next great event that they can be the first to know about.  You need to be dialed into this attitude and feeding the flames of these desires in order to stand out from your competitors.  Make sure to challenge your residents to engage their friends and create a peer network that is lining up to move into your community and attend your resident events. This makes an environment where those students on the outside are green with envy of the love that current residents feel living there.

A Connected Lifestyle

Vday 3To create this engagement, it is necessary to be connected to student residents on their level and through their channels. This means social media  – and not just Facebook and Twitter. Your residents want more interactive media from your brand. SnapChat – yes. Instagram – most definitely. YouTube-absolutely. Also, engaging with them via text will be more successful than email.  They want to feel like your message is to them personally and not the same generic digital blast that everyone else is receiving. It is this level of personalized digital engagement that will make them know they really are loved and appreciated.

A Package Management Solution

Heart-HandsSince you already know that your student residents love getting packages (just look at how many arrive each and every day), hasn’t the time come to take advantage of that to create more resident love? The PackageLog system allows you to send customer unique text and email alerts when a student’s package arrives. In addition, these messages can be outlets for announcements about the next big experience your community team will offer. You can even connect to the other local brands they love with PackageLog footer banners. Simply put, your residents will love PackageLog. You will love PackageLog. And your budget will love PackageLog. Contact us today to learn more and to receive a free trial. Click here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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The Wheels of Student Housing Go Round and Round

By: Scott Pope

wheels 1As spring rapidly approaches – although you can’t tell it by the snow in the Northeast – the thoughts of student housing management quickly turn to preparing for the impending turn of residents. In dorms , residence halls, and student housing communities across the country, preparations are beginning. Lease renewals are being confirmed. New move-in letters are being sent. Meanwhile, student residents (both future and current) are going about their days, unaware of the planning, challenges, and efforts that management is conducting behind the scenes.

The entire process is a revolving wheel. In May, students depart and the turn process begins. In August, the students return only to depart again for the holidays. They start back with the New Year, and with their return, the plans for the summer turn begin. This cycle never ends. It just keeps rolling on. However, it is important to take some time and look around at the world that is quickly passing you by. If you don’t, the process begins to roll out of control and you may miss out on one of the most important things you can accomplish: connecting to your residents.

Wheels 2We often get so caught up in the day-to-day grind and the planning, that we miss many of the small things that really are important. There is just not enough time in the day to accomplish it all. Take some time to change up the routine so that you can focus more on the needs, wants, and desires of your student residents. If you make the lifestyle at your dorm, residence hall, or student community less about the spaces and amenities offered and more about making an experience, then your residents will be more engaged. That now gives you the opportunity to build a library of great reviews and a network of student peers driving future residents to your door.

Wheels 3Now you no longer have the wheels of your operation as the engine of your success. Your current residents drive the yearly cycle, and the ebb and flow now revolve around the residents rather than the location itself.

One great way to free up time so you can focus more on your residents is to eliminate items that are time-consuming for you and your on-site team. One example is dealing with packages arriving for the students who live with you. With the ever-growing popularity of online ordering, students today are receiving an average of 10 packages per week each. This means the average dorm, residence hall, or student community is losing hundreds of hours each semester. Another example is dealing with sorting and distribution of student mail. With the US Postal Service labeling all new construction as single point of delivery, mail is becoming a constant headache that is eating more time than almost any other on-site factor. The time has come to take care both of these annoyances.

wheels 4US Postal Solutions and PackageLog are a 1-2 punch that not only eliminates the time and effort of mail and packages, but you also get a platform of tools that create amenities and retention features that student residents love.  Now, while you are making the plans for your summer, is the best time to learn how we can help you transform from just a place for students to a place where student residents have a memorable experience.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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Helping Turn Your Student Residents Into Fans

By: Shad Bookout

Teams 1One of the biggest weekends of the year has finally arrived. It is the long-anticipated Super Bowl, and student housing residents across the nation will be gathering in clubhouses and in front of TVs to watch the big game. Many will assemble in their community clubhouse for a party and more still will visit friends at theirs. Everyone will root on their favorite team. But are they rooting for your property management team too? You need to turn your residents into your biggest fans.

More so than many other industries, reputation marketing is vital to the success of any student housing community. The new generation of student residents is more tech-savvy, more connected, and more opinionated than any other prior. There are very few things they invest their money in that they have not investigated online. And they will not hesitate to give a positive or negative review on the products they love. This includes the apartments, dorms, and residence halls that they call home.

Teams 2The first step is to make sure that you are engaged with your residents in order to understand their needs and their wants. Resident retention does not begin when they move in. In fact, it begins many months before, when they are first looking at your community as a potential place to live. Creating a culture where you are connecting to prospects on a personal basis – letting them know your community is not just a place to live but is a family that they are joining – is essential. This sentiment is reinforced with personalized messages to them that can help them prepare for the major transition of moving to college.

Teams 4The connection can be continued throughout their time living at your community. You need to go beyond just hosting resident events and create a culture that makes you stand out in the market. Find reasons to seek out and engage your residents on a personal basis. And, at each touch point, make sure you provide a request for them to post an online review. This is a great way to make sure your online presence is tops in your market. In addition, remember to ask about their friends who live at other communities. Ask about the lifestyles there so you have a resident’s perspective of your competitors and know how your community stacks up. Try to make sure that, wherever your residents go, they are telling stories about the amazing – and unique – experience they have living there.

Teams 5Another great place to create this engagement is in the mail room. Ensuring that all of the mail is delivered on time and without challenges is important to the culture of your community. Also, packages are a great chance to create direct engagement with your resident base. Imagine that, with every package that arrived, residents were sent a custom email and text message. Consider the number of packages that arrive at your community each day. You now have a high-tech platform to help your student residents love living with you even more. US Postal Solutions and PacakgeLog are able to help you with these goals and will help your community transition from having just student residents to having fans. Click here to learn more.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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Connecting to The “Invisible” Student Renter

By: Shad Bookout

Invisible Student 2Last week, the team at PackageLog ran an interesting article talking about the “invisible residents” at apartment communities. The article touched on a very meaningful message that is often forgotten in the world of conventional apartments: communication and meaningful connection to your residents. Whereas the same theory can be applied to the student housing market, it has a different set of challenges that must be overcome. The needs of student renters can be different from those of conventional apartments. In order to learn more, we interviewed two of best minds in today’s student housing industry:

(BK) Brianne Kocher, Marketing Director for the Collier Companies, previously managed two separate student housing communities.

(CS) Chelsea Seidman, National Director of Client Services for The Postal Solutions Companies, has also previously managed two separate student housing communities. In addition, she served as a regional manager for Inland American Communities.-

QUESTION:  What percentage of a student housing community’s residents are the above described “invisible” residents?

Invisible Student 4(BK) Hopefully, you (and your on-site team) have built a relationship with the students from the beginning. But you do have to remember that these are kids who just moved from home, have a new job, their classes are hard, and they are overwhelmed. Communication often becomes a big challenge, and dealing with the leasing office is nowhere near their top list of priorities. But if you have that communication built from the beginning, these items should not be an issue. It is all about the communication.

(CS)Disconnected residents are only a small portion of the student population, but they are out there. It could be that they are just more private individuals. Or, maybe it is a schedule conflict. But, because they are not engaged with you, you must make extra effort to engage with them. Because of all of the social interaction “touch points” they have as part of living there, most residents will find something that enables them to connect to the community. As time goes on and you host more and more of these events, you get used to seeing your residents. You should pay special attention to the ones whom you do not instantly recognize and try to connect with them. Make sure that they are remaining invisible by choice and not by discontentment.

QUESTION: Is it your experience that these residents typically renew their leases, or are they the “one-time-only” type of residents?

Invisible Student 5(BK) Invisible residents are more difficult to get to re-sign their leases. In many cases, you may not have built the relationship as well as you though you did. “If they do not feel that it is their home, they will not renew.” Many do not address maintenance situations throughout their time there, and what could have been a small problem became a big problem. As these challenges built, the residents became more disconnected with their apartments, making it harder and harder to break through to them. Despite how busy it gets in the office, your number one priority has to be your residents and making sure that each of them individually feels welcome.

(CS)Especially in student housing, we try to create a sense of community. “Just because they are not engaged does not always meant they are unhappy.” Part of the challenge is the diversity of the community. You have to work harder (even more so than in conventional offerings) to make sure that you are providing enough opportunity to appeal to everyone. If you succeed, you will see huge amounts of renewals because the residents are connected to the community and each other. It is the ones who do not make that connection that are the first to seek housing elsewhere.

QUESTION: How early should the process of renewal marketing begin?

Invisible Student 6(BK) Just like in conventional apartments, renewal begins at the very first contact of a prospect. It comes down to trust. You have to earn the trust of your residents and, if you fail to do so, they will not lease. Likewise, if you do not keep that trust, they will not renew. In students housing, you may even have markets where future residents are beginning to reserve apartments nearly a year out. Connecting to your resident and making sure they understand that they must decide early if they are going to renew is crucial. The personal connection of getting a phone or in- person meeting not only gives a better chance of renewals, but also gives you a chance to connect in a more meaningful way and gives you a chance to connect to the invisible residents. The “Renew Today” bandit sign that so many communities rely on can serve a good reminder but will not connect in a meaningful way. That comes down to the efforts of the leasing office.

(CS) Just like in conventional housing, first impressions are everything. But when it comes to the physical marketing for student resident renewals, the world is completely different. Your student residents will have only moved in 10-12 weeks ago when they start receiving requests for renewal. A lot of this is driven by the culture of the University starting its enrollments and on-site housing selections far in advance of freshman arrivals. The privately held student housing market has responded with trying to capture as many renewals as early as possible in order to know how much room they will have available for new student applications.

QUESTION: What recommendations do you have for student housing management teams to get active engagement from these residents?

Invisible Student 3(BK) Social media and mass email and text are always the norm. But when these fail, it falls to the property management teams to pick up the phone or visit. Today’s student renters have a very different view on relationships.

When a prospect is looking, they typically approach you in the method that they prefer connected back. But when they move in, they want a more personal connection. On-site teams often forget about this, due to the businesses of the day. They might even be more comfortable using the previously-mentioned tech methods. But it is important to change from our daily dynamic, put ourselves in the resident’s shoes, and try to connect to them. You must move from being “just a leasing person in the office” to “I am taking care of someone in their home”.

When it comes to the student residents that are invisible, having an understanding about who lives at your community, and being transparent, open, honest, and present in the moment creates an environment that will help your students want to stay because it feels like home.

(CS) Marketing campaigns are developed for the entire community. Banners, door hangers, and mailers are the first phase. As students begin to show interest and respond to these, you begin to see the ones who are missing these messages. As the renewal funnel narrows, you see more and more that there residents that you have not heard from. These may need a personalized approach to make sure they intent on renewing, or we can see if there are other things that we can assist with.

Communication is everything. It has to be an ongoing effort and the residents have to feel comfortable speaking to you and your staff, whether it is about maintenance issues, roommate issues, or anything else they may have going on. It is this level of connection that is most meaningful to the residents.

Parents are also a big factor. Many student residents may have their parents speaking for them. When concerns are being voiced, the reply must be visible to both parties in these cases. When issues are dealt with, it is important to make sure that all parties see the work so that there is no disconnection between the office, the resident, and the parent. You must be connected to the parents as much as the resident themselves. Since many parents are also on the lease as guarantors, many feel they need the same level of communication as the student residents themselves.

Final Thoughts

Junk Mail 3Many of the challenges of creating a meaningful connection to student housing residents revolve around the daily in-office struggles of time and distractions that come as part of the industry. To help you combat this, and have more time devoted to you residents, the teams at US Postal Solutions and PackageLog have created a unique line of products to help you save time, save effort, and make a greater impact on your residents. Whether it is student mail management, package management and notification, or helping create new, unique amenity offering, we are here to help you have the time and resource to better connect to your student housing residents. To learn more about how we can help you, click here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and parcel logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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