We know that many parents foot the bill for their incoming college kids who lease student apartments. Of course, you want your marketing strategies for student apartments to catch the eye of prospective residents.
But your student housing apartments also need the seal of approval from parents. And that means creating student housing marketing campaigns that focus on the features and amenities today’s parents want.
Cross-Generational Marketing Strategies for Student Apartments
But who are today’s parents of college-age children? That’s a tricky question, as they span multiple—very different—generations with distinct concerns and various levels of comfort with technology.
The parents of today’s incoming college freshman are largely part of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1979, along with some of the younger Baby Boomers. The youngest of the Boomers turn 56 in 2020.
With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure your student housing marketing appeals to multiple generations, incorporating technology like video real estate tours along with traditional marketing strategies like brochures and other written material.
Based on our years of industry experience and our reputation as the premier partner for student housing renderings and virtual real estate tours, we’ve compiled this list of five elements that all marketing strategies for student apartments should include to appeal to parents.
You can promote these aspects of your student apartments with video real estate tours and 3D renderings. Even if parents may not be able to visit your student housing units, they can be confident in their decision to sign the lease.
1. Emphasize the best features of the student housing location.
In all areas of real estate, location is key to leasing a property fast. This is especially true in student housing marketing, where incoming college students may not have their own cars and are likely to spend a lot of time in their new neighborhood.
Parents want to know students are in a safe location, potentially on a well-lit suburban block or a main thoroughfare in a desirable neighborhood. Virtual renderings and video real estate tours that showcase the surroundings can help set parents’ mind at ease.
In addition to showing a well-lit surrounding area through 3D real estate renderings that display the outdoors, use your marketing materials, including videos, social media collateral, and real estate listings to point out the selling points of the neighborhood.
Your student housing marketing materials should answer the following questions, in words, video, or pictures (or all three!).
- How close is the property to campus?
- Is it in a walkable community?
- How close is it to the library, shopping, restaurants, and cultural sites like museums or theaters?
- Is it near public transportation?
- Is it in an area generally considered safe (i.e., low crime rate, few break-ins)?
You can share statistics on local crime rates and other stats that can exemplify the safety of the neighborhood.
2. Share the safety features and security elements that bring parents peace of mind.
Of course, location plays a big role in the overall safety of a student housing development. But most developers take additional measures to ensure the safety and security of tenants.
Features like security cameras on the building, motion sensor lighting, and well-lit walkways bring parents peace of mind. If campus security patrols the area, that’s even better.
While college students may care more about a fast WiFi connection, parents want to know that technology is being used to keep their children safe. Your student housing marketing materials for parents should showcase features like smart doorbells, an alarm system, and smart door locks.
Reinforced steel doors are another selling point. Windows with insulated glass help create a greener apartment by reducing heating and cooling needs — which today’s eco-conscious students will love—while adding a layer of security parents will appreciate.
Consider using virtual renderings or even Matterport 3D-scanned tours if the property is already complete. These student housing marketing tools can help parents feel as if they are on the property, viewing all the features of the space, even if they can’t visit in person.
The goal is to provide peace-of-mind that student housing residents are safe and secure, so parents can feel good about their decision to sign the lease.
3. Show parents the high-end amenities they expect in student housing.
Just as today’s homebuyers want stainless steel kitchen appliances, an open floor plan, and plenty of storage, parents want the best for their college-age children. Student apartments with a washer / dryer on site, newer appliances, and modern décor will appeal to parents, making the apartment easier to lease.
The best way to show these amenities in student housing that is not yet built? 3D virtual renderings and video real estate tours that draw from a library of furniture and objects to show everything from the texture of the sofa to the layout of the kitchen.
You can also use written descriptions to supplement photos and renderings, explaining the amenities students will enjoy and then using images to bring the luxury of your student housing to life.
4. Emphasize the high levels of customer service and availability of property managers within the student apartments.
Customer service, maintenance, and property management may not be on the top of students’ minds, but parents want to know their college-age children live in a safe, secure environment where any issues will be handled promptly.
Emphasize customer service policies, such as how quickly emergency work orders are handled and how long it might take for a regular repair request to be fulfilled.
Today’s GenX parents, along with their GenZ offspring, will appreciate being able to make maintenance requests and track the status of those requests via an app. If this is a service you offer, be sure to promote it.
Your student housing marketing materials should also convey information about snow and ice removal, landscaping, and what aspects of maintenance students are expected to take care of themselves.
5. Create a “parents’ corner” on your website to provide the information they need.
The first weeks of college are all about helping students make a smooth transition to life on their own.
But parents have questions, too.
Take a cue from top colleges like the University of British Columbia and the University of Waterloo and create a parents’ guide that provides the information parents need to feel confident in their student housing decision.
Studies show that students who live in residence, whether on-campus or off, do better academically, gain more life skills, and display increased confidence. Your student housing marketing materials for parents should showcase these tremendous benefits.
Parents also want to know about community activities available to their children in student housing. Often, a wide range of activities and clubs within the student housing can keep students occupied — and out of local bars where they may get into trouble.
Just as your student housing marketing materials should welcome students, creating separate brochures, checklists, and content for parents will help them feel like they are also part of your community – even if they live thousands of miles away.
Does your Student Housing Marketing Attract Parents, Too?
In short, you want to create materials that appeal to three generations of stakeholders. You want students to fall in love with your apartments and envision themselves living there, but you also want parents to feel confident in their lease-up choice.
By focusing on elements like location, security, safety, customer service, amenities, and activities, you can address any concerns parents may have, before they even start to wonder. This can give your student housing offerings a distinct advantage over competitors, who may not spotlight the features today’s parents care about.
Using various forms of media, from printed brochures to video real estate tours, can help ensure your marketing strategies for student apartments appeal to students and parents alike.