It’s often difficult to run some sort of incentive for incoming prospects without having current residents feeling like they were left out, or upset that they are not able to reap the benefits of leasing an apartment now. It is almost guaranteed to happen where a new prospect will move in who received a move-in concession, they will talk to their neighbor about what great deal they took advantage of and the current resident will probably be the first person at your leasing door the next day trying to demand they receive the deal. Often times it is difficult to explain to residents how specials change and that they are not currently eligible for the move-in special, because they already live at the community!
With this being said there is in fact a great option that can appeal to both your incoming prospects as well as your current residents. Have a community raffle! Now this isn’t just another raffle where people come to the office and buy tickets to be entered into the drawing. The idea is for the community to be able to benefit from this raffle from both prospects and residents. Lauren Boston from NAA wrote an article in the most recent issue of Units magazine about how Nancy Wittenberg, owner of Claridge Apartments, implemented this concept at her Houston based property and it was a great success! Here’s how it can work:
-Everyone person, both prospect and current resident, is eligible to participate in the raffle
-The raffle needs to run at least a one to two month duration, but by all means can be offered over a longer period of time
-The raffle prize can be anything, but make it something worthwhile that doesn’t necessarily require the person that wins to be living at the community (i.e. TV; vacation; shopping card; etc.)
-Incoming prospects receive one ticket to be entered in the raffle just for taking a tour during the specified time
-Incoming prospects that apply receive two or three tickets, depending upon the lease length term. My recommendation would be to probably have a stipulation that the person must be approved to receive the additional tickets. This would be best in order to avoid a huge spike in applicants, but also a huge spike in potential cancellations and rejections.
-Current residents are eligible to receive one ticket for rent paid on time. This is why I would say the contest should at least go for a duration of two months to enable current residents to get potentially a minimum of two tickets. This contest could go a much longer length, which would be great if you are a community that is looking for a little boost in your percentage of residents potentially paying rent on time for a few months.
-This raffle could also be a great boost to your resident referral in that current residents could also receive a ticket if they referred anyone during the allotted time period that filled out an application
As you can see there is quite a bit of potential from not only an increased traffic standpoint, but also an increase in rent paid on time from this simple raffle idea. In addition running a promotion such as this can also increase marketing visibility, because this promotion can be advertised everywhere: social media outlets; flyers to businesses; resident referral flyers to your residents; new move-in packets for residents. This promotion would be great for a community looking to get their Facebook Page going as another stipulation of the entry could be that each individual, both prospect and resident, must like the Facebook Page to be officially eligible.
We have implemented this concept at numerous properties and it has always been a hit. It may end up bringing in quite the increase in traffic, but after all, that is a great problem to have!