Founder and CEO of Tripalink Corp.
In a normal year, real estate owners aim for high occupancy rates. With the challenges of the pandemic – and its economic implications – high occupancy rates may seem unattainable.
As the founder and CEO of Tripalink — a company that owns, manages and redefines co-living residential spaces — I worried about the negative impact of the pandemic. However, despite the challenges, we have maintained a 98% occupancy rate – only 1.5% lower than our average annual rate. I believe the backbone of a high occupancy rate for any property owner includes having a portfolio that meets the market demands, multichannel marketing and a personalized leasing process.
In February 2020, I saw that some countries had started a travel ban due to Covid-19, and I considered the implications this could have on the world and the possible effects it could have on Tripalink. I underestimated the huge impact that Covid-19 would have, but I did consider the possibility that it could jeopardize our future as a real estate company. When I realized this, I decided to increase the speed of demographic expansion and implemented new strategies to increase our occupancy rate.
I advise that all CEOs and business leaders stay up to date on current events and consider how they might affect your business. This allows you to prepare for issues that might come up, instead of just reacting to them.
Beyond that, there are some specific strategies to help your occupancy rate in both the short term and long term.
1. Make sure your prices reflect the market. Adjust if needed.
2. Introduce a referral program to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing.
3. Maintain as many of your current tenants as you can, and talk with them about their concerns over lease renewal.
4. Be more flexible, either on lease terms or services.
5. Give quick responses to potential tenants.
6. Compare your different marketing and lead generation strategies, and invest further in those that give the highest return.
7. Respond to tenant feedback, and consider ways to resolve it. For example, it might be necessary to increase internet speed to adjust for more residents working or studying from home.
Achieving a high occupancy rate can be difficult without investing in long-term assets such as improving the properties, building a strong brand – including a user-friendly website – and consistently delivering outstanding service.
1. Do in-depth market research on the housing preferences of both your current demographic and potential ones that you might expand to. This will help you better plan your strategies, adjust your services and most importantly, develop market-oriented offerings.
2. Develop or utilize automation to give potential leads a response within seconds and digitalize the journey of each lead.
3. Focus on hiring people for your property management, sales and marketing teams that are familiar with your current and potential demographics. They might have insights that your current team might not have had otherwise.
4. Invest in a multichannel marketing strategy that includes paid search, multiple listing platforms and social media advertising. You can also focus on improving your website’s SEO performance and brand awareness, which take a longer time to produce results but bring extensive value to the company.
5. Create a sense of camaraderie and connection within the community by giving perks or holding events. This improves the tenants’ overall living experience and ensures a high lease renewal rate because they want to stay involved in the community.
These tactics helped us maintain our occupancy rate and contributed to a conversion rate of 33%. They also helped us save a lot of unnecessary costs in the leasing and marketing process.
If you see your occupancy rate drop, take any combination of these short- and long-term strategies to help boost your rate. Overall, these actions and strategies are part of an agile business model that is able to respond quickly to challenges. It starts with awareness of current events not only in the market, but the world as well. That awareness makes it easier for you to respond quickly and pivot your business to meet any challenge.