On-Site 2014 User Retreat Rewind: Today’s Renter and How to Win His Loyalty

During our recent User Retreat in Phoenix, On-Site welcomed Pierre Calzadilla from Trulia to present alongside On-Site’s own Zeke Kirkpatrick and give attendees the who’s who and what’s what on today’s renter. Trulia is a leading website for house-hunters and one of On-Site’s top partners for community listing syndication. Calzadilla is a senior manager at Trulia Rentals, while Kirkpatrick is On-Site’s director of product management. In this blog post, part of our continuing User Retreat Rewind series, we’re sharing the insights from Calzadilla and Kirkpatrick’s presentation with you so you too can learn how to win the loyalty of today’s consumer in a fast-paced, mobile world.

Mobile mania

Mobile Mania

First and foremost, Calzadilla noted, today’s renter is mobile in the sense that renters use devices like tablets and smart phones, and that they are on the move when searching for real estate. Mobility was a recurring theme throughout the conference, and the presenters cited several noteworthy statistics:

  • Mobile searching peaks at 6pm
  • 98% of renters used mobile devices at least once a week in their home search
  • Mobile traffic to websites powered by On-Site increased 275% from 2012 to 2013
  • Over 1/3 of online leasing happens after hours

Renters Vs. buyers

Buying a home and renting one present two very different challenges. Similarly, the typical buyer and the typical renter present two highly distinct profiles. Kirkpatrick and Calzadilla compared the two:

Buyers:

  • Decision cycle is longer
  • 6 months before purchase
  • Fewer contacts
  • Complicated process
  • 5-7 year average time in a house
  • Ages 30+
  • Patient

 Renters:

  • Shorter window
  • 3-6 weeks
  • Many more contacts
  • Simpler process
  • 1-3 year average before move
  • Ages 22+
  • Impatient

Be responsive (or else)

Phone

The key takeaways? Today’s renters are mobile, move fast when searching for an apartment and they expect you to keep up with them. Fail to keep up and they’re more than likely to look at other rental opportunities.

A clear key to attracting today’s renter is to value a renter’s time by engaging with them when and how they want to engage you. When choosing an online strategy for marketing your communities, the shorter cycle of the renting process means that native apps that have to be installed by the renter on their phone or tablet are not ideal. The fact of the matter is moving is already a painful process so don’t make it any harder on the renter by adding additional steps. The simple truth is that renters don’t move every day and they don’t want to install a native app that they’ll use once and forget about.

Fortunately, as Kirkpatrick pointed out, there is an alternative. Responsive designallows your website to look great and work great on any device or screen size. Designing a responsive website allows it to reformat content, branding and functionality to fit any device. When a renter visits a responsively designed website—whether by smart phone, tablet or laptop—the layout reshapes fluidly according to the device, without any additional work from the user.

So take it from Calzadilla and Kirkpatrick: moving can be a painful process and valuing a renter’s time wins loyalty. A truly useful website that presents a wide variety of community content (things like unit availability, high quality photos and HD video tours) in a fast, easy-to-understand, mobile-friendly format is the key to winning today’s renter.

 

For more about On-Site’s 2014 User Retreat: