Creating Community: Appealing to Gen-Z in a Mobile World

Posted on Apr 3 2019 - 8:04am by Lance Edwards

By Alisha Evanson (MultiFamilyInsiders.com Article —  Meet Generation Z: the first generation of tech-savvy individuals that grew up with technology and instant convenience in arm’s reach. This group started entering adulthood in 2014, and with this transition came businesses trying to figure out how to best tap into this brand new market.

Unlike previous generations like Baby Boomers and Millennials, attracting the business and loyalty of Gen Z presents unprecedented challenges that are only just now being understood and adequately attended to.

The Gen Z tribe will likely become part of your residential community, either now or in the very near future. If you want to appeal to this up-and-coming age group, you’ll need to do more than offer them a place to lay their heads. This tech-savvy group is all about convenience and modern amenities, and here’s how you can meet their expectations:

Mobile is King!

Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is the calm, cool, and connected generation of our time. They grew up around many of the modern conveniences we have today, including the increasingly mobile lifestyle. One study found that 95% of Gen Z members have a smartphone, with a whopping 25% of those admitting they got their first cell phone before age 10.

In other words, constant connectivity and mobility are their norm.  For them, it’s not just a new-and-improved solution for modern problems, but rather the way of life as they know it.

The majority of Gen Z-ers are on their phones for five hours or more every day. That’s significantly higher compared to the average across all age groups of three hours and 35 minutes each day. They’re living and thriving in the digital lifestyle in every sense of the word, and businesses who want to earn the attention of the connected generation must adapt to this new set of rules.

Mobile Features to Include in Your Community Communication Strategy

Though housing communities aren’t often thought to offer amenities beyond a pool or fitness room, modern technology and the people who crave it are changing that.

So what features should you include in your resident communication strategy? Here’s how other communities are staying connected and maximizing their advantages:

Package Tracking and Notifications

When packages are delivered to your community office, how are residents supposed to know? Their carrier may send them an email or notification that a package was left at the office. But that’s not always the case, and community managers often face piles of packages in the office at any given time.

There’s no easy way to organize the influx of parcels you receive on behalf of your residents, and tracking down individual tenants to come to get their packages can be time-consuming.

Many communities have turned to package tracking systems that help them sort and log mass deliveries and notify residents to pick them up. Staff can spend less time dealing with packages while providing a secure experience for the package owners.

With the rise of online shopping, the truckload of daily packages will only grow. Using a tracking system helps you alert residents about their deliveries at scale to free up your time and provide a secure experience for every tenant.

Text Communications

Did you know that nearly 90% of consumers would rather get a text than answer a phone call? Not surprisingly, Gen-Z is largely among them. As technology becomes more streamlined, people are recognizing its time-saving benefits. And as an added bonus, the open rate for text messages far surpass that of emails – nearly 98% of all text messages are opened! Using a text messaging platform for your community offers multiple benefits for managers and residents alike.

As a property manager, you can use a texting platform to send messages to individual residents, groups, or the entire community at scale. Reminders about overdue payments, work order information, urgent notifications and other data can be transmitted to residents in seconds. It eliminates the need for manually placing notices on doors, as well as the time and money it takes to print them.

For residents, text messages offer a convenience that’s already a part of their daily lives. They’re used to communicating via mobile device and appreciate the simplicity and ease of use it offers. It saves them time and effort when they need to get in touch or know what’s happening in their community. And when you can add value to their lives that other communities can’t, they’re more likely to remember you for it.

Branded Apps

Some communities combine the two features and put their name on it via a branded app. Residents can download the app to access features unique to your community. For example, they can send messages to management, request work orders, receive updates about events or activities, and view package tracking, all from within the app. This is a great way to increase brand loyalty and create long-term relationships with your residents!

Gen Z: Closing the Technology Gap

It’s clear that Gen Z doesn’t just use and appreciate technology – they rely upon it in ways that surpass that of the casual user. It’s ingrained in their lives, and they expect businesses to get on board, whether it’s finding a ride, shopping for groceries, or staying in touch with their residential community.

Communities that do offer tech-heavy amenities like text notifications, package tracking, and branded apps, are tough competition. They’re not only playing on the same field as Gen Z-ers, but are actively recruiting them to their team with ease.

And, once they’re part of the group, you stand a much better chance of retaining them because you offer more than other communities in your area. It’s like saying you’ve designed your community for their lifestyle, and small gestures like this make big impacts on your community’s popularity. Gen-Z is the next generation to take over the apartment space, and if you’re not adapting to their preferences, you’re falling behind!