Feb 122013
 
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Valentine’s Day is here once again—the most polarizing of all the holidays. (Seriously, the only thing that gets equally as much love and hate is the series finale of Lost. Ba-dum ching. Nailed it!) But, whether you’re out romancing your sweetheart, watching slasher films, or romancing your sweetheart by watching slasher films, we can all agree on one thing: At least there’s candy.

Anyway, love the holiday or hate it, there are definitely some things property managers can learn from Valentine’s Day.

Everyone should be your Valentine. Remember in elementary school how you had to give everyone in your class a Valentine card so no one would feel left out (and let some of us cling to the thought that our crush was reciprocated)? Carry that on at your property. If you have building policies, enforce them for everyone. For example, if your building has both condos and rental units, don’t carry out maintenance requests quicker for the condos. Favoritism breeds resentment, which could lead to turnover.

Yeah, it’s lame. But we all want to be wooed. Say you think Valentine’s Day is just an excuse for Big Greeting Card to make you feel like if you don’t spend money on cards and flowers then you don’t really love your spouse, date, cat, whatever. And, you’re right. While the holiday supposedly did have religious origins, now it’s a “Hallmark holiday.” So you decide not to buy your date anything. Now, explain your stance when everyone in her office is sent flowers, and she comes home empty handed, with nary a dinner reservation in sight. This is one of those “everyone is doing it, so you have to, too” things. Same with apartments. If all the communities around you offer something, like a free parking space to all residents, or on-site dry cleaning services, etc., and you don’t offer them, your prospective residents are going to get romanced elsewhere.

Cliches are cliches for a reason. Chocolate, flowers and cards are cliche on Valentine’s Day. But, you know what? Chocolate is delicious. Flowers are beautiful. And it is awesome to always buy a card that says “I Choo-Choo-Choose You,” because even though it’s a Simpsons‘ reference from 20 years ago, it’s still hilarious. So stick with the classics in your buildings: have a doorman who accepts packages when the renter isn’t home, have an easy way to make maintenance requests and  have a knowledgeable staff. For Valentine’s Day and apartments, you gotta give the people what they want. (See, cliches work!)

But you still have to go for quality. While the classics work, there’s no reason to go for the low end. That candy you bought for your boyfriend from CVS? Chalk is only a slightly worse flavor in chocolate than cherry cordial. The flowers you bought for your girlfriend at the gas station on the way home? They’re already dead before you give them to her. (That only works if your girlfriend is Morticia Adams, or you’re a serial killer.) Buy the good stuff. And if you advertise that you have a fitness center in your community, make sure it’s nice and people can actually use it, instead of just having a broken treadmill. Your elevators should be running, and when they break, they should be fixed immediately. And if you have Valentine’s Day treats for your residents, you should put out a bowl of Snickers bars instead of conversation hearts, because no one likes those!

How else could property managers learn from Valentine’s Day? What are you doing (if anything) for your residents on Valentine’s Day?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Milleflore Images

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  One Response to “‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: 4 Things Property Managers Can Learn from Valentine’s Day”

  1. This is a pretty funny post. I hate cherry cordial chocolates. Ugh!
    Not playing favorites is important if your business involves any kind of customer service, don’t you think? Maybe the key is to make everyone feel like they’re the favorite. My green cleaning is great at that. I appreciate it!

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