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  08 Jan 2022

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Student Housing Marketing Strategies To Boost Sales

It is understandable that many college students try as much as possible to separate their stressful student life from where they live.

Some just don't register early enough for on-campus accommodation.

Student housing is basically a type of off-campus housing for students like this. It is a building or structure mainly for long-term living by college students, away from the institution (off-campus). Some people refer to student housing as student accommodation.

Is Investing In Student Housing a Good Investment?

Prior to the coronavirus epidemic, student housing was one of the most appealing property investments. Student accommodation has become a highly desirable commercial venture ever since a vaccine has been developed and schools are reopened.

Traditionally, university students would reside on campus, and they would sometimes live at home to save money and commute.

Developers have stepped in to build new flats and refurbish old ones as the typical dorm building is about 52 years old.

Property investors have gradually understood that this is a huge opportunity, particularly because college attendance has never been bigger.

Student housing is still significantly profitable considering the following factors:

  • It is relatively recession-resistant. As the economy worsens, more people attend school. MBA applicants increased by 50% during the economic meltdown of 2008-2010.
  • The cash flow is stable. Student housing provides a consistent cash flow source, provided the school is in good standing.
  • Attendance is continuing to rise. From 2000 to 2015, the number of people enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in the United States grew by 30%. This shows that the desire for a college degree is unquenchable.

How Do You Promote Your Student Housing?

The process of marketing real estate, especially student housing, can be very overwhelming.

Though there's a high demand for long-term student housing, you still have to be sure to find reliable college students to rent the apartments. This is for you to maximize return on investment on your property.

You might be thinking, where do I start from? How do you promote student housing?

Well, it really isn't rocket science. Below are some ways that you can go about off-campus housing advertising.

Utilizing Property Management and CRM Systems

The quickest and easiest way to screen candidates and execute contracts is to organize your leasing processes with a property management system that is automatic and practical for potential tenants.

Your leasing team, whether it consists of a single property manager or a group of leasing employees, will require skillset in sales, perseverance, understanding, and empathy.

An outstanding CRM system (customer relationship management software) that can simplify the renter experience from offer to closure will be the driving force behind the leasing team's success.

An remarkable follow-up procedure, tour routine, and closing strategy to successfully lease up property fast all support the operation to achieve complete occupancy.

Maintaining contact with existing tenants is also crucial. Portal alerts and notifications, personalized email messages for special occasions like birthdays and holidays, and welcome kits filled with gifts and deals from nearby businesses are all excellent ways to do this.

Remember that these actions may result in recommendations for the property in the future and favorable evaluations.

Although there are many property management options available, Booking Ninjas student housing property management system comes highly recommended.


Numerous customers have also made use of these different services that enable the creation of a portal where renters can submit requests and pay rent, as well as a backend where property managers can manage administrative, financial, and upkeep tasks.

Future success will result from maintaining the current marketing, leasing procedures, and management progress.

Student Housing Lease Velocity

Lead generation is an important part of student housing marketing, and student housing occupancy rates are doing good right now; in August 2018, it was up to 93.9 percent. This is due to rising enrollment rates and the addition of new student housing complexes near institutions.

Take a peek at the rate of lease velocity data from 2017 to 2018.

Although it looks like the student housing lease velocity has hit a peak, student housing companies believe there is still a lot of space for growth in the business.

Several students are still settling for non-student housing preferences as the sector grows. This might explain the high point and make appealing to student accommodation renters more difficult in the future.

Marketers must hold their heads up high in order to remain relevant in student housing and improve customer acquisition.

The recovery from the pandemic is being recognized by student housing performance ratings. In March, the RealPage 175 group of campuses had a 61.2 percent pre-lease velocity, which is higher than the 59.5 percent for March 2020.

It's worth noting that the March 2020 results were on the verge of a COVID-19-induced downturn. By the time quarantine measures were implemented, much of the month's renting activity had already occurred. As a result, it wasn't until April that low performance became a major issue.

When it comes to rent increases, it's not unexpected that profitability has returned in a big way. The annualized rent change from March 2018 to March 2022 shows a growth rate of 5%, which is exceptional.

Check out the rent growth YoY acceleration chart below:

The quick increase in rents throughout March 2022 indicates adaptability, as March values were actually bad last year. As a result, the current growth rate is significantly exaggerated due to the compressed number from the previous year.

Even so, that minor mathematical detail shouldn't obscure the reality that today's rent rise is likewise a result of recovering demand.

Set Meaningful Goals

When it comes to doing effective marketing for your student housing business, it's critical to first set meaningful goals. Setting meaningful goals and objectives might help you stay on track with your progress.

Your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound)

Specific: Examine your objectives in detail. What do you hope to achieve with your marketing? With a definite goal in mind, be meticulous. "For example your goal may be “within one year, we expect 50 lease applications completed".

Measurable: What metrics will you use to evaluate the success of your leasing campaign? What resources do you have at your disposal? You'll know what success looks like if you set precise goals and make sure you have the tools you need to track your progress.

Attainable: You should be realistic while setting your marketing objectives. For example, if your website has 200 monthly visitors on average, you shouldn't expect to see a 100-fold increase overnight. Set realistic goals and standards for yourself so that you may achieve your objectives.

Relevant: Another important thing to consider is relevance. Make sure your objectives are aligned with what you can track. If you're searching for rent application form completions, for instance, be sure that the conversion tracking techniques you've set up on the website allow you to monitor application form completions. If you don't have one, use another means.

Time bound: Setting timeframes for achieving your objectives is also crucial. A schedule will help you and your organization in visualizing your goal and ensuring that you are aware of when you should arrive. Just keep in mind that real results take time.

Use Social Media Marketing To Engage With The New Generation Students

It is safe to say the whole of the new generation is on social media. Social media is a huge opportunity to showcase any business.

While you capitalize on this, avoid being too sales-y when using social media to market your student housing property.

Some of your posts may not be related to student housing, posting fun content that doesn't scream "come and rent an apartment" could subtly do a lot of lead generation. When posting these unrelated contents though, please be sure to put the logo for the property. For any money-making venture, branding is extremely crucial.

There are 2 major ways to use social media to engage with new generation college students that are potential tenants they are by;

Showcasing Rooms And Amenities On Social Media

Like we have previously discussed, so many landlords underestimate the power of pictures or images for student housing marketing.

Social media is a very visual platform, and people on social media are either convinced or annoyed by what they see.

However, social media is not all about the quality of your images. You need to consider many other factors when marketing on social media, like good videos and good writing skills.

We will discuss some of the most influential social media platforms for student housing marketing below.


This is a search engine that focuses a lot more on aesthetics, compared to other social media platforms.

For example, Pinterest allows you to upload images (pins) with captions related to the pins and link your website to it.

This means if a potential tenant comes across your post on Pinterest, you can easily redirect them to the exact page that you want them to see on your website.


This is no doubt one of the best social marketing channels.

Since we're talking about the new generation (Gen Z), there's no way we won't talk about their obsession with Instagram.

There's a higher chance that a college freshman finds you on Instagram than on Are any other social media platform.

Although you can't post links in your Instagram captions, you can post your web address on the bio section.


The new generation is extremely receptive to videos. For this reason, it is very important to make platforms like YouTube and TikTok your major source of marketing.

YouTube/TikTok are major video apps and while YouTube has the attention of every age group, TikTok gets the attention of mostly young people.

Using Social Media Ads To Reach Specific Target Audiences

Social Media marketing campaigns are way better when you use the ads services because they can be optimized to fit your target audience.

If you have a student housing property to market, and you don't want to spend money to run ads, then you're probably not ready for the market. Your biggest competitors are running ads, even though they are popular and easy to find.

Social media marketing adopts pay-per-click marketing which is running an ad on a platform and paying every time someone clicks on it. If you run an ad that the age demographic of the target audience is set to 16-35, you'll most likely reach college students.

Expand Your Reach With Digital Marketing

People also refer to digital marketing as online marketing. It is the marketing of brands/businesses for lead generation, and to connect with possible customers.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of colleges have closed their in-person studies. Some have placed a very thin limit on how many students can stay on campus.

This is a good opportunity for landlords to get potential tenants online. Because college students are spending a lot of time online, especially since tutoring is mostly online.

We have said a lot about social media marketing and its benefits and for all, it's worth we would like to also mention that though it is the biggest and most talked-about aspect, it is also under digital marketing.

There is so much expertise in digital marketing and here are a few examples.

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) To Target Local Searches

SEO is a technique for making your webpage discoverable by search engines.

Local SEO focuses on optimizing your promotion in a way that is tuned to the taste of local search. This means that the right people will see your content, hence more lead generation.

Retargeting To Bring Back Lost Visitors

Retargeting ad campaigns simply means reminding website visitors of products and services after they leave without converting.

Have you visited a particular website one day and seen an ad about it on an unrelated website the next?

That is how retargeting works. It just keeps following you around the internet. Reminding you to convert.

Outreach Marketing

The main goal of outreach marketing is to take the initiative in attracting new tenants. It's important to be diligent and contact potential tenants. This strategy typically entails creating or beginning something that will draw occupants to you. 

Marketing strategies that involve contact will produce outcomes more quickly than blogging and search engine optimization.

Outreach marketing is essential when you need new tenants immediately and can't afford to delay. Such an efficient and affordable strategy is social media promotion. Facebook and Instagram ads are particularly effective at this because of their crowd-targeting capabilities. 

Here are some alternative student accommodation marketing suggestions:

  • Organise parties and events at your rental apartment
  • Establish connections with other nearby companies
  • Establish networking groups for business.
  • Make flyers and distribute them
  • Join the neighborhood group
  • Provide improvements rather than discounts
  • Send holiday presents to tenants
  • Encourage your loyal customers
  • Think about supporting humanitarian issues
  • Contact campus media outlets to show an advertisement or post
  • Involve the parents of the renters

The main goal of outreach marketing is to actively find tenants for your student housing property. There are numerous methods to connect with your audience if you take a look around and exercise a little creativity. Emails and social networking sites allow you to do it comfortably at home. 

Alternatively, you could stroll around, observe the community, and interact with people in the neighborhood. Students will learn about you in whichever way.

Other Marketing Strategies for Student Housing

That being said, here are some other reliable ways to go about student housing marketing.

Property Websites/Portals

If you have experience in real estate, then you have probably listed your properties on websites like Spotahome, Roomi, and Uniplaces. This approach is basic, yet very effective for lead generation.

However, there's a potentially better way to list your student housing that is similar to this. Which is building a close relationship with various universities and directly posting your properties on their property portal. This makes it easy for you to get college students from specific colleges.

Good Photography

Many landlords/realtors underrate the importance of quality images for their marketing campaigns. Photography is something you definitely don't want to DIY when doing student housing marketing.

In a competitive business like student housing, your best bet is to hire a professional real estate photographer.

Being Strategic With The Dates

Many potential tenants may hold off from obtaining their student housing. This is because they haven't gotten their A-level results, even though they have been given admission into the university.

It could be one of many effective marketing strategies if you connect your property promotions within the time that they will be receiving their results.

Setup a post on your website, use social media and digital marketing, and take advantage of the excitement of finding student housing before university resumes.

Keep Trying New Approaches To Adapt To Changing Trends

To stay ahead of the games, you must continue to try new things. In order to do so, you must constantly assess the demands of your tenants.

One of the most flexible target populations is that of the student housing market, and as we've seen, the transition from Millennials to Generation Z has been rather dramatic.

The demands of students change from season to season, and your business plan must adapt to these rapid shifts.

Provide a Study Focus Space

Put yourself in the position of a student. Although having a relaxing place for them to appreciate is wonderful, creating a conducive learning atmosphere can be equally as fundamental. 

Try to designate areas on your property or in your structure where students can concentrate on their studies. 

Free WiFi should be available, and an active place with welcoming furniture should be created. By doing this, you are giving them a spot to keep as well as a quiet environment to study.

Offer a Storage Space

Although some people may find this unusual, giving students access to an additional storage room on the premises can be a huge benefit. 

They can avoid paying for a storage facility rental and have peace of mind knowing that their belongings are secure. 

Give them access to large, lockable containers that can hold a variety of things. Students are going to sense that you care about them since you're the manager or owner of the property, and it will also make staying there more sensible.

Guerilla Marketing Ideas For Student Housing

Guerilla Marketing is a marketing technique that adopts unusual ways to promote products or services.

In simpler words, guerilla marketing is the drama queen of marketing. It uses different ways to get the attention of potential customers.

Here are some examples of Guerilla marketing for student housing.

Conversational Marketing Using Chatbot

In place of direct communication with a real-life human agent, a chatbot is a software program that conducts an online chat discussion using text or text-to-speech. Chatbot systems are often designed to accurately replicate the way a person would act as a conversational partner.

In a world where everyone uses social media, just having a website for your student housing business is not enough.

The new generation is hyper-connected and digitally inclined. Because of messaging apps like WhatsApp or telegram, the way the new generation communicates has evolved.

Rather than send you an email, your potential tenant would prefer to chat with you. This is why integrating a chatbot into your student housing website can be an effective lead generation method while providing good customer service.

Virtual Tours/3D Walk-Throughs

A virtual tour is a pattern of panoramic images put together to create a virtual event for any location.

A 3D tour is basically experiencing a tour so intimately without being there in person.

These are holy grail ideas. Before renting a place, a potential tenant can already see what the place looks like.

Virtual tours or 3D walk-throughs will help them with their imagination. They would rather go for housing they have experienced, even on a virtual tour, than one they haven't.

Sell A Lifestyle Using Amenities

When you have amenities like swimming pools, indoor games, and sports facilities like basketball courts, volleyball courts, and so on, you have a high chance of getting the attention of young people.

Most college students that look for student housing are classified as starting out singles and young adult roommates.

So, when you think about it, this demographic of people are new to living on their own, and long-term lifestyle amenities like garages may be handy.

This strategy is essential to any off-campus housing advertising because these amenities are provided most times on-campus.

Encourage Word Of Mouth With Referral Specials

Word of mouth can go very far in marketing your student housing.

Rather than go online, potential students would much rather hear from someone who isn't the property landlord or an official third party about the property.

You can encourage old or recent tenants to tell their friends about your property by giving them referral specials.

A referral special is simply a reward for bringing in new tenants. For example, if one of your tenants brings a family member to rent one of your apartments, you can give them 5 percent off the next rent.

Student loans aren't cheap, and many college students do different things to cut costs. This will be the perfect opportunity for them.

Flash Sales To Clear Off Remaining Inventories

What is a flash sale, you may ask?A flash sale is when a business offers huge discounts or promotions for a really short period. It is different from the generic "discount".

It is better to do a flash sale than have your property sitting without any occupants. At the end of the day, you don't want your space to be left empty.

That is why it is better to do a flash sale to clear off your remaining inventories.

Encourage Reviews On Review Platforms To Build Trust

College students may see you as authentic if you have reviews on review platforms.

Students want to see that other people endorse you before trusting you. So, in essence, it is always wise to ask for reviews on platforms like google reviews and trust pilot.

Read more: 5 Major Trends In Student Housing To Win

Don't Forget The Retention Of Existing Students

While you're looking for new college students to occupy your student housing, don't forget how much effort you put into getting the existing tenants. You need to put things in place to make sure they want to stay.

There are many things to consider when renewing.

Is your price too high? Are you lacking good customer service? Are there issues with the facility?

These questions might be hard to figure out.

Increase Renewal Rate With Renewal Specials

There are various ways to increase your renewal rates, but the major one is through discounts and giveaways.

As discussed previously, college students look for ways to cut costs.

Offering them something like a discount, or free services like cleaning or wifi, might make them at least consider staying.

Host Events To Show You Care

College students love to socialize, and if you host themed events for them, they could feel right at home.

Imagine having a bad week at school but going back to your apartment to chill with your roommates and neighbors.

College students get a sense of belonging when they attend themed parties hosted by their landlords.

Also, for new students, you can host onboarding or welcome events. So that before they even settle down in their apartments, they already want to renew their tenancy.

New And Innovative Amenities Based On Feedbacks

Only residents can tell you how you can improve the facilities in your student housing.

You can share something like a questionnaire or conduct in-person interviews. This is to know what amenities you can improve on or introduce for the comfort of your residents.

Renovate Your Student Housing To Keep It Fresh

Every real estate property needs renovation to keep things fresh, especially when young people are involved.

As much as the primary purpose of shelter/housing is protection, young people also love when their housing has a nice aesthetic to it.

Your property has to look presentable to a certain extent. So, your best bet is to fix things that need to be fixed now and then. That way, your tenants would have little or no reason to want to leave.

What kinds of improvements are possible for your student apartments, then? Here are some suggestions you could test out:

  • Apply fresh paint, wallpaper, or artwork for the public spaces
  • Replace dated furniture
  • Reorganize the decor
  • Transform the scenery for springtime
  • Replace the drapes/curtains with bamboo blinds.
  • Add interior plants to the mix
  • swap outdated kitchen fixtures
  • Replace broken lighting fittings
  • Put in LED lighting
  • Purchase a fresh toilet seat.
  • Add floating furniture

These are all inexpensive but wonderful remodeling suggestions that will draw in more tenants. Additionally, it improves the worth of your property. 

More students want to live in your student accommodation the more attractive it is. This is a great way to keep occupants who might stay in your rental property for several more years.

Build Strong Relationships With The Students

Young people can be so rebellious, yet they can also be so compliant when it looks like you're putting yourself on their level.

Because they're so young, they're constantly trying to remind people that they are in college and old enough to do what they want. For this reason, they may resent people who want to tell them otherwise.

Set your rules and regulations, but don't be that landlord that always wants to make residents feel trapped in their apartment.

Build personal relationships with them, and as cliche, as it may sound, residents may retain their apartments solely because of their relationship with their landlords.

Why Shouldn’t You Slow Down your Student Housing Marketing?

It's not the right time to slack on your student housing marketing plan because, in recent times, more people have intended to stay in their current housing community but are open to change if the right price and features are offered. 

Use these student housing marketing suggestions to supplement your current approach, and evaluate your efforts to identify the most effective methods for bringing about change in your neighborhood.

Leverage These Student Housing Marketing Strategies

The best technique for student housing marketing is to combine existing marketing (social media, digital marketing, etc) with new and innovative marketing strategies.

This helps to ensure a long-term supply of new residents while retaining existing residents.

Follow these strategies, and you have a good shot at succeeding in your marketing and student housing business.

Last but not least, you can also leverage on a Student Housing Management Software to help you better manage your operations, increase your marketing exposure and boost your revenue. Schedule a call with us to learn more!

Improve Your Property's Management, Operation & Revenue With Booking Ninjas Property Management System

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