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How to get Millennials and Gen Z to swipe right on your rentals

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Three young people sitting at a table and smiling at something on a cell phone.

As a property manager, you most likely work with tenants that are either Millennials or Generation Z.

According to global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Millennials were the largest cohort of the 2020 US renter population at 37%. By 2030, Gen Z will overtake them at 44% – and even then, Millennials are still estimated to make up 26%.

This has significant implications: as digital natives, Millennials and Zoomers looking to rent will prefer landlords and property managers who are just as tech-savvy as them.

Bottom line: to attract younger-generation tenants to the properties under your management, you’ll need to move with the times.

Here’s how we recommend you market to Millennial and Gen Z renters:

Meet them where they are: online

Global market research firm The Harris Poll found that 67% of Gen Z and 72% of Millennials see social media as an essential part of their lives.

Therefore, if you will be marketing to renters under the age of 41, set your property listing and marketing plan up to find and engage with prospective tenants through social media.

Alongside traditional listing websites, try posting rental ads on the most popular social platforms, like TikTok, while being mindful of Gen Z’s shorter attention spans and highlighting their most wanted amenities such as high-speed Internet and energy-efficient appliances.

Communicate like a Millennial

Millennials are the shyer of the two generations in question – 81% have to muster up the courage to make a phone call, according to a survey by price comparison site BankMyCell – so 3D virtual or self-guided tours will give them the privacy they desire.

When it comes to Millennials and Gen Z, the more self-service and instant gratification you can offer them, the better. The PayProp Tenant portal (branded with the property manager’s name and logo) allows young renters to quickly and conveniently access their invoice history and statements, make electronic rent payments, and submit maintenance requests – again, without having to make a phone call. Plus the portal is mobile-friendly, for the 70% of Millennials and 79% of Gen Z surveyed by research company YPulse who said they “can’t live without their smartphones.”

To minimize and recover arrears, property managers can further approve automated email or text reminders, sent from within the system, making it difficult for renters of any age to ignore.

Be authentic

An affinity for PropTech doesn’t mean either of these generations want a completely hands-off rental experience. While shy, Millennial and Gen Z renters still prefer to know the human behind the tech who cares about them as a person as well as a tenant.

Gen Z can sniff out insincerity like no one’s business. Research by marketing company Data Axle found that a brand’s reputation is a deciding factor for 42% of Gen Z consumers, so it’s crucial that property managers are transparent and genuine in their marketing.

Positive online ratings and reviews are the goal, but how you respond to negative reviews is equally vital, as younger and older generations alike will respect your demonstrated honesty and maturity. Keep it calm and professional, thank your client for their feedback, acknowledge their concerns and invite them to connect with you directly to make things right.

Break the mold of traditional property management marketing

Ultimately, the key is to recognize that both generations grew up immersed in technology and contactless, on-demand services. Understanding and respecting these motives and concerns will be key to marketing to Millennial and Gen Z renters.

Speak to them on their level by showcasing positive reviews, advertising on new platforms, and adopting smart technology. You’ll be rewarded with rental applications from Millennials and Zoomers who see and appreciate your efforts!

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