Can You Handle the Truth?
Whether you realize it or not, tenants are taking note of their rental experiences and sharing that information with prospective renters on the Internet.
As more consumers turn to online reviews to help make purchasing decisions, apartment ratings and review websites are becoming much more than just a passing fad.
But that’s no cause for alarm. Positive reviews and ratings are a great selling point to attract tenants who are scanning through pages of rental listings, and a positive way for landlords to garner valuable feedback on how tenants view their rental property.
Reading reviews on the Internet can take a thick skin. Rather than going kicking and screaming over the reality of online reviews, landlords can spin this process into a fertile and free opportunity to market online.
Here are five simple tips on how to approach apartment reviews and ratings from Ben Meyer, content director at ApartmentRatings.com, the largest apartment ratings site on the Internet:
#1 “ Be proactive. Take the time to respond to tenants who post legitimate concerns. This doesnt mean you need to respond to every rant or complaint, but responding online to legitimate concerns in a timely manner shows credibility and will help you build a positive reputation online.
#2 “ Dont take it personally. All opinion websites for big ticket items tend to skew negative, and that includes apartments. Satisfied tenants are much less likely to leave feedback than those with a particular gripe. Although it can be tempting to respond emotionally, it is best to be respectful and consider it an opportunity to address a problem.
#3 “ Dont sweat the isolated case. Users of review sites are generally savvy enough overlook one bad review, but a single overly-aggressive response by a manager can be a definite red flag for apartment hunters. Even strongly refuting a single claim can come off looking defensive. When a one-off complaint is totally unconstructive, often the best thing to do is just ignore it.
#4 “ Set up automatic alerts. These days, managing your online reputation is an important part of being a landlord, but it can also be a real time suck to regularly check numerous sites for new feedback. ApartmentRatings offers building managers the ability to receive email notifications when new comments are left about one of their properties. You can also use more general services like Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your property across the Web.
#5 “ Embrace reviews. Encourage tenants to write honest reviews “ positive and negative alike. This demonstrates that you take consumer reviews seriously, and will also help increase the number of positive reviews. Getting more reviews helps paint a more accurate picture of your property.
Ben Meyer is Director of Content for ApartmentRatings.com, the largest apartment ratings website on the Internet. The site features more than 950,000 user-submitted ratings and reviews of apartments across the United States. Ben also oversees content on Oh My Apartment, a blog for apartment renters and TenantMarket.com, a site that helps landlords fill vacancies by connecting them with quality tenants.
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