January 07, 2020
For years, marketing agencies and the multifamily industry as a whole have insisted that online reputation management (ORM) is the most successful way to increase your leads and combat negative reviews for a more positive presence online.
But is that actually true? In our recent blog, we explored both sides of that big question.
While online reputation management is definitely important for responding to negative reviews and keeping open communication with renters, it is not the only tool a multifamily property should employ.
Ultimately, online reputation management alone does not increase your amount of ratings and therefore might not move the needle on the number of leads you receive monthly. A different kind of approach is required — one that supplies quantifiable results.
Automatic Ratings Increase Competitive Advantage
Ever since Yelp and Google created the online review market, the multifamily industry has maintained that requesting positive reviews and responding immediately to negative reviews are critical steps for maintaining the online curb appeal of a community.
With voluntary ratings platforms, increasing the number of ratings for your property quickly can prove extremely difficult, because the addition of new ratings is completely in the hands of renters. Property management teams can employ ORM tactics to solicit reviews, but ultimately, the resident decides whether to publish one or not.
This is where automatic ratings come in.
Consider this: at a property with 200 units, you might be lucky to get 20 voluntary resident reviews over the course of a year. However, with an automatic rating platform, you could get up to 100 ratings per year: one for each resident who moves out.
Automatic ratings are generated from financial data that a property naturally creates throughout a renter’s lease. When the renter moves out, a rating is automatically published.
This means — with an automatic ratings tool — properties have a new online platform where they can increase their ratings every single month and have more to show in search results besides the voluntary reviews left by residents.
The addition of an automatic rating can help properties stand out from those that don't have one. That online curb appeal just keeps looking better each day.
Automatic Ratings Balance Resident Reviews
Voluntary resident reviews are — by nature — uncontrollable and unpredictable.
While there are many pleased residents who will be willing to write a positive online testimonial, there are often an even greater number who are easily offended, and gain some level of satisfaction by venting their frustration online.
In the current online reputation environment, these voluntary ratings are the only results that display when prospective residents search for a community. Based on these ratings alone, residents must make a decision:
- If the overall rating is high enough, this confirms that the community is a good option for the resident
- If the overall rating is low, then the resident must read reviews to see if there are any that would remove the community from consideration
There are plenty of different voluntary ratings platforms that a resident can use to help with this decision, but no true alternatives...until now.
With the advent of automatic ratings, prospective residents can see two different types of ratings for each community: the opinionated reviews of prior residents and the automated rating for each resident who moved out.
The Power of Automatic Ratings
There's no denying it: ratings are a critical element of each resident's buyer journey.
According to Binary Fountain's 2019 Renter Insight & Digital Engagement Survey, "96 percent of respondents considered online reviews and ratings when searching for a rental property and 85 percent also said they would consult online reviews even if they had been given a personal referral at the start of their search."
Even with a word-of-mouth referral, 85 percent are still checking online reviews.
When they do, what impression do they get when they only see a small handful of voluntary reviews and ratings that reflect a wide range of personal opinions? With this as their only reference, what decisions will they make about the next step in their buyer journey?
Now you can supplement the voluntary ratings you already collect with automated ratings from OpenProperty. The platform is designed to address the gaps in online reputation management strategies, especially the amount of time that it takes to collect a significant number of ratings.
Intrigued by this achievable prospect? Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about how automatic ratings can help your communities stand out from the competition — now, and into the future.