For years now, it feels like everything has been about the millennials. Whether it’s ruining brunch, having weak hands, or even killing the napkin industry—love them or hate them—they’ve been dominating news and marketing trends for years. But with Generation Z coming of age, the world is set for yet another shakeup.
Generation Z is the group born between the mid 1990s and 2010s. And even more so than their millennial forebears, they’re all about technology. Unlike previous generations, they don’t even remember a time when screens weren’t everywhere. They’ve grown up in a state of constant connectivity with on-demand entertainment, services, and information at hand. And unsurprisingly, this has had a major effect on how they interact with the world.
That’s why all sorts of industries are reassessing how they operate in an effort to appeal to this new market. With a swathe of Gen Z hitting rental property age, it’s time for property management to do the same.
Who they are
All up, there are more than 4.5 million members of Generation Z in Australia. Much like millennials, they’re set to be a highly mobile generation, moving through a range of careers, jobs, and homes in their lifetime. And having potentially seen older siblings and even parents struggle to find work in the gig economy, many will value entrepreneurship, flexibility, and financial independence.
Given their focus on technology and connectivity, it’s unlikely they’ll be turning to the newspapers to see what’s on offer in the real estate market. Instead, they’ll be looking online and doing their own research, engaging with a range of different platforms, including social media.
This means when they do make contact with real estate professionals, they’ll be highly informed, have firm expectations, and be well aware of the sort of budget they’re working with.
How to reach them via marketing
More than ever, social media is an important avenue to connect with younger customers, as long as you can find the right platform. Facebook, for example, may be a worse investment than Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube. To make things even more challenging, some members of Gen Z have learned how to game advertising algorithms, deliberately and actively engaging with the content that they like, so they’ll receive more of what they want and less of what they don’t. That means to find them online, you’ll need to think about how you can integrate their interests into your content.
Fortunately some of the tried and true methods are still likely to work. Gen Z regularly check their emails, so if your content is engaging enough, there’s a real opportunity to catch their eye. Likewise, Google is as ubiquitous among Gen Z internet users as those of any other generation, so high-quality, SEO-friendly online content is still an effective investment.
Of course, the message itself is just as important as the medium. As permanent residents of the online world, Gen Z understand what it’s like to be sold to, which can make it difficult to capture their attention. And while some businesses have tried to engage the Gen Z market by adopting the language of memes and viral content, there’s a real challenge to hitting the right tone and not coming off as forced and ingenuine.
Speaking generally, Gen Z are looking to patronise businesses with shared values, and who are transparent about them, so when marketing to them specifically, make sure you’ve carefully considered how you’re positioning your business and your offering.
What they’re looking for in the rental market
While it’s impossible to pigeonhole exactly what Gen Z is looking for more than any other generation, there are clear trends in the sorts of rental properties that appeal to them.
One of the most commonly talked about factors for Gen Z renters is the desire for a greater work-life balance. That means properties that aren’t just convenient for commuting to work, but those that offer strong public transport connections and access to leisure and retail amenities as well.
And while much is made of Gen Z’s online lives, some marketing analysis has suggested that the opposite is just as important as well. In fact, for many members of Gen Z, it is their technological savviness that makes them so aware of the importance of genuine in-person connections, community engagement, and sense of locality and neighbourhood. Given the emphasis on technology, high-speed internet is also a must, especially with the increasing prevalence of working from home.
In terms of actual property management services, Gen Z value seamless, self-service solutions that allow them to operate on their own terms—and the more convenient and customisable the better. Research has shown strong interest in online rent payments and maintenance requests, as well as management of both via app.
How Console can help
As a provider of next-generation property management software, Console has plenty to offer when it comes to attracting and retaining tech-savvy Gen Z renters.
Through our flagship product Console Cloud, we offer a Console tenant app, which allows renters to enjoy self-service access to details about their tenancy, including lease start and end dates, rent amount and paid to date, and the ability to schedule rent payments. To make things even simpler, tenants can also sign up to pay rent via direct debit through Console Pay.
Of particular comfort to phone-averse Gen Z users, tenants can also use this app to raise maintenance requests without ever needing to make a call. All they have to do is log the issue, write a note describing the problem, and add any photos. Once that’s done, it all flows straight into your office’s instance of Console Cloud.
Console Cloud also simplifies and streamlines the inspection process via Console Go Inspect, with effortless inspection reports that can be sent straight to your tenants, so they know exactly what’s going on.
Ultimately, most Gen Z renters want the same things as any other market—convenience, transparency, and personalised services—it’s just how they expect those things to be delivered that has changed. So, make sure you have the right tools to ensure you’re ready for them.