It’s no secret that reviews play an important part when renters are choosing a community. Reviews can be affected by things like customer service, living conditions, and amenities. But have you considered the impact of parking?
A recent Brightlocal survey found that 86% of consumers read reviews for businesses, including 95% of those aged 18-34. 91% of that age range trust online reviews “as much as personal recommendations.” Considering that millennials are one of the largest groups of renters, good reviews are vital.
So how does parking fit in? 88% of renters look for secure resident parking as a community amenity (NMHC/Kingsley).
If parking is one of the most important amenities to your residents, but it’s poorly managed, you can expect to hear about it online. 80% of 18-24 year olds have left online reviews, and parking is the number one complaint of renters nationwide (J Turner).
Bad parking policy, poor enforcement, residents with too many cars, and live-in “guests” can all create a bad parking experience for your residents.
“The parking situation has my rating at a 2.5 star rating from a 5 star...Parking between both sides of this complex is ridiculous. There isn’t one spot available. Please find a solution.”
“First off, there are not enough parking spots for all of the residents living here. Guests, visitors? God help you.”
So what to do? Here’s how you can help improve those poor parking reviews:
Address Parking Problems
Start with doing a parking audit. What are the main problems? What are the parking issues residents bring up the most in their online reviews or in the office?
Review your parking rules in the lease agreement and make sure parking policy is up to date and clearly outlined. Residents notice when rules are being enforced fairly, and when they’re not. Be sure to regularly patrol the parking areas and give warnings or take action when appropriate.
If residents have too many cars, use trackable, numbered decals to limit how many they are allowed to have. Segregate guest parking into marked clusters or zones to make it easier to quickly check and enforce those spaces.
A cloud-based parking software like Parking Boss allows you to manage and track your resident cars, guest parking, and any parking violations you or patrol issue.
Stephanie Young, a senior property manager for Greystar, rolled out Parking Boss after realizing the impact the community’s out-of-control parking was having on their reviews. “We have to manage parking so that our residents have a better experience, leave us better reviews, and we get more residents,” she said.
As parking improved, she also saw an improvement in her online reviews. Other managers have seen the positive effects of better parking as well:
Give Genuine Responses to Reviewers
Respond to any existing reviews, letting them know you are working on a solution. Reviewers want to see genuine answers to their complaints, rather than generic, canned responses.
Surveyed reviewers said they want a response to show “commitment to resolve the issue, authentic/customized response, and the right attitude.”
When your parking problems are being dealt with, residents will take notice. Don’t just leave reviews up to the complainers. Once your parking has improved, reach out to residents and ask for updated reviews. Almost half of residents left a review of a property when they were asked to (surveyed by J Turner).
With many renters still owning cars, parking is a valuable community amenity, and well-managed parking makes for happier residents. While there will always be people who love to complain, don’t let parking be a reason be a reason for bad reviews.
2017 Apartment Renter Preferences Report, NMHC/Kingsley
2018 Resident Attitude Towards Renewal and Online Reputation, J Turner Research
2018 Local Consumer Review Survey, Brightlocal
The Next Gen Apartment: Technology and Lifestyle Preferences of Renters, J Turner Research