7 Creative Ways to Optimize Your Resident Portal

Before resident portals – what we like to refer to as “The Dark Ages” here at Updater –multifamily management was nothing short of a nightmare. Between scanned checks (and inevitably, bounced checks), human error, and miscommunication between residents and management, working without a resident portal was a major pain point for nearly every management team.

While we’ve made a lot of progress, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. How can we most effectively leverage our portals for all they’re worth? Read on for a number of creative ways to better engage your residents on your resident portal and bring even more value to your business.

Get the engagement you really want
Never underestimate the power of a free award. Next time you want to get your residents’ feedback, incentivize them to fill out your survey by giving them $5.00 in laundry credit or $5.00 off of next month’s rent to the first thirty people that fill out a survey on your resident portal. It’s a great way to build up a rewards system and attract the kind of engagement and feedback you want.

Book the elevator on moving day
Nothing says “welcome” to your apartment community like a seamless move-in day. Just like your residents submit work requests on your resident portal, you can improve their resident move-in experience by instructing them to book the elevator directly through your resident portal. It eliminates any miscommunication (and later, a headache) when the moving truck arrives, only to find they have to walk everything up to the fifth floor.

Host a monthly raffle
Consider hosting a recurring raffle to promote good resident behavior. For example, when residents pay their rent on time, advertise that they’ll be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a gift card. Hint: Home-related gift cards to Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Bed Bath & Beyond tend to work well for this. It’s a subtle but thoughtful way of demonstrating to your residents that you appreciate that they’re doing their part.

Connect up with concierge services
With a guided concierge-level service like Updater, your residents can sign-in to their resident portal as part of their pre-move checklist. Translation: You’ll increase the number of early portal sign ups, getting new residents into your system quickly and without constant reminders.

Foster community
Encourage your residents to take advantage of your resident portal’s shared community calendar. It’s a great way for residents to plan and execute community-wide events like summer BBQ’s, wine-tastings, or movie nights in your game room. But, why does it matter to you? Engaged and happy residents spell three things – retention, retention, retention!

Advertise your local partnerships
It’s all about the local for millennial residents. If you partner with local businesses like a restaurant or a food co-op, your resident portal is a great place to advertise your local partnerships (thus appealing to your residents’ key tastes). For example, you might hand out a few free gift cards to the local restaurant after residents complete a short survey.

Streamline service requests
This one should be a no-brainer, but most residents don’t want to call in their service requests. They’ll want to inform your maintenance staff that they’re having a problem ASAP, regardless of whether the office is closed or not. Digitize all of your maintenance transactions for things like work orders and reserving parking so that nothing slips through the cracks.

At the end of the day, resident portals are evolving to be that much more than a place for your residents to simply submit their rent. Property managers everywhere are putting on their creative hats and using them to engage their residents and improve resident move-in. With a few of these tips, you’ll be better equipped to improve your business and your resident experience.


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About the Author
Hi, I'm Jenna Weinerman. I'm the Marketing Director at Updater and responsible for spreading our message through marketing programs, events, public relations, partnerships and more. I'm an endless seeker of knowledge, a lover of craft brews, and a huge Philadelphia sports fan. I also have more moving tips and tricks in my head than any normal person should.
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