By Jessica Fiur, News Editor
Phoenix—At the 2012 Apartment Internet Marketing (AIM) conference in Phoenix, panelists discussed the importance of Internet ratings for multifamily communities. With the prevalence of ratings and review sites, it is important for a property manager to manage these reviews.
According to the panelists, keeping track of the reviews of your communities can help you make sure your brand has the right message.
“People are going to have these conversations with or without you,” Wade Hewitt, vice president, apartmentratings.com said. “Engagement can really be a difference maker.”
In addition to steering the conversation about your property, reviews can also be used to see what other communities are doing right.
“Use reviews to find out about your competitors and about what people like,” Erica Galos-Alioto, vice president, local, Yelp, said.
Of course, reviews are never going to be all positive. But this doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the negative reviews.
“Everyone has spent time building a business, so they can become insular and nitpick the reviews… take a step back. You should be focused on what your customer wants,” Galos-Alioto said.
Negative reviews can also be useful to property managers.
“Every review has some truth,” Patrick Grandinetti, head of real estate, Google, said. “If not, someone wouldn’t have posted it.”
“Getting a bad review is a fact of life… so if you get a bad review, it helps ground you in reality,” he said.
Ultimately the panelists agreed that the most important thing is to engage your residents.
Galos-Alioto even suggested doing special things with your residents to show you care, such as bringing them gift baskets for special occasions; however, not everyone agreed with this sentiment.
During the panel discussion, one attendee Tweeted: “I don’t think gift baskets are the answer.”