The second largest demographic cohort behind Millennials, Baby Boomers represent a prime marketing target for apartment communities. This is especially true as the generation enters retirement age, a time that is ripe for switching up the environment and moving somewhere new. To help you reach this growing population, we constructed the following quick guide to show you where Boomers are moving, what they look for in a property, and how they’re conducting their searches.
The Baby Boom-Towns
Staying ahead of moving trends is critical when developing apartment marketing strategies for your communities. If you want to court Boomers, you need to know which U.S. metro areas are experiencing the greatest rates of Boomer growth. This information will help you pair marketing resources with the appropriate communities, which ultimately saves money and increases your ROI.
According to a study from the Brookings Institute, metro areas experiencing the largest amount of growth are primarily located in the South and West. The top 10 metros were Raleigh, Austin, Las Vegas, Boise City, Atlanta, Provo, Colorado Springs, Houston, Dallas, and Charlotte, respectively. Floridian cities were surprisingly absent from the list.
Boomer Amenity Preferences
Knowing what amenities Boomers are looking for in an apartment is equally as important as knowing where they plan to live. You want to do your best to understand the amenities that Boomers desire. Otherwise, you could highlight something that’s unwanted while concealing a feature that’s highly coveted.
In a 2015 paper published by Multifamily Executive, surveyors discovered that Boomers are not much different than Millennials when it comes to amenities. Both groups rated pools, gyms, private outdoor spaces, and game areas as the top 4 most desirable community amenities. Both groups also agreed that full kitchens, natural lighting, and storage spaces were the most desirable in-unit amenities.
Boomer Search Methods
Gaining an understanding of the Boomer housing search process is also critical for effective apartment marketing. After all, what good is knowing where Boomers are moving or what amenities they desire if you don’t know how to get in front of them?
In the same Multifamily Executive paper referenced above, researchers found that Boomers primarily consulted Internet Listing Services when searching for an apartment, with 55 percent of those surveyed reporting that they used an ILS in their decision-making process. Approximately 44 percent of those surveyed and 24 percent of those surveyed said that their decision was also based on drive-bys and word of mouth, respectively.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this data is that it fails to account for generic internet search engines like Google, which the paper references on further pages. For example, when specifically asked about the websites they used to begin the apartment search process, roughly 15 percent of Boomers reported using a search engine. Compare this to the 18 percent of Boomers who reported using Apartments.com and you start to understand why many property management companies are putting a ton of effort into improving their apartment website’s SEO.
Overall, the take-home lesson for apartment marketers who want to target Boomers is simple: Allocate ad resources to areas with the fastest Boomer growth; highlight gyms, pools, and other favored amenities on each property website; and maintain strong online visibility through multiple means, including Internet Listing Services and on-site SEO.