The outbreak of COVID-19 transformed our day-to-day lives and had a major impact on the letting industry. Social distancing and lockdown measures confined people and businesses to their homes and altered the way property management was conducted.
Unsurprisingly, many agencies struggled to adapt, with many being forced to furlough their staff as the first two weeks of the coronavirus saw a 57% fall in demand for rental housing.
Although restrictions are easing and the rental market is gaining momentum, there are concerns around the world that there could be a second peak. Even if there isn’t another peak, the effects of the outbreak are likely to continue to be felt for some time to come.
Now is not a time to relax, it is time to make sure you’re ready to adapt and thrive in the new normal. Coronavirus has presented a number of opportunities that, if taken, can result in your business emerging from the crisis in a solid position.
Plan for multiple outcomes
While it may seem like that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is over, that isn’t what you should base your business plan on. There is a chance of a second peak which could mean reverting back to more severe lockdown measures and further impacts on the industry and economy.
The question is how to plan for uncertainty. Multiple scenarios should be explored and plans should be created for each outcome. You may think that some scenarios are more likely than others but experts at McKinsey strongly advise that you shouldn’t disregard them. Having these plans will allow you to adapt quickly, which is vital in a climate where circumstances can change almost overnight.
Short-, medium- and long-term outcomes need to be considered for multiple factors. This includes planning for different rates of economic recovery and impacts of the pandemic. Consider areas where you are most at risk and where you can excel. By planning for all scenarios you turn uncertainty into something your business is prepared for.
Your plans should not just aim for survival but also for success. However, it is important to adjust your targets to be realistic so you aren’t setting yourself up to fail.
Reposition your messaging
There’s not much point adapting your business to the new normal if no one knows about it. The outbreak has changed your customers’ priorities and needs drastically, so you can’t, therefore, continue to communicate how you were pre-outbreak.
People won’t respond to messaging that aims to show how great your company is at property management. Your messaging needs to be repositioned to demonstrate how your company can help your customers during the new normal.
Take this time to reconnect with your audience, listen to their needs and interact with them. Build relationships with both your existing and potential customers. Amplify the positive changes you have made for both your staff and customers as this is what people will be looking for and will remember after the pandemic.
Additionally, your new services and messaging can open up your company to a new audience whose needs have now changed. This will be extremely beneficial when trying to regain momentum post-outbreak.
Explore digital solutions
The coronavirus outbreak has meant that property managers have been forced to manage tenancy journeys remotely. As a result, many companies have turned to technology to help them navigate the new normal.
While many have adopted tech solutions out of the necessity of the outbreak, many have also realised the benefits of digitising the lettings journey. These tech solutions allow your company to adapt to change quickly and efficiently so you don’t get left behind.
Consumer research conducted by Nielsen states that, after the crisis, people’s daily routines will be altered by a new cautiousness about health, implying the effects of the outbreak on people’s behaviour could potentially be long-term. Digitising your services will, therefore, allow your company to thrive in the new normal’s contact-free climate.