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Seasonal factors are in play when rental activity slows down from November to January, but that can provide an opportunity when you’re trying to figure out how to maximize your holiday advertising. In fact, the slow market conditions can make it even easier for you because people looking for a new place during the holidays may be desperate to sign a lease and get their housing situation squared away. Here are two likely groups for you to target for holiday advertising.

Students and Teachers

The usual housing rush for students and teachers happens during the summer as people try to secure housing before the fall semester. However, as admissions numbers skyrocket and open slots tighten, many colleges are increasing their number of spring admissions, where students don’t start the school year until the second (winter) semester. Increasing reliance on adjuncts and other nontenured teaching staff also makes it likely that there are more teachers looking for housing at year-end.

All this means that if you've got a college or university in your area, you’re likely to have plenty of associated renters looking to sign a lease during the holidays.

How to Reach Them

  • Hit the net: When you’re dealing with a young demographic, you should always make the Internet your first priority for outreach. Craigslist is popular in many areas, particularly urban centers, but even most local newspapers have online classified ads, so take advantage of that resource. Additionally, Facebook is always eager to sign up advertisers and can often target your ads directly to young adults in your region, boosting the impact of your spending.
  • Canvass the campus: A college campus is one of the few places where posted flyers are a vital part of the community, so you’re missing out if you’re not advertising available rental units on bulletin boards and other notice areas. Also, make sure to check with the school’s housing office, as many of them host advertising for local landlords to help their students find off-campus apartments.

Seasonal Migrant Workers and Retail

With an estimated three million seasonal and migrant agricultural workers in the United States, the odds are good that you have some in your area who need housing. It’s important to remember that the migrant workforce is more mobile than ever. While harvesting season may have ended months ago in your area, chances are that any migrant workers who call it home have continued traveling around the south right into winter. In many cases, their off-season is only a few months around the holidays, so it’s a prime time for them to be looking for housing.

The retail sector is also heavily dependent on seasonal workers, and if yours is one of the many areas with a shipping warehouse nearby, employers like Amazon are probably hiring a lot of people for the holiday rush, and they’ll be looking to rent.

How to Reach Them

  • Be willing to lease short term: While the ideal is a long and stable lease, if you’re having difficulty finding renters, it doesn't make sense to stay stubborn about short-term alternatives. Many seasonal workers don't stay in one location for more than six months, and that can be the perfect amount of time to tide you over until the spring and summer peak seasons.
  • Coordinate with employers: Many companies that rely on seasonal workers may be eager to work with you to place their employees in stable housing, so be sure to contact their main offices or on-site locations. Even if they don’t have an official housing liaison program, they’ll likely be happy to let you post flyers or insert an advertisement in office newsletters.
POSTED November 24 2014 11:18 AM

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