How to Increase your ORA™ Score: The Power of Apartment Reviews and Online Reputation
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Here are 5 ways to increase your multifamily property's ORA™ score and improve online reputation, drawing prospects to your community right away.
According to JTurner Research, 75% of prospects look at online ratings multiple times in the apartment search process and 70% of prospects will choose to visit a property with a better online reputation.
ORA™ score (Online Reputation Assessment) was created by JTurner in order to compile online property ratings across more than 20 review sites into one simple score. Each month, JTurner uses a statistical model to aggregate online reviews and create a score for each property based on a scale of 0 to 100. This score allows property management companies to compare themselves with competitors and evaluate different properties within their own portfolio.
Turner Research tracks the online ratings of more than 71,000 properties in the U.S. with nearly 5 million total reviews. Each year, properties compete for spots on the ORA™ Elite 1% Power Rankings to be named as one of the top properties in the whole country for online ratings by residents.
Here's how #PropertyManagers can increase their ORA™ and gain national recognition:
1. Hire the Right People
The best online reputation strategy begins with creating wonderful experiences for residents. Successful property management companies hire people who can provide customer service that is unmatched.
Stephanie Williams, President of Bozzuto Management Company, oversees a portfolio of more than 215 properties and has helped Bozzuto earn its spot as The #1 Management Company for Online Reputation - five years in a row.
Williams believes that there's no substitute for good service and that the people her team hires make all the difference. In an interview with JTurner, she shares some of her secrets to a stellar online reputation:
"We start with our hiring process. Since our reputation is earned through the everyday experience we provide, we ensure that we hire people who will best represent our brand every day. This means they shared our brand’s values and use them to govern their decision-making as they serve our customers."
Williams knows that the best way to improve online reputation is by making sure that residents are happy in their homes. She focuses on building a strong legacy of meaningful service and experiences for residents in Bozzuto communities. Providing incentives for positive reviews won't help her company in the long run, so Williams focuses on the fundamentals.
2. Ask Residents for Honest Opinions
After property management teams focus on delivering meaningful service to their residents, they'll need to start asking for reviews.
Exceptional service offers a great opportunity for staff to ask residents for honest feedback and see if they're open to posting an online review about their experience. It's helpful to get the whole team involved in asking residents for reviews, maintenance staff can help too.
According to JTurner's Mechanics of Online Review Sites and ILSs, the majority of apartment hunters (72%) consider a property with 450+ positive reviews as more credible than a property with less than 160 reviews. Prospects are more likely to visit a property with a higher number of reviews, so management teams should be actively seeking reviews as often as possible.
That being said, communities shouldn't solicit reviews for gifts, drawings, or other incentives. If reviews are earned this way, it's likely that someone may uncover these practices and expose the property online – reducing credibility in the long run. Asking for honest feedback or writing sincere thank you notes to residents should be enough.
3. Create an Open-Door Policy
No property is perfect, and it's inevitable that there will be a time when a resident's experience is less than ideal. Think noisy neighbors, maintenance issues, smoking complaints, etc.
The best thing that a management team can do is to create an 'Open Door Policy' and stick to it.
That means responding to complaints promptly via email and inviting residents to come into the office to talk about their concerns. Property managers should remain available and engaged with their residents when issues arise.
Residents are more likely to have a positive opinion of their property management team when they feel like their concerns are being heard. Some companies have online portals such as Bozzuto Listens, that allow residents to submit their concerns privately 24/7, so that management is notified right away. Staff members are given a chance to proactively find a solution to the problem before the issue is publicized online.
4. Respond to Reviews Quickly
Even with these measures in place, it's nearly impossible to run a property without one or two negative reviews being posted over time.
Property staff should respond to all reviews quickly and with care. It helps to explain what steps will be taken to resolve the issue in the review and what steps have already been taken to prevent the issue from escalating.
This allows the resident who wrote the review to feel respected, knowing that their concern is being addressed, and it makes the management team seem more responsive to prospects who are reading online reviews without full context.
5. Have Reviews on Multiple Platforms
When it comes to the many online review sites, it's difficult to choose which to focus on. According to research published by JTurner, the top platforms in regards to a prospect's decision to rent include Google, Apartments.com, and ApartmentRatings.com.
Renters also consider reviews from
Facebook and other sites during their search, but generally believe that reviews posted on independent review sites are more credible than reviews posted on property websites or Facebook.
JTurner found Google to be the most impactful site on a prospect’s decision to rent at a property. While JTurner does not release their exact algorithm to compute ORA™ scores, it's a possibility that they may weight Google reviews more heavily than reviews on other platforms because of their increased impact.
When a prospect searches for a property, its Google reviews are showcased on the search engine right away – making them nearly impossible to miss. Property staff should take this into account when asking for resident feedback on different review platforms.
That concludes the top 5 tips for improving your property's #ORA™ Score. Take a look at more resources from JTurner here to view FAQs, best practices, and more information about ORA™ Scores and #multifamily online reputation.