Attracting Young Residents with Website Design

Published Friday, January 6, 2017
by NAA

Is your website keeping up with changing demands of the smartphone generation? If you’re thinking about updating your website and not thinking mobile first, you could be making a costly mistake.

The National Apartment Association spoke with Barrie Nichols, vice president of sales and marketing at University Student Living, about the mobile designs that have worked best to attract students to the apartment communities.

Why is a mobile design so important? What are students looking for?

Students lose interest really fast, and they don’t have the patience for a slow load speed. They need to get information really easily and quickly. They can’t stand to wait on slow load speed, and it’s hard to get the conversion that you need when your site doesn’t load fast. Making your site mobile helps to increase the load speed of your page.

What elements should always be at the top of a mobile-first site to keep students scrolling and interested?

The first thing they want to see is something that will engage them. We like to start with a video to show off the lifestyle of the property and get them connected to the community. We use a scrolling page architecture, which lets you continually scroll the site without having to change pages. It’s a seamless mobile experience, and it delivers the same experience and functionality as a desktop computer.

Is there a website feature that you know is effective but isn’t on many community sites?

Click to text. That’s a really interesting feature. Students don’t actually want to talk to you unless they have a big problem. Click-to-text functionality lets the students text your operations managers right from the site.

How important is video on a property site?

It’s very important. Prospective residents want to know that you’re living what you’re saying. I like video because it has a visually appealing element right at the top of the site. It needs to be short. Nobody wants to watch a three-minute video unless they’re in it. I think 30 to 60 seconds is a good length—no more than 90 seconds.

How do you add an emotional component to a site that will attract people?

Students want authenticity, and they want to share an experience. We just launched a scholarship this year, and we’re creating short, meaningful videos with the participants. We think that’s going to perform well on our site. When we have Dutch Bros. (a local coffee shop) bringing coffee to residents, our residents will share that and that gets other people interested in living with us. Use your site as a scrolling story of who you are and showcase why the students would want to live there.

In your 20 years in this industry, what has changed the most?

I think the social media platforms are the biggest change. Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat—students now live on these channels, and you have to capture their attention there. You have to be on top of all the platforms. We use Snapchat a lot. We actually created filters for their move-in day, so they could show off to their friends. All of our sites have a live Instagram feed at the bottom. (You can see an example at When you use social channels, you want to share events and things that students care about. Don’t put “rent is late” on Facebook.

Do you take advantage of your resident tech packages in your marketing?

The fastest internet is king. In a Rochester community, we boosted the capability of the bandwidth. They can have up to 1,000 Mbps download speed. I had to get the service provider to write up exactly what they were giving us for capability and speed, and we highlighted that in a lot of different places. It’s really paying off. We’re seeing a significant uptick in preleasing. It’s outpacing our other open properties.


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Latest News

Published Friday, January 6, 2017
Is your website keeping up with changing
Published Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exciting Times for NVSAA! 
Introducing Our New Billing Structure


This is a very exciting time for us! We are offering more opportunities for our members than ever in key areas: Education, Legislative, Networking.

We are also creating ways to do business better. This allows us to build upon our foundation, and facilitate future growth.

The Nevada State Apartment Association is pleased to announce a streamlined billing structure for our membership. We are moving to a calendar year membership cycle where all members will pay their dues in January and enjoy membership benefits through December of that year.

The goal is to shift our entire membership to this more efficient billing cycle by January 1, 2017.

As such, it’s important to begin the process now. Handling membership in this manner is in line with many other Associations across the country and is design designed to minimize confusion on expiration dates and make the budgeting process easier.

Our goal is to make the transition as easy as possible:

If your membership renewal falls due between September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. You will receive an invoice that includes the remaining months of 2015 and all of 2016. Conveniently, your membership will be paid through the end of 2016. The remaining association members expiring in 2016 will receive prorated invoices to finish out next year’s membership. This process puts us on track to begin annual billing for the association, as a whole, in 2017.

Thank you for your cooperation as we make these changes! YOU are what makes the NVSAA the premier multi-family housing association in the region. Let’s keep going and growing!

If you have questions, you can reach me at 702.862.0165

My best to you,

Shelly A. Cochran

Executive Director


Published Friday, April 17, 2015

Record-setting tourism and the strongest convention attendance in several years are driving employment growth and creating apartment demand Las Vegas. Job growth is well above the national average, spurring developers to complete projects that were mothballed since the recession. In addition, multifamily permitting is trending more than 60 percent higher as builders rush to keep up with demand for rental space. While more than 1,400 apartments have been completed during the past year, vacancy fell sharply and concession activity nearly halted on well-located properties near employment hubs. The leisure and hospitality sector is providing the biggest job gains in the economy, although more corporations are relocating to the metro due to its position as a travel destination and the lack of a state income tax. The new workers hired by these companies are choosing to rent in prime areas to the southwest of the city, close to shopping centers, freeways and the Strip. Single-family housing costs in these areas are above the metro average, spurring strong rental growth and pushing vacancy down. Tightening operations will lift rents up 3.4 percent this year, more than 100 basis points above inflation.

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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