As Johnny Mathis once sang, 'it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go'. The run-up to Christmas isn't far away, and it won't be long before the decorations are up, the Christmas songs start playing and thoughts turn to who’ll be carving the turkey and setting the Christmas pudding alight.
The festive period is an excellent time in which to engage with your customers, solidifying relationships and offering some festive cheer to the landlords and tenants who help your business to thrive.
Below, we take a look at some of the best ways to embrace the festive season as the country gets ready to eat too much chocolate, watch Home Alone for the 900th time and give those deep-buried board games their once-a-year airing…
Good tidings we bring…
Christmas is a time for reflection and helping those less fortunate, which is why many agents choose to partner up with local charities to raise money for good causes. It could be a local children's charity, a food bank, a hospice or a more high-profile organisation.
Popular ways of raising money at this time of the year include Santa dashes, raffles, competitions, donations, Christmas jumper days, Secret Santa and sponsored walks or runs.
Not only will your staff benefit from doing something wholesome and heart-warming, it's also a great way of engaging with customers and the local community as everyone comes together to raise significant sums for various worthy initiatives. It’s also an effective way of demonstrating that your business takes its Corporate Social Responsibility seriously.
Tips and guidance for consumers
While Christmas is a time for fun and festivities, there's still the serious business of managing tenancies to attend to. Therefore, it's always worthwhile reminding your tenants and landlords of their responsibilities.
Many tenants go away for Christmas and New Year which makes it beneficial for landlords to check on vacant properties, as there is an increased chance of theft. Landlords can also use this time to check ventilation and carry out other upkeep tasks. Remember to agree this with your tenants though!
At this time of year, the chances of property damage and maintenance issues are that much higher due to winter weather. With this in mind, it's also a good time to offer landlords and tenants guidance on the preventative measures they can take to keep a rental property in good condition over the festive season.
All of this can be done by posting on social media, emailing your database with tips and advice or updating your website with useful content such as blogs or infographics.
Social competitions and prizes
Interacting with customers - both existing and prospective - is an extremely important part of your business. The next few weeks is the perfect time to up your engagement, as lots of people will have free time between Christmas and New Year. It's also a time when many people are thinking about a fresh start, considering their options and looking for new things.
Running social media competitions for landlords and tenants could help to raise your profile and in the case of landlords, provide you with more prospects to contact.
Christmas quizzes or interactive competitions provide a great means of engaging your target audience. You could offer free hampers, experiences or services in exchange for people's contact details, publicising it all on social media and interacting with a whole host of consumers along the way.
Christmas offers, gifts and incentives
The season of generosity and kindness could be a good time to reward your landlords with a deal of some sort. Or you could use an offer to entice new business.
You might wish to reduce your management fees for long-term tenants, offer a guaranteed rent package, cheaper tenant referencing fees or provide some kind of incentive for landlords to use your agency over the competition.
It’s also a good idea to give back to your key customers in the form of presents and gifts. A small gift – chocolates or a bottle of wine - to show someone they are a valued customer can go a long way.
Another idea is to host a drop-in for clients where you open your office a little later than usual, get out the mince pies and mulled wine and crank up the Christmas music.
It provides the perfect opportunity to interact informally with clients, while also giving them the chance to ask for advice or talk about anything property-related. You could coincide this with a local festive event such as a market, fête or carol concert as you know local people will be out, about and in the Christmas spirit during these times.