Oakwood Management Company
Current Incentive: $500 visa gift card and free months rent to get a tenant.
High Point on the Columbus Commons is a multifamily building located in the heart of Columbus on High Street. The building is right on the Columbus Commons and near the Scioto Mile, a prime location. Oakwood Management Company is one of the largest management companies in Central Ohio with more than 8,000 units to date. The company is predominantly focused on multifamily real estate but it’s also heavily involved in retail spaces, office space, and single family housing. Before we moved in, we were competing with three other companies in the building. The location had a high demand so we decided to move forward with the deal. We are honored to have them as one of our clients and have had an amazing time working with their team.
Our target demographic: Business travelers and individuals coming to Columbus for the Convention Center. We purchased higher end materials and furniture and supplied Hermes bath products for every guest. Overall, the units required no rehabbing or touch ups at the time of moving in and that made the process to get the units up and running extremely fast.
We even went the extra step of teaming up with a local art gallery to create custom oil paintings for the units. The gallery owner himself created the art work in extra large 5 feet by 5 feet canvas to optimize the wall space for the Columbus Commons units. The oil paint was the most time consuming part of the process because it traditionally takes 2 weeks or more to dry.
In this case, our units were scattered throughout the building which posed some challenges. The main issue was that we had to be extremely selective with whom we allowed to book the units as there were long term tenants on both sides of the unit. This also further pushed us in the direction of us targeting business travelers rather than regular tourists. Another challenge was the security camera issue. Typically, to avoid issues, we install exterior security cameras to view who is coming and leaving our units and also to keep track of how many people are in the unit at a given time. Because these were common hallways we couldn’t do this so we had to make sure that we had additional qualifications that the guests had to meet prior to accepting a booking.
The other matter was competition in the building. There were 3 other competitors in the building that were going after the same target demographics. Therefore we had to make sure our marketing was better than all of the competitors to stay ahead. This led us to experiment more and improve with online ads, SEO optimization and customer service to make sure we were leading in revenue. One of our interesting approaches that we discovered was concentrating on sharing with guests how we handled the sanitation of the apartments during Covid. We experimented with changing the images of the listings to include details on our sanitization procedures. The images looked relatively cheesy, but they ended up performing extremely well with our target audience. We changed our marketing strategy to show guests what we were doing to keep the units safe for them. As a result of making changes, our customer guest experience returned positive reviews, and many of these business travelers came back to rebook the same unit during multiple return trips to the city!
Another helpful aspect that we tried was working with local companies that used to have relationships with one of our competitors that went under. Open Door was a very similar short term rental company, but they were entirely dependent on commercial stays from large corporations flying in people for interviews. This unfortunately led them to close their doors but it opened up a huge opportunity for our company to step in and pick up the marketshare they left off. At the time I am writing this, we have already started making partnerships with local businesses, but I am extremely eager to see how we can monetize real estate sales from the people who stay with us and end up moving to the area. There are still some complications with how to structure the arrangement with commission splitting so I will update this case study after we find a solution.
In the end, we managed to secure the highest returns for our style of unit in all of downtown Columbus. After several months of competition and the Covid pandemic, we ended up being the last short term rental management company standing in the Columbus Commons. The competition in the area either went under, refused to pay their clients or closed their doors completely. During the pandemic, our units still produced an average of $3,481.67 per month, which ended up being more than double Oakwood’s market rent. Our team is excited and optimistic about how these units will perform next year with returning customers and an even better approach to marketing.
Despite obvious challenges during the pandemic, we feel we were extremely fortunate this year and are thankful to the Oakwood for giving us the opportunity to prove our worth. We cannot wait to do more units with them in the future and help them expand their portfolio.