How Portland apartments digital passport provides benefits to residents as well as local businesses.
By Paul Bergeron
Like in many parts of the country, downtown local businesses have endured tremendous challenges caused by the COVID-19 economy. For many, operations have had to pivot, and in heartbreaking fashion, others have shut down completely.
Downtown Portland is no different. But with recent vaccine news leading to optimism, and the partnership help delivered by one apartment community, things are looking brighter in 2021.
NBP Capital’s Director of Brand Marketing Sydney Webber noticed last spring that her normally buoyant neighborhood had started to look a lot different when COVID-19 took hold.
She had an idea. To support the area and provide benefits to her residents at Meetinghouse, a 232-unit garden-style community, Webber created a digital passport coupon book in partnership with many nearby merchants in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. From sushi to skating, and for coffee and pets, the passports offers variety.
NBP Capital, a commercial real estate firm, opened Meetinghouse Apartments last fall. The company’s in-house management firm, Templeton, operates the property. People from around the city have been drawn to the small-town, all-are-welcome vibe.
While the apartment building features open floor plans and impressive amenities, Webber says the thriving neighborhood and dozens of local businesses are what draw renters.
“This was the perfect test location because of the relationship we already had with the local business association and the timing with the holiday season,” Webber says of the program, which began Nov. 24. “We hope that if the pilot is successful it is something we can scale to other neighborhoods in Portland and beyond.”
Local Businesses Drive Portland Apartments’ Website Traffic
The winter 2020 digital passport is a variation of one the company used when Meetinghouse first opened in fall 2019. Then, Templeton distributed a paperback passport containing 40 local businesses. It was modeled after a U.S. passport and was included in move-in gifts for new residents. Given the shift in circumstances, Webber decided to overhaul the passport and create something with more flexibility.
The paper passport was reserved for current residents only. Today, it’s a more inclusive experience. As the Portland apartments’ website reads, “You don’t have to live at Meetinghouse apartments to become a passport subscriber or even live in Sellwood-Moreland to unlock coupons. We only require you love Sellwood-Moreland.”
Webber says the program has created local media buzz and the participating businesses’ websites have a link to Meetinghouse, driving traffic to its property website. Anyone who visits the website can subscribe for free.
“It shows that as a company we value our local businesses, and the passport amplifies our brand name to potential renters and beyond,” Webber says. “Introducing the passport is part of the sales process for the leasing team. It helps our brand and neighborhood to stand out.”
Webber advertises the passport through a variety of venues. Participating businesses have a poster with a QR code on display for their customers.
“The passport relies on the power of cross-promotion between businesses as well as user support, establishing it as a valuable consumer resource,” she says. “We hope to continue to partner with local business alliances and media sources to drive traffic to the passport and hope it will continue to grow in 2021 and beyond.”
About the author:
Paul Bergeron has been reporting on the apartment industry since 2002 and served 20 years as editor-in-chief for National Apartment Association’s UNITS magazine. He currently is editor of his LinkedIn media platform Thought Leadership Today and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.