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The lease-up period is a crucial time for multifamily building owners. To succeed, the key is to differentiate and promote those key offerings that set your community apart from other local options. Top multifamily operators are finding success in attracting new residents by allowing them to list their units on Airbnb, in a controlled fashion. This Airbnb amenity for lease up marketing is a unique and attractive offering enabled via Pillow, a platform that provides Short Term Rental control, transparency and profit sharing for landlords.

Where Pillow is Working

Several terrific properties across the country have already incorporated Pillow into their lease up strategy.  Bradford Mills Lofts in Louisville, Kentucky adopted the platform before construction was even completed. In Denver, Colorado, The Grand also picked up Pillow during the construction process. Digit 1919 in Dallas has also leveraged the platform. In Seattle, Broadcast Apartments and Waterton Apartments used this as a key lease up feature. Instituting Pillow from the very beginning is an easy and effective way to fill newly available units.

To date, Pillow has created more than 2,000 leads in these buildings which have led almost 100 property tours (and counting) and scores of signed leases attributed solely to this amenity. It’s easy to see why; residents can earn on average an extra $3,500 annually just by renting their unit four nights each month! This simple to use program allows tenants lifestyle flexibility and a convenient way to earn extra money.

“Pillow is definitely a big lure, so much so that at least one out of every seven leases that we have signed thus far, is absolutely because of Pillow,” said Luisa Smoot, community manager for The Grand. “The most recent new tenant took a lease higher than she had originally planned, feeling safe because she could make up the difference with Pillow.”

During the lease-up period, Pillow’s team puts extra effort into marketing. New buildings are given onsite promotional materials to share with their potential renters, and Pillow devotes specialized effort to marketing the amenity.

How Our Airbnb Amenity for Lease Up Marketing Works

Leasing agents are sure to mention the fact that residents can earn a supplemental income with little to no extra effort required on their part. Leasing agents help potential new residents to conceptualize a path to a lower monthly rental payment via the earnings they make through the short-term leases. Incorporating Pillow during the lease-up phase leads to stronger staff buy-in for the program, as they appreciate the help with filling up the building.

Why More Multifamily Buildings Are Using Pillow

Short-term rentals are a massive market, and they’re only expected to grow in popularity in the future. There are more than 5 million Airbnb listings worldwide, and 2 million people are staying in Airbnb listings any given night. More than 200 million people have booked Airbnb stays since its start in 2008. A recent study from the National Multifamily Housing Council found that 43 percent of the nation’s largest apartment firms have had residents list their homes on short-term rental sites without the approval of their building’s owner.

Why Airbnb Guests Love Multifamily Buildings

Multifamily buildings are particularly popular among Airbnb guests. They have amenities guests love, are located in popular housing areas where other housing may not be available, and property managers and homeowner’s associations guarantee that they are well-kept. Perhaps this is why 50 percent of booked stays on Airbnb are in multifamily buildings. In addition, this market isn’t going anywhere. By 2020, Airbnb’s revenue is expected to be as much as $8.5 billion.

How Tenants Benefit from Pillow

Furthermore, offering Pillow during the lease-up process allows multifamily building owners to control the type of tenant they are attracting. 78 percent of millennials want the option to lease their units short term to grant them lifestyle flexibility and bonus income.

“Originally, I was looking to work with a landlord that allowed for Airbnb,” said Brooke Brown, who lives in a building that instituted Pillow during the lease-up phase. “I travel a lot for work and it gets expensive paying rent for an apartment when you are gone more than 30 percent of the time. Being allowed to Airbnb my apartment while I am away for work was the number one factor for me in signing a new lease.”


Overall, offering short-term rental capability during the lease-up period is an effective way to attract new residents and fill units. From the very beginning, residents are aware of this amenity and can plan accordingly.

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. When someone books a short-term rental reservation with a resident, building owners are earning 10 percent of each booked reservation allowing them to invest back into their communities or help cover management expenses. Additionally, building owners receive daily and weekly short-term rental activity reports with key reservation information including dates, guests’ names and contact information. Landlords can also leverage Pillow’s Vacant Unit module to manage and monetize vacant units. With Pillow, landlords can rent out their empty units for a few nights at a time to make the most of this valuable asset. Pillow charges an 8 percent fee per completed reservation: the average property manager can make 10-30 percent more than typical market value by offering short-term rentals in addition to traditional leases. All in all, Pillow offers a one stop shop for managing short term rentals in multifamily buildings. With one service, you can offer your residents the flexibility to do the same and easily monetize your vacant units.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email or visit

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Written by: Todd Conway | Updated July 8, 2018

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