AllApartments, aiming to become the chief online rental assistant to the 12 million American households that change locations each year, this week makes a move of its own.
Rebranded as SpringStreet and with a redesigned Web site, the company with offices in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz., plans to announce a deal with Microsoft Corp.'s Home Advisor to be the exclusive rental partner. It also will announce a number of new affiliations.
In addition, SpringStreet, which has some 6.5 million listings of rental units in 7,000 U.S. cities, will partner with the Chicago Sun-Times and add the newspaper's listings to its database. SpringStreet will provide its technology to the Sun-Times to allow users of the newspaper's site to customize searches by location, building type or whether a washer and dryer are available.
'FRIEND IN THE NEW CITY'
Aside from rentals, SpringStreet offers visitors a range of relocation assistance, ranging from truck rental and auto insurance to relationship services and information on how to sign up for utilities in the new town.
"It's like having a friend in the new city," said Ms. Sophia Kabler, VP-marketing of SpringStreet.
The new name enables the company to expand beyond apartments to townhouses, condos, houses and other real estate ventures, said Ms. Kabler.
In tight rental markets, such as San Francisco, where vacancy rates are less than 1% and apartment hunting battles are legendary, SpringStreet charges a four-month membership fee of $60 to $75 for immediate notification of vacant units. The service is expected to expand to New York, where membership fees might be as high as $130 for four months. "It's still several thousand dollars [below fees charged by] brokers," Ms. Kabler said.
$3 MIL CAMPAIGN
The company, which has hired San Francisco shop Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, plans to step up marketing with a print and outdoor effort tagged "Log on. Move in." The campaign is estimated at about $3 million. Other efforts include a Web contest offering tickets to the Broadway show "Rent" and free rent for a year, and a test of TV spots, said Ms. Kabler.
Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.