Evolving renter expectations have always propelled the apartment amenity race, and 2020 kicked many changes into gear faster than expected. Management companies went to work implementing changes that made social distancing easier and working from home more comfortable for residents. In less than a year, what renters look for—and how they look—has shifted.
From April to December of 2020, there were almost 1.5 million amenity passes created through Amenity Boss, and residents continue to make amenity reservations. In this post, we’ll take a look at our data and industry trends over the last year to help you determine where apartment amenities are headed and what to implement in your communities.
As many residents began working from home last year, priorities like high-speed internet access and extra sound insulation became even more prevalent. High-speed internet may be the most important amenity of them all. Installing fiber-optic internet is a great way to provide reliable internet access to all of your residents. Buildings that can say they’re fiber connected stand out to renters.
WiFi-ready internet is important to your residents, and it's even better if you can offer community-wide WiFi access. It lets residents get online wherever they are, from the pool to the dog park.
Whatever you offer in terms of the internet in your community, make sure you can guarantee residents the ability to stream, game, and work from home without interference. Don’t let poor connectivity prevent you from retaining residents.
Home office and coworking spaces
People are beginning to crave more space as they continue to work from home. From individual units to outdoor common areas, residents want to feel like they have room to live a full life in their community. Making units flexible to fit a variety of needs will be much more common moving forward.
Renters who want extra work spaces at home will look at two bedroom apartments as one bedroom with an office space. Apartments already equipped with flex spaces or offices are premium apartments for work-from-home employees. For those who want office spaces outside of their own homes, consider creating more privacy in your business centers with partitions and walls.
With online amenity reservations, you can easily set and control the capacity levels in these common areas. They also give residents confidence that they’ll have priority in the reserved space. Even during the height of strict social distancing, over 28,000 amenity passes were registered in Amenity Boss for co-working spaces.
Outdoor recreation, dog parks, and fitness
Outdoor areas such as balconies, green space, and dog parks have also gained more popularity in the last year. Almost 5,000 amenity reservations were made for time in pet areas on the Amenity Pass app last year. All the quarantine dogs need room to run and it’s a bonus if their owners get to enjoy the spaces too.
Not only are residents looking to keep their dogs happy, 35,000 registered rooftop passes tell us that they want to spend time outdoors. Whether you live in a warm climate where outdoor amenities are accessible year-round, or you have colder winters, you’re sure to have residents eager to enjoy the sun when they can.
602,250 amenity reservations were made for pool time (with outdoor pool seating reserved over 3,000 times) and 20,500 grill reservations were made. Additionally, 8,600 passes were made for outdoor recreational spaces. Residents get a staycation everyday when your community has outdoor amenities for fun and relaxation.
We also saw a large number of fitness center registrations, with residents creating 727,220 passes. Amenity Boss allowed managers to reopen gyms and fitness centers while maintaining occupancy limits. Residents want convenience and continue to be cautious; give them easy, self-service amenity reservations and peace of mind knowing that gyms won’t be overcrowded.
One trend discussed at NMHC OPTECH 2020 was companies installing hospital-grade ventilation systems to keep the air as clean as possible throughout buildings. The need for buildings to provide fresh, clean air is greater than ever.
In addition to better ventilation systems, special ionization systems have been created to attach to air ducts and kill any viruses that make their way through the building’s vent systems. Urban, mid-to-high-rise buildings can especially take advantage of the opportunity to capitalize on clean air as an amenity.
Grocery and meal delivery apps have taken off in the last year. As long as people work from home, they’ll be eating there more as well. Some pharmacies deliver, and even dog groomers are mobile now, bringing their services to your residents.
An average day at a multifamily community can consist of all sorts of delivery services in addition to traditional mail and package deliveries. Make sure your community is equipped to handle the flood of daily traffic. If you haven’t already, you may need to add more package lockers for storage and designated parking spaces/unloading zones for delivery persons.
With the use of an interactive map of your community, delivery persons can quickly search for units and parcel lockers, freeing up staff time used for giving directions or instructions. The more efficiently you can get delivery vehicles in and out of your community, the easier it is on everyone involved.
Quality engagement and technology
In 2021, it’s probably a given that you have online options for applications, lease signing, paying rent, and submitting maintenance requests. You also know the importance of having access to or hookups for high-speed internet. These days, that’s the bare minimum for tech in multifamily. If you want to set a higher standard for hands-free, socially-distanced, and hassle-free living, some examples of online options to add are:
Even if your community uses traditional metal keys for units and mailboxes, there are plenty of doors you can make accessible through touchless options. Keep your community more secure by using key cards or key fobs for gate and building entry. You can use either of these for access to amenities and package rooms or you can use keyless entry via a keypad or smartphone.
An amenity reservation system ensures social distancing and gives residents the ability to see amenity availability. If you offer online, self-service amenity reservations, residents can register for passes from home instead of signing up in the office. Amenity Boss gives residents the power to see amenity availability from their mobile devices at any time and makes the process hands-off for you.
Virtual & self-guided tours
Another way to minimize contact is with self-guided tours (SGTs). They also allow prospective residents to tour outside of office hours and improve efficiency for managers. SGTs can be fully automated and allow residents to go through the community at their own pace. Read more about SGTs here.
Smart tech in shared spaces
Motion-activated lights, faucets, and toilets in public restrooms help keep things touchless as residents continue to be conscious of cleanliness.
The lasting changes we'll see from the pandemic are tendencies to keep some distance from other people, a larger population of work-from-home residents, a greater awareness of cleanliness, and a boost in tech-based efficiency. You can’t go wrong with online options for residents to engage in the community and perform tasks—as long as they’re able to access high-speed internet.
For a simple and fair way to manage high-demand amenities and spaces, schedule a free consultation and demo to get started with Amenity Boss.