As we start to see some light at the end of this virus tunnel, the state of amenity management is bound to change again. But will amenities go back to a completely normal pre-covid state? We think yes...and no. One of the shifts in the industry was the merging of technology and amenities.
In May 2020, we were first-to-market with an amenity reservation system specifically designed for reopening amenities in the multifamily industry. Our team worked extremely hard at designing, building, demoing, and onboarding Amenity Boss to several hundred communities within a two-month period.
It was also the beginning of a very difficult time for many people, so we’re incredibly thankful for the management companies that trusted us with helping them reopen their amenities safely and fairly.
Here are some of the things we believe may change post-pandemic and what may not.
Occupancy limits: BACK TO NORMAL
One thing that will eventually get back to normal is occupancy limits. Common areas, pools, and fitness centers are just some amenities that should be at full capacity before too long (in some states sooner than others), likely with continued cleanliness guidelines. Most will initially reopen with mask mandates, but after time, that will be gone too. Yay!
Priority reservations for high-demand items: HERE TO STAY
The convenience of reserving high-demand amenities likely won’t go anywhere. Managers should continue to take advantage of a simple, fair reservation system for Peloton® Bikes, poolside cabanas, golf simulators, BBQs, movie theaters, yoga studios, conference/office rooms, and other personal spaces.
Even if these amenities don’t require an amenity reservation, a resident with a reservation will take priority. The ability to place time limits on priority reservations keeps things fair. Residents love having the confidence that they can reserve and use high-demand amenities when they want to.
Residents will also want to make their own amenity reservations. According to a consumer survey by Nuance Enterprise, 75% of consumers find self-service options convenient, and 67% of people prefer self-service over talking to a customer service rep.
Rentable amenities: HERE TO STAY
The pandemic was the driving force behind a lot of new technology. To our surprise, we learned it was common for leasing offices to only accept written checks for rentable amenities like the clubhouse or guest suite.
Online payments for amenity use have become a hot topic for amenities that are in very high demand, including things like apartment guest parking. Some may offer some initial time for free before requiring payment. Management companies are even starting to entertain the idea of opening up amenities like fitness centers to the public, especially outside of peak hours.
Easy online amenity payments are here to stay, making life better for residents and creating new revenue opportunities for ownership. Online payments for rentable amenities cater to renters’ growing expectations for convenient self-service and allow for a touchless payment experience.
Time limits: MAYBE
Implementing time limits on some amenities will continue to be a great way to promote fairness. Popular items that typically get used by one unit at a time, such as movie theaters, BBQs, conference rooms, and poolside cabanas are great examples of this. Amenity Boss’ flexible and customizable metering engine makes limiting time by unit quick, easy, and fair.
Digital signage: MAYBE
Informational displays help with communicating usage details, schedules, and availability of amenities. Whether or not a pass is required, an amenity reservation has priority, or if the amenity is open with no requirements, digital signage will help onsite teams clearly communicate these details to their residents.
The pandemic has changed the world and caused a rapid shift in the multifamily industry. We’ve focused on making life a little better for on-site management teams and their residents throughout it all. We believe that it has brought about innovation and the adoption of better technology for residents and management — like an amenity reservation system. “Normal” isn’t going to look the same after this season, but let's strengthen our communities in the meantime!