Connections During the Pandemic Lead to Positive Reviews
Some apartment firms are using amenities to connect with residents in the era of social distancing.
Asset Living’s food-related events were always popular with residents at its student properties. But when the pandemic hit, the Houston-based, third-party manager needed to make adjustments.
“Instead of hosting these in one of the indoor common area spaces, we’ve been able to pivot and provide it in more of a ‘grab-n-go’ or ‘drive-by’ setting by meeting residents at the entry or gate area or other outdoor common areas,” says Stacey Lecocke, Executive Vice President for Asset Living.
For Asset Living’s onsite staffers, the events provide an opportunity to see how their residents—college kids away from their families during a raging pandemic—are surviving.
“We still get to connect with residents and ensure their mental health is being taken care of,” Lecocke says. “We’ve experienced an increase in positive reviews thanking us for continuing to provide a connection even if it’s just in the little or simple things.”
Outdoor classes were also part of the formula for Asset Living. Indeed, exercise can help both physical and mental well-being.
“We have utilized outdoor green space more than ever to host outdoor exercise classes such as group yoga classes, virtual 5k challenges and outdoor workout stations,” Lecocke says. “Our teams have certainly raised the creativity bar when it comes to outdoor fitness initiatives.”
Once the pandemic is over, Lecocke expects Asset Living’s events to return to normal. But she does say the pandemic has helped the company reach more of the college students in her company’s properties.
“I think this has provided a unique opportunity to connect to an even broader audience in our resident base who maybe wouldn’t want to participate in lengthy in-person, indoor events,” Lecocke says.
But connections aren’t just for college kids.
For some firms, outdoor activities during the pandemic could be a springboard to offering more services in the future.
As RangeWater’s Director of Innovation and a Starwood alum, Carl Walton looks far and wide for inspiration, including European hotels for the company’s upscale apartments. He envisions resort-style pools with cabanas and people serving drinks by the pool at his properties. Those drinks don’t just have alcohol. He’s intrigued by the idea of indoor and outdoor coffee bars staffed by baristas. But it isn’t easy to find people to come in and serve RangeWater’s residents.
“The people piece is the most important and most challenging. We’re eager to find partners who want to bring more to our neighborhoods and truly serve our residents in unconventional, yet convenient ways,” Walton says.
One way RangeWater found to serve its residents at The Skylark in Atlanta was by bringing in three artists in residence—Megan Mosholder, Lacey Longino and Eric Nine. The artists began their residency at The Skylark in April 2020. Since then, they have been creating art installations throughout the community.
“We currently have three artists in residence here, all bringing a unique perspective to this development,” says Walton. “They’re interpretation of the neighborhood has been installed on what would be plain exterior walls or stairs.”
Les Shaver is a freelance writer.