The WOW fridge. You know, the refrigerator in a model apartment that is filled to the brim with drinks, snacks and fun décor. They have been around for decades. I’m sure you have seen one—or maybe hundreds of them if you work in the apartment business. Sometimes they are branded to the property (logo, colors, tagline), the surrounding area (college football or local sports teams) and even current events (holidays and seasons).
I thought the days of the wow fridge were dead. Until I had an owner three years ago visit my new construction site. The first thing she did was open the fridge in our fully furnished model only to find a nice and cool, sparkling white yet empty fridge. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Where were all the candy, sodas and balloons? In my defense, I am a Millennial and believed those gimmicks worked best at class C properties and that money was better spent on cooler, more engaging marketing efforts (hello dog accessories, chalkboard signs, wine bottles/glasses, and fancy cookies).
Fast forward years later, and I find that wow fridges are still legit. Sometimes I even find them in mini models and clubhouses. There’s an old saying, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This resonated with me, particularly when it comes to wow fridges. Are we continuing this trend only because traditional owners expect it, because renters demand it or because there’s always money in the budget to continue stocking it?
Wow fridges were created to add an element of surprise to potential renters during tours. But if the renter is expecting it, doesn’t that miss the point? And wouldn’t we rather add a new level of surprise on our tour instead of meeting a set expectation that probably wouldn’t impact the decision of renting anyway? I’m not suggesting that a high-end wow fridge doesn’t help build the value and prestige on a tour. What I am asking is: Are there a hundred different ways to do it better?
In the end, the tour should always be meaningful and memorable for potential renters. Whether you choose a wow fridge, door dash delivery, conversation with Alexa or bubbles in the bathtub, be sure to go all out on the experience. Make it one to remember.