Winning the Amenities Arms Race
Resident amenities are changing. By embracing technology, apartment operators can stay ahead of the curve.
The days of community-wide amenities, such as pools and gyms, being enough to satisfy residents are waning.
“We’re in the middle of an amenities arms race,” declared Valet Living CEO and President, Shawn Handrahan at this year’s National Apartment Association’s Apartmentalize Conference and Exposition.
The apartment industry has often been slow to embrace technology. But if multifamily communities want to keep pace with their competitors over the next decade and win the arms race, that must change.
While multifamily communities have always upgraded their amenities to satisfy the needs and demands of their residents, catering to customers who are more digitally connected has been a slow process. Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable shift in the demographics of residents within multifamily communities as the number of renters by choice and people moving from suburban to city living has been steadily increasing.
This trend led us to the emergence of more convenience-based service providers, such as Valet Living, who pioneered the doorstep collection industry and brought community-centric services to the forefront.
Once-revolutionary amenities, such as pools and gyms, have now been accepted as a baseline standard of service by new generations of residents. Younger residents bring new challenges with them. While amenities, such as valet trash collection and resident portals have done well to provide a sense of modernization at apartment communities, the focus has evolved from community-centric amenities to resident-focused services.
“Multifamily, historically, has placed amenities into two distinct buckets: community-wide amenities outside the apartment home and inside the apartment home, says Handrahan. “Now you have this emerging third bucket that is services. As residents continue to access technology, it is now up to property managers to determine what services are provided.”
Services have become so integral to residents’ expectations, they are now willing to spend more to acquire individually-focused services that are customizable and convenient.
According to Valet Living proprietary research, pet services, home cleaning and package delivery are among the most desired services, with 88 percent of survey respondents saying they would consider using a pet care service and 73 percent open to home cleaning.
It seems clear that the need for multifamily communities to be at the forefront of technology has never been more important for revenue and profitability.
“If you’re not ahead, you’re behind,” says Tasha Krawiec, Vice President of Property Operations at BH Management Services. “Everything we do is in service of our residents, our associates and our clients, and they keep us motivated to stay ahead.”
A paradigm shift is at hand, and the responsibility falls to community managers and property developers to ensure that their residents remain satisfied.
“If you stay put as an organization, you’re probably going to be left behind,” Handrahan says.
These transformations within the multifamily industry indicate one stark reality: there may be no winners in the amenities arms race yet, but there will most certainly be losers.