Resident Experience vs. Amenities: What Gives You the Edge?

February 22, 2022 |

Updated February 22, 2022

3 minutes

Four secrets for standing out from the crowd in today’s demanding rental housing marketplace.

There was a time when the nicest or trendiest amenities were what gave apartment communities a significant edge over the competition. But with the steady increase in multifamily housing demand during the past several years and rising rents, amenities that used to set properties apart have become standard and expected.

Renters already expect nearly every property they tour to have high-tech options, resort-style pools, outdoor lounge areas, upscale fitness facilities and pet amenities as part of the standard offerings. These amenities have become expected and are no longer leading differentiators between competitors. To compete in today’s marketplace, apartment communities need to invest in unique amenities and concierge services not offered at every property.

Just behind needing a specific location and dealing with a change in personal circumstances, the most prominent reason renters look for a new apartment is that they want a better resident experience. 

How to Create a Positive Resident Experience

Obviously, a community must have to have a nice pool, fitness facilities, pet amenities and decent storage. Residents might even pay a little extra for smart technology and a package service, but renters looking in Class A luxury apartments can find resort-style and modern technology facilities on almost every corner. Tech has become a must. What will set you apart isn’t your on-demand fitness room anymore: It’s your resident experience.

Armed with a smartphone, prospects can show up for a tour already knowing the pricing, amenity packages, available units and current deals. That prospect can be won or lost based on the experience they have on that tour. And once they sign the lease, it doesn’t stop with the sale: From move in to maintenance requests to service calls, from community events to regular interactions with office staff and social media perceptions, every touchpoint should be a positive one.

Follow-ups should be consistent and genuine, concerns should be addressed immediately and with care, daily conversations should be accommodating, and staff should be intentional in creating a sense of community for the residents.

In an evolving business, property management is still about people. The key is to have teams who act as “onsite hosts” for their residents, assessing satisfaction throughout the resident lifecycle and hosting monthly resident events.

In fact, according to a the 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, more than 25% of surveyed renters said they vacated an apartment to find better apartment features and about one-fifth of them wanted improved community amenities or community in general.

So, how can a rental housing professionals ensure they are working to improve resident experience and connectedness?

1. Host Monthly Resident Events

Consider a program dedicated to planning and hosting monthly events that target all your residents. Large events geared toward the masses, as well as smaller “niche” events can help residents connect with each other and improve their overall living experience. Some companies choose to organize this in house or through a concierge service, while others contract organizations to help.

2. Survey Your Residents

Utilize regular surveys that include questions about customer service and living experience, not just move-in experience and facilities. These can be created through paid organizations or online survey companies.

3. Train Staff in Customer Experience

Train all staff members in customer experience so that all interactions onsite are positive for each resident. Build it in as part of your culture and offer incentives for staff who display consistency and excellence in promoting resident experience.

4. Get Personal with Communication

Remember that anything automated might be part of good customer service, but anything personal will enhance customer experience.

Amenities are important, location is sought after, convenience is desired, good service is expected. But it’s not enough anymore. Relying on these services is a thing of the past, while a positive resident experience is the now and future.

Ashley Tyndall is Chief Relationship Officer at Criterion.B.