Six months ago, apartment communities around the country began to drastically change how they operate in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apartment tours went virtual, leasing became contactless, and community events moved online, but nothing has been affected more than apartment community amenities.
Apartment amenities have long been huge selling points, and they’re often the deciding factor for residents. After all, there’s no need to join a gym when you have a fitness center steps away from your front door. But no one could have predicted a summer without fun days at the pool.
In this post, we’re taking a look at how Multifamily has responded to this shift in apartment community life, particularly when it comes to apartment amenity use, and what the landscape looks like going forward.
New apartment amenities for a new reality
We’re hearing that for residents, the biggest impact to their standard of living has been access to amenities, particularly the pool and gym. In order to compensate for this, some communities are getting creative and introducing new apartment amenities. Here’s a look at a few new ideas we’re seeing:
- Food truck visits. Even before COVID, many apartment communities were summoning food trucks to their properties as a special treat for residents. Now, we’re hearing that these visits have increased, and they’ve even become a regular part of daily life for many communities.
- Free coffee. Communities that have closed their on-site coffee stations have been opening weekly tabs at local coffee shops so residents can still get their caffeine fix on the house. Others have offered coffee shop gift cards to residents.
- Outdoor group fitness events. Communities with residents who are active are finding that socially distanced apartment group fitness classes held outside can be a great way to make up for the restricted access to the fitness center. They’re easy to pull off safely, too.
- Community gardens. It might be too late in the season to start a garden this year, but this is notable because an apartment community garden is a very worthwhile project, pandemic or not.
Working from home is here to stay
Companies have found that they can operate well with a majority, if not all, of their employees working from home, and many have opted to make it a permanent change. This surge in remote work has the Multifamily space envisioning a future that brings WFH-friendly apartment amenities into the design of communities. Some examples include:
- Co-working spaces. While some communities have on-site business centers with computers, printers and fax machines for residents to use, apartment co-working spaces are designed with more intention. Picture individual workspaces that can be reserved, personal mini fridges, high-speed internet and lots of outlets to charge devices.
- Home offices. You can call it a spare bedroom, but apartment marketers are promoting them as home offices more and more. This re-branding is meant to help prospects envision how they could use the space.
- Office rentals. We’re hearing that some communities are starting to repurpose a certain number of apartment units into apartment offices that residents can rent for business purposes. This setup would be ideal for residents who need a quiet, private space to meet with clients.
Technology to the rescue
Many apartment operators are turning to tech to help them manage their communities’ new normal. In some cases, we believe there is potential for these technological solutions to become integrated into everyday life for years to come. A few examples:
- Virtual apartment tours. Apartment operators are finding that having a dedicated setup for virtual tours is helping them attract prospective residents from out of town. Pre-pandemic, many apartment staffers did their best to show off their communities through FaceTime or Skype to prospects who live far away. A robust apartment virtual tour option makes the process seamless.
- Amenity scheduling. The annoying reality of apartment amenities is that you’re never truly sure if you’ll be able to use the fitness center, grill station or pool when you want to. Allowing residents to reserve apartment amenities has been a game changer for communities and residents. Post-pandemic, we picture this practice continuing. Respage rolled out a Resident Amenity Scheduler in the wake of the pandemic that many clients intend to continue using going forward.
- Managing paid amenities. For communities that offer premium on-site benefits, like covered parking, Respage can also help. Our Amenity Scheduler now offers apartment paid amenity features. Admins can set prices, send follow-up emails, manage payment status and more from the Respage Dashboard.
We are just starting to get an idea as to how the changes that were necessary due to COVID-19 will be affecting apartment life for years to come. These trends could be here to stay, and it’s very possible that they will have a major impact on how residents share spaces and how apartment communities are designed in the future.
Respage can help you control and manage your paid and non-paid amenity usage with our Resident Amenity Scheduler. Reach out to us to learn more!