A great view, central air conditioning, and an in-unit washer and dryer are among the top amenities that apartment hunters searched for in December 2020 and January 2021, according to StreetEasy.
In previous years, pet friendliness was the most desirable apartment amenity. But the surge in remote work that started with the pandemic has now become a permanent change for many, which makes creature comforts in an apartment so much more important.
Community-wide amenity offerings have shifted, too. Pre-pandemic, desirable amenities included lounges with pool tables, spas, and game rooms. Now, we’re seeing an emphasis on wellness-centered apartment amenities as well as ones that promote a sense of community, like outdoor events and vegetable gardens.
In other words, the pandemic appears to be inspiring people to find more meaning in their daily routines. The idea of home has been transformed after more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions, and apartment operators are coming up with new ways to satisfy residents’ needs.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what will be different this year with the re-opening of apartment amenities and how property managers can provide ones that will bring more value to a resident’s living experience.
Apartment Pools and Fitness Centers in 2020 vs. 2021
Last spring and summer, apartment communities across the country either closed their amenities altogether or placed restrictions on their use. Swimming pools and fitness centers sat idle or were used lightly during a confusing time when the world was still learning about COVID-19 and how it spreads.
This year, systems are in place to make apartment amenity usage a smoother (and safer) process. Apartment communities are investing in technology like amenity schedulers that allow residents to book blocks of time to use an amenity.
Apartment communities in most areas will continue to enforce capacity limits at pools and gyms. Pools tend to be the most popular amenity, so it will be important to have a usage plan in place to accommodate your residents and keep things fair.
Likewise, community fitness centers in most areas are open at reduced capacity with masks required. Some communities are offering discounted memberships to local gyms, which can accommodate more people.
Amenities to Accommodate a New Lifestyle
Residents’ lifestyles have changed as a result of the pandemic, and apartment communities are striving to offer amenities that fit the newfound reality.
One of the most prevalent examples of this are work-from-home spaces aimed at accommodating residents who work remotely, but need a quiet office space for meetings or just for a change of scenery. Common areas, business centers, and vacant apartments are being repurposed into private or distanced work spaces.
Apartment operators are also rethinking their package delivery systems. With so many people still getting groceries and everyday basics delivered, more communities are undergoing mailroom and package room upgrades. Some are turning to a smart locker system with security cameras and tracking systems to cut back on lost items.
In order to add value and make residents’ lives a bit less stressful, we’re hearing about apartment communities that are offering services as amenities. Think dog-walking and pet care services, dry cleaning pickups and dropoffs, and apartment cleaning.
In some cases, these services were added as a courtesy after the pandemic made some regular apartment amenities unavailable. Others see these services as an opportunity to make renters’ lives a little easier, create a stronger sense of loyalty, and build collaborative relationships with other local businesses.
Creating Community Through Amenities
As we mentioned above, communities are reimagining their amenities to bring people together while remaining socially distant. In the coming months, we expect to see apartment communities focusing more on connecting in meaningful ways.
Think community-wide vegetable gardens that residents can tend and harvest together, then cook together at outdoor kitchens and community grilling stations. Outdoor yoga and other fitness classes in the fresh air are starting up as the weather gets warmer.
Socially-distanced community happy hours held outdoors are also on the rise, as are food truck nights. Communities are installing more picnic tables and other outdoor seating areas for residents to enjoy.
Last year, apartment communities across the country were in survival mode as they struggled to keep amenity use and other operations running smoothly while maintaining everyone’s safety at the same time. Now, after living with the pandemic for more than a year, residents want amenities that offer meaning and connection. Have you added any new amenities to your community in light of the pandemic?
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