In today’s rapidly evolving rental market, amenities have emerged as the final battleground to earn differentiation, residents, and loyalty. In fact, 87% of residents say community amenities significantly influence their renting decisions1. Of course, with COVID restrictions still in place, the home has morphed into residents’ safe learning, dining, and entertainment epicenter. Renters not only want a safer community environment but a more convenient and luxurious rental experience.
Health & Safety Amenities
Many luxury units in large city locations offer both modern amenities so that every tenant can have a resort style experience at home. For instance, adding a pool to your luxury building is normally an attractive prospect for residents. However, in light of the pandemic, many residents are coming to expect health and safety amenities in their community, like:
- Sanitizing Stations – With residents seeing their home as a safe haven, they are requesting amenities to keep them safe including hand sanitizer stations, free masks and gloves, new signage, and procedures to ensure social distancing around the community.
- Fitness Centers – While having a fitness center onsite means that residents won’t need to find a fitness center within walking distance of the apartment community, pandemic shutdowns and strict limitations on use at gyms across the country mean leasing offices are seeing a dramatic increase in the demand to work out more safely and conveniently within the community. The top four amenities for safer gym experiences on-site include2:
- Outdoor Exercise (outdoor classes are significantly safer3)
- Spaces for residents to perform app-based exercises (Peloton, Fitbit Coach, etc.)
- Functional fitness equipment (medicine balls, battle ropes, etc.)
- All-in-One Gyms. Note the interest in copper-based free weights as experts believe coronavirus can’t survive on copper surfaces as long as it does on steel.
- Contactless Food Delivery – Clearly, food delivery is on a meteoric rise thanks to restaurant closures and consumers looking for a break from cooking at home, with 60% of U.S. consumers ordering delivery or takeout once a week4. Every major food app including DoorDash, UberEATS, and GrubHub offers no-contact delivery. This is similar to curbside, meaning where food is delivered curbside.
- Refrigerated Lockers – Researchers in November 2020 estimated that 38.7 million shoppers placed at least one online grocery order for delivery or pickup order during the preceding 30 days, up 3.6% from 37.5 million in August5. The same-day delivery onslaught has triggered the demand for refrigerated storage lockers in apartment homes. Parcel Pending has seen a nearly 45% uptick in requests for refrigerated lockers this year, showing that renters expect their perishable goods to be stored safely and securely. Parcel Pending offers modern apartment complexes refrigerated lockers as an amenity that reduces liability while boosting safety and customer satisfaction. When it comes to refrigerated lockers, residents sometimes want to know “what does it mean when your order is in fulfillment”? Order fulfillment on refrigerated items can be more complicated, but ultimately made easier and more convenient with refrigerated locker solutions.
- Wi-Fi Enabled Common Areas – With the lines blurring between work, school, and home, residents are looking to complete their homework, watch a movie, take a break, or simply “chillax” safely outside the confines of their apartment unit. Savvy property managers are opting for managed Wi-Fi, which allows for Internet access property–wide. Overall, community-wide Wi-Fi creates a better living experience for residents.
- Rooftop Decks – Research shows that investing in a rooftop deck not only has a positive return on investment but also attracts and retains residents too6. Lush landscaping boosts the aesthetic appeal of the apartment building and acts as a natural insulation lowering heat/air conditioning costs. Some property managers, in New York, for example, are creating flexibility in their outdoor spaces’ floor plan by repurposing cabanas as outdoor schools and installing movable furniture7.
- Movie Theaters – The pandemic has clearly rewritten the rules for movie watching. With most theatres still closed and Universal and AT&T’s Warner Bros inking a deal shrinking or eliminating the window for theatrical releases, watching from home is the new reality. Although for the time being luxury rentals are limiting movie watching parties, property managers expect the demand for a movie experience at home to come roaring back. Adding an additional space for movies typically doesn’t cost much when building a new apartment community. We recommend considering a movie theatre space for your residents.
- Package Lockers – With a record-shattering $9 billion of online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of $9.4 billion this holiday season, it’s clear that online ordering…and the resulting influx of package deliveries is here to stay8,9. Managing the onslaught of parcels is easily accomplished with smart parcel delivery using smart package lockers. Parcel Pending locker systems send recipients a unique access code and/or a barcode via text or email, allowing for easy access and convenient pickup; residents can retrieve packages on their schedule without waiting for the leasing office to open or for property manager availability.
- Parking Garage Upgrades – Residents are also demanding improvements in their parking garages. They want drop-off zones for Uber and Lyft rides, dedicated space for bike storage and repair, and of course, electric car charging stations. With almost 1.2 million passenger plug-in cars sold globally during the first seven months of this year, the need and demand for these community amenities in luxury buildings are real10.
- Virtual Tours – Virtual tours today are a necessity. 17% of residents surveyed by the National Multifamily Housing Council said they would prefer to tour a unit and building without a leasing agent11. And customers aged 18 to 34 are 130% more likely to book a place if there is a virtual tour12. According to industry studies from the Center for Realtor Development, high-quality photography properties lease and sell 32% faster than poor photos or a lack of photos altogether13.
- Property Apps — Apps and property management technology that make it easy to schedule and track maintenance, report a problem, or pay rent are a win/win for both landlords and renters. There are dozens of options including free ones such as Cozy, Rentec Direct, and ResMan. Given the need for social distancing in community spaces, fitness areas, or outdoor zones, scheduling becomes easier with an app such as Amenity Boss.
Clearly, the pandemic has shifted renters’ preferences for amenities. Whereas granite/quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances were considered a luxury, today they’re considered a necessity. The next step in modern apartment living is offering amenities that balance the need for safety with the demand for premium convenience, entertainment, and wellness options.
Adding amenities such as smart lockers can contribute to your property’s long-term success. Talk to a representative today about Parcel Pending’s multifamily locker solutions, pricing options, and locker configurations that can meet your needs.
- Caulfield, John. Building Design + Construction. 5 intriguing trends to track in the multifamily housing game. (2015, January 31). https://www.bdcnetwork.com/5-intriguing-trends-track-multifamily-housing-game.
- Advantage Sport & Fitness Inc. The Biggest Trends in Multifamily Fitness Centers. (2020, September 11). https://www.advantagefitness.com/blog-all/the-biggest-trends-in-multifamily-fitness-centers.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Safe outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020, December 10). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385.
- Resendes, Stephanie. Upserve. 26 Online Ordering Statistics Every Restaurateur Should Know in 2020. (2020, November 12). https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/online-ordering-statistics/.
- Evans, Katie. Digital Commerce 360. Holidays and health concerns continue to drive online sales in December. (2020, December 22). https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/coronavirus-impact-online-retail/.
- Lambert Investments Inc. The Growing Popularity of Rooftop Amenities. (n.d.) http://lambertinc.com/growing-popularity-rooftop-amenities/.
- Hughes, C.J. The New York Times. How the Pandemic Has Changed Apartment Building Amenities. (2020, September 11). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/11/realestate/pandemic-apartment-amenities.html.
- Durbin, Dee-Ann. Business Insider. US consumers spent a record $9 billion on Black Friday online shopping. (2020, November 29). https://www.businessinsider.com/black-friday-sees-record-online-as-us-shoppers-stay-home-2020-11.
- Lucas, Amelia. CNBC. Cyber Monday online sales hit record $9.4 billion, boosted by late-night spending spree, Adobe says. (2020, December 3). https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/03/cyber-monday-online-sales-hit-record-9point4-billion-adobe-says.html.
- Kane, Mark. InsideEVs. Global Plug-in Electric Car Sales July 2020: The Market Takes Off. (2020, August 31). https://insideevs.com/news/441747/global-plugin-electric-car-sales-july-2020/.
- National Multifamily Housing Council. (2019, November 12). 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report [Report]. Retrieved from: https://www.nmhc.org/research-insight/research-report/nmhc-kingsley-apartment-resident-preferences-report/
- Digital in the Round. 13 Mind-Blowing Virtual Tour Statistics [Updated for 2020]. (2020, September 30). https://digitalintheround.com/virtual-tour-statistics/.
- RISMedia. Shocking Stats About the Importance of Photography in Real Estate. (2018, December 12). https://rismedia.com/2018/12/12/shocking-stats-importance-photography-real-estate/.