Multifamily

The Contactless Rental Property Experience

Continued social distancing recommendations and a slow vaccine rollout are fueling the need for a contactless rental experience. Potential tenants and property management teams are both looking for ways to conduct business safely and efficiently in 2021 and beyond.

Here are a few best practices to implement to provide contactless rentals at your rental property or modern apartment complex:

Rise of the Virtual Tour

The virtual tour now serves an important role for residents evaluating where to live. As Aaron Galvin, CEO of apartment brokerage firm Luxury Living Chicago Realty explains: “A lot of potential tenants are using virtual tours to help narrow down their options and then following up with a self-guided or in-person showing”.1

The statistics support the need for virtual tours: 67% of people want more businesses to offer virtual tours2. And customers aged 18 to 34 are 130% more likely to rent a place if there is a virtual tour. Most strikingly, research reports a solid 20% conversion rate after taking a tour3.

Flexible Online Engagement

Property managers stress that they are using every weapon in their online arsenal to connect with potential tenants during the rental process. Chat boxes, for instance, can bolster engagement and answer customer questions quickly. Most issues and questions can be resolved within a lightning-fast 42 seconds4.

Texting, FaceTime, email, and social media platforms also continue to provide effective tools for property managers to engage with prospective residents. Similar to on-demand programming today, it means connecting when and how a renter wants to interact. As Jered Lerum, director of more than 2,000 apartments with Edison47, explains: “following your residents’ preferences are key5. Whether it’s text, email, or the app, ignoring their requests is a surefire way to [lose]  customers.”

Online All the Time

Homes are now where we work, play, learn, and entertain. With 42% of employees working from home, speedy Internet is a must6. Both current and potential tenants are seeking seamless connectivity for their apartment units. 5G and CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) services allow for faster and more reliable Internet throughout your rental property.

The Need for Contactless Proptech

The days of running downstairs from your apartment to let in the pizza delivery guy are over. Today’s proptech must-haves include contactless options such as doorway entry, amenity scheduling (ex: a gym appointment), lease renewals, and maintenance scheduling. These tools not only boost the overall rental experience but also free up management staff to focus on other important tenant-facing responsibilities.

The market is exploding with property management technology that can help property managers keep up with the contactless transformation of the rental experience. Here are a few recent additions to the proptech market:

  • Mobile Doorman acts as a digital doorman, maintenance scheduler, and amenity manager. 
  • One Call Now is a communication tool that is critical today with ever-evolving property health and safety policies.
  • MeetElise works as a leasing agent responding intelligently to leads via text or email.
  • Funnel streamlines the leasing process.
  • Checkpoint identifies and verifies lease prospects. Its solution claims to reduce rental fraud and improve property safety.
  • LatchOS can provide smart key access for a rental property. Virtually every door, elevator, and entryway can be opened contactless via its system.

The Need for Contactless Parcel Management and Storage Lockers

The amenity wars of years past have shifted from luxury options (pool, gym, etc.) to ones that are meeting consumer needs (outdoor spaces, hand sanitizing stations, etc.). It’s also clear that online shopping represents a permanent shift in consumer behavior that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Same-day delivery is expected to grow 22% through 2024 aided by local restaurants, grocers, and retailers7. And 38.7 million shoppers placed at least one online grocery order for delivery or pickup order in November 2020, feeding the demand for secure and refrigerated lockers8.

This puts smart lockers at the top of the list of amenities that offer property owners and managers a competitive advantage in a world demanding safety. With the ability to open a locker contactless via their smartphone, residents can retrieve their package with zero face-to-face interaction. A compelling argument for smart lockers is that they have been shown to boost resident retention at rental properties by as much as 40%.

Given the surge in deliveries – which can translate into an estimated 486 packages delivered per week to multifamily properties – property managers are concerned with being overwhelmed. It’s not surprising that on-site personnel find package delivery management a bigger issue than C-Level executives with a whopping 9 percentage point differential on how significantly the two groups view the issue9. It’s estimated that installing smart lockers can lower labor hours by 24 hours weekly.


It’s clear that 2021 will force many rental property owners and managers to innovate, especially with restrictions still in place and potential tenants reluctant or unable to meet face-to-face. However, property managers who embrace the contactless experience with technology, tools, and smart lockers will thrive.

Parcel Pending lockers can help make receiving residents’ special deliveries safer and more secure without sacrificing convenience. Reach out to a member of our team experts today to find the best solution for your property’s needs and budget.
Sources:

  1. Bousquin, Joe. National Apartment Association. Closing Apartment Leases During COVID-19. (2020, November). https://www.naahq.org/news-publications/units/november-2020/article/closing-apartment-leases-during-covid-19.
  2. Digital in the Round. 13 Mind-Blowing Virtual Tour Statistics [Updated for 2020]. (2020, September 30). https://digitalintheround.com/virtual-tour-statistics/.
  3. Hogan, McKenna. LCP 360. How Apartment Virtual Tours Are Changing the Game in Multifamily. (2020, January 29). https://www.lcp360.com/blog/how-to-leverage-apartment-virtual-tours.
  4. Smith, Brad. Growth Marketing Conference. The Rise of Live Chat: How 6 Successful SaaS Companies Drive More Revenue with Messaging. (n.d.). https://growthmarketingconf.com/the-rise-of-live-chat/.
  5. Lerum, Jered. Multifamily Executive. Getting Resident Communications Right. (2018, September 10). https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/resident-life/getting-resident-communications-right_o.
  6. Wong, May. Stanford. Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working-from-home-economy. (2020, June 29). https://news.stanford.edu/2020/06/29/snapshot-new-working-home-economy/#:~:text=We%20see%20an%20incredible%2042,working%20on%20their%20business%20premises.
  7. Technavio. (2020, July 30). COVID-19 Impacts: Same-Day Delivery Market in U.S. Will Accelerate at a CAGR of About 22% Through 2020-2024 | Growing B2C E-Commerce Market in US to Boost Growth [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.technavio.com/newsroom
  8. Bloomberg News via Digital Commerce 360. Online sales ignite in corners of the world late to the ecommerce revolution. (2021, January 26). https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/coronavirus-impact-online-retail/.
  9. J Turner Research. (2020, December). Multifamily Industry Leaders Survey: Attitudes and Outlook About the Multifamily Industry from Industry Leaders [Report]. Retrieved from: https://www.jturnerresearch.com/multifamily-industry-leaders-survey-2020