By Lecia Anderson, Vice President of Operations
If someone needs a good example of how the apartment industry has advanced over the years, they need look no further than the amenities communities now provide.
Long gone is the time when owners and operators could offer a pool, a tennis court and a small fitness room outfitted with a random assortment of ho-hum equipment and call it a day. Today’s discerning apartment resident expects many things out of a property’s amenity package. They demand a high level of personal service, a robust technology package, attractive spaces to socialize, wellness features and amenities that allow them to offer their pets a high quality of life.
In short, they are looking for physical assets and services that, when combined, tend to all of their needs and provide an almost resort-like level of convenience. With that in mind, below is a sampling of some of the amenities owners and operators should prioritize.
- Pet-focused features. These days, apartment operators almost have to pay as much attention to residents’ pets as they do to the residents themselves. Off-leash pet parks that offer residents seating areas to socialize with each other are truly must-haves at this point, as are pet spas and concierge services that provide dog walkers and pet sitters.
- High-speed wireless Internet across the entire community. Technology is at the center of our lives now, and it’s critical that Wi-Fi is available in all amenity areas, parking garages, elevators and pet parks.
- Smart-home thermostats and lighting. Being able to remotely control the temperature and lighting in a unit (and to save money on utilities by doing so) is an amenity that the modern resident very much wants and appreciates.
- A 24-hour fitness facility. Fitness rooms have long been a staple of apartment communities, but today’s renter is looking for a commercial-like gym to be located onsite. Modern multifamily fitness centers need to offer things like brand-name strength-training and cardio equipment, on-demand virtual classes, in-person exercise classes, yoga studios and personal training services. In other words, operators should strive to provide a facility that makes residents want to give up their memberships to LA Fitness or whatever gym they belong to.
- A package locker system with 24-hour access. Online shopping and the resulting home deliveries have entered the mainstream in a big, big way over the past decade. Packages are constantly arriving for residents, and they want to pick up their items when it’s most convenient for them. They don’t want to work around the leasing office’s hours. With online grocery shopping growing, make sure any locker system has a refrigeration component to store food deliveries as well as floral bouquets.
- A first-class pool area. Again, swimming pools have long been a standard amenity, but residents are now looking for a pool area that also features grilling stations, TVs and an abundance of seating for socializing, eating dinner or lounging poolside. Residents love to entertain their friends at the pool and meet their neighbors there.
- A clubhouse built for work and for socializing. With the growth of the gig economy, many of today’s residents work from home, and a community’s clubhouse is a great way to provide them with an attractive place to do just that. Clubhouses should also offer residents another avenue for socializing with each other and hosting friends and family. Put another way, a clubhouse needs to feel like an extension of a resident’s home.
Operators should consider outfitting their clubhouses with co-working spaces, lounge areas, game rooms, TVs, kitchens, coffee bars, free Wi-Fi, computers and printers, to name a few items.
- Concierge services. If you don’t make life as easy and seamless as possible for your residents, you’re going to find it hard to attract and retain renters. Offering residents a host of concierge services – such as pet sitting, dog walking, in-unit cleaning, dry cleaning pick up and drop off, handyman services and more – is an effective way to meet your customers’ expectations and win resident loyalty.
There’s no doubt that an apartment community’s amenity package is more important than ever, and operators have to be prepared to offer their residents a wide array of modern assets and services. If they don’t, they’ll be ill equipped to succeed.