Amenities are a big part of your community. They’re a huge draw for new, and they play a substantial role in the overall resident experience, contributing to keeping existing residents happy, healthy, and willing to stay put. Apartment amenities can also make or break your online reviews, making them an important tool in your arsenal.
But what happens when constant changes leave your community and its amenities in flux? If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being able to handle uncertainty and constant changes in a way that keeps everyone safe and in the loop.
Understand the Trends: What Were Pre-COVID Expectations
For a while now, there’s been a bit of an amenity war among developers, with each trying to outdo and outbuild the others. But the savviest property owners and developers have been moving toward delivering the types of amenities that support the ways residents want to live. To do that, you need to look at some of the top 2020 trends in amenities and pre-COVID in-demand apartment amenities.
Although post-pandemic expectations and priorities have shifted a bit, being able to meet these expectations is critical for apartment rentals because it has such an impact on attracting and maintaining of all demographics. So, what are some of the most sought after amenities?
- Fitness: Pools and gyms aren’t enough anymore. Today’s residents want dedicated space to practice the latest, greatest fitness trends, including pilates, yoga, and barre.
- Concierge Services: Having an easy way to connect with next-level conveniences like dog walking/grooming, laundry pick up/drop off and access to ride-share services are among the top in-demand concierge services people are looking for.
- Tech: Connectivity is more than just a buzzword, it’s a way of life. Renters crave the ability to apply for apartment rentals, pay their rent, and communicate with landlords online, by text, or through an app. Smart home features like thermostats and lighting are must-haves for many tenants too.
- Shared Spaces: Renters want areas where they can create (think art/writing studios and music rooms), work, and socialize.
Acknowledge Challenges to Handling Amenities During COVID-19
Once stay-at-home orders came rolling in, physical distancing made handling amenities an enormous challenge. For many properties, apartment amenities were forced to temporarily close to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. By and large, residents accepted these changes and rolled with the rules and guidelines.
However, as states and regions began slowly opening back up, figuring out how and when to make amenities accessible again has posed another set of questions to property owners. Not opening up soon enough leaves some renters frustrated over the lack of amenity availability while opening up too soon can make others feel as though their safety isn’t a priority.
Ultimately, property management teams have found that clear communication is key. Additionally, asking renters how they’d like to handle amenity closures can help. Some apartments have offered virtual events. Others have made sure their residents understood their cleaning and sanitization practices while also ensuring physical distancing requirements are met.
Get Ready: The Importance of a Preparedness Plan
The pandemic taught us that everything can change on a dime. COVID ushered in sweeping changes to the industry and to the way everyone lives. Although the long-term shifts are still unclear, the experience underscores the importance of having a preparedness plan in place to deal with sudden and/or constant changes effectively and efficiently.
Whether it’s a pandemic or a natural disaster, amenities aren’t the only thing affected. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a designated crisis team that can move quickly to handle any future issues or ongoing changes. This team should be charged with important tasks like:
- Creating an incident response plan for possible exposure to COVID
- Communicating with government officials, employees, and residents
- Establishing protocols that deal with amenities
Find the Way Forward
Demand for apartment amenities is expected to continue, particularly with more people spending more time at home. That’s bound to have an effect on many different parts of apartment living. For starters, there will need to be subtle changes like altering floor plans in shared spaces to encourage physical distancing. Apartment rentals’ will likely need to have staff on hand to make sure residents are following the rules safely while they use the pool or fitness areas.
You’re also going to start seeing COVID’s impact on what amenities people are looking for. Already, there’s been an uptick in demand for:
- Upgraded ventilation and sanitization to reduce pathogens
- Balconies and private patios/decks
- Secure package rooms or lockers for deliveries
- The ability to reserve shared spaces like communal gathering areas and workout rooms
- Well-equipped business centers and/or high-speed, reliable Internet services with ample bandwidth for video calls and streaming
- Virtual leasing
You’ve heard the old saying, “The only constant changes,” right? While you can’t anticipate every change that might come along, having a flexible plan on how to handle things can make all the difference for you, your team, and your residents.
For example, your team might determine that you can safely start allowing people back in shared spaces, with a few tweaks like swapping fixed furnishings for movable pieces that encourage social distancing. No matter if you’re upgrading the furnishings in your shared spaces or furnishing entire apartments, CORT Furniture Rental will help you make it happen.