By Devin Wirth (MultiFamilyExecutive.com Article) — Amenities have been among the hottest topics in real estate for years, as developers and property managers continue to race to find the newest feature that will help them court a pool of residents that are increasingly seeking both experiences, convenience, and a sense of community.
Today, amenities are in demand not just at luxury residential properties but all manner of apartment venues, office buildings, active-adult communities, hotels, student housing, and across nearly every other type of asset. As amenity spaces have become the new normal, the reality is that many in real estate are discovering that coordinating, managing, and booking the precise mix of amenities needed to attract and retain tenants is both more difficult and costly than expected.
In many cases, expensive and well-crafted amenity spaces are going significantly—or, in some cases, entirely—unutilized. Many operators also find that bringing amenity providers to their properties is far more costly than anticipated. In markets like New York City, a typical fitness class can cost as much as $200 per session. Other associated costs, including insurance, maintenance, and the workforce needed to manage a full menu of amenities, place further strain on an apartment owner’s existing resources.
Whether today’s renters are ordering a pizza, calling a cab, or renting a movie, they expect to be able to order everyday services online or with their mobile phone or tablet. Across the country, the same phenomenon is taking hold with fitness classes, house cleaning, dog walking, and pet sitting. As this massive shift continues to advance, property owners and managers will need to keep pace by offering their residents a platform that places a full suite of amenities just a click away.
Technology Answers the Call
Fortunately, real estate is seeing a massive influx of technology solutions to address this societal shift. Platforms such as Hello Alfred have already begun to merge traditional butler services with the so-called “on-demand economy.” As more and more properties begin to incorporate amenities, the demand for a single, one-stop platform that can help customize, coordinate, and consolidate a full menu of services will only continue to rise.
Perhaps understandably, much of the conversation regarding multifamily amenities has focused on the latest and greatest features across the industry. What began with simple on-site swimming pools and gyms has quickly evolved into fitness venues, yoga studios, voice-activated technology, dog spas, and golf simulators.
But just as property owners and managers have been forced to reckon with renters’ desire for a sense of experience and community, they must also be ready to offer the level of convenience and on-demand access consumers increasingly crave.
As owner–operators continue to race to find the next method to separate themselves from the pack, they’d be wise to not just consider what amenities they’re offering, but how to deliver them to tenants in the customizable, on-demand fashion residents increasingly are demanding.