By Boingo Wireless Inc. (MultiFamilyExecutive.com Article) — Property owners are navigating through a new generation of digital natives who are accustomed to technology that is connected, always on and instant. Fast internet is now table stakes for apartment living, but those stakes are rising to stay competitive—and relevant.
Owners are rethinking internet amenities to cater to mobile-first lifestyles; and prioritizing new wireless strategies for the vast interconnected 5G world. What’s become clear is how these strategies are giving owners a head start on delivering the resident experience of the future.
Eye on Tech
In Top 10 listings of multifamily REITs (real estate investment trusts), one name is a near constant: Camden Property Trust.
The Houston-based apartment community owner and operator has made a name for itself for the way it manages the resident experience across 162 apartment communities representing more than 55,000 units.
Industry distinction like that doesn’t just happen. It reflects the work of Camden Property Trust professionals like Linda Willey, the REIT’s director of ancillary services. Ask Willey what that competitive edge means and she’ll cite tech-focused initiatives like the one at their Camden Design District apartment community, a 10-year-old property in Dallas, Texas.
The 355-unit class A community offers the amenity-rich lifestyle Camden is noted for. Chief among them: high-speed wireless connectivity. “Internet speed and availability is the fourth utility,” Willey says. “For some residents it’s more important than running water, especially the wireless component.”
The challenge at the Camden Design District was to transform a good internet experience into a fantastic one. What could Willey and her team do to disrupt the market with a wireless experience so sensational it would generate killer buzz from residents?
2,000 Properties and Growing
The Camden team turned to Boingo Wireless, a comparatively new but rapidly growing technology player in the multifamily space. Today Boingo serves more than 300,000 residents across 2,000 multifamily properties.
“When we put our name and reputation on the line, I want to make sure we have done all the research possible. We investigated Boingo for about six months before we moved forward,” Willey explains.
Many know Boingo for high-speed Wi-Fi and cellular services in airports, hotels, and other public places worldwide. This same technology transformed the resident experience across Camden Design District’s 355 units and common spaces, including difficult service areas like the dog park and parking garage.
“Our residents expect great mobile connectivity anywhere on the property. When people take pictures of their pets in the dog park, they want to share them then and there,” Willey says.
Blazing-fast speed is also a standout feature. Boingo engineered the network to offer residents 200 Mbps download and upload speeds to ensure a seamless experience across streaming, gaming, browsing and other online habits.
But dog-park connectivity and fast speeds were just the beginning of the wireless makeover, according to Willey. Gone are the days of waiting for cable TV and router installation. “Our residents now have login credentials on move-in. High-speed internet is immediately available along with a basic TV package,” she says.
“Technology today is converging around wireless,” observes Boingo’s Robert Grosz, vice president of strategic alliances. “Today’s multifamily owner and facility manager wants to offer a great connection the moment the resident steps on the property, on every square foot, corner to corner.”
Willey says the company measures resident satisfaction in several ways. Two obvious methods are resident recruitment and retention. The third way caught Willey and her team by surprise.
“The onsite team and property manager are delighted by the customer response. They have received so many positive comments from customers who are enjoying the new service. It’s very rewarding to go through a lengthy vetting process and have it pay off with such high praise,” Willey says.
Positive comments puts it lightly. A recent resident review mentioned, “Boingo speeds are fast and bi-directional with extremely low latency. For those of you who play games this is a big win. Can’t tell you how great it is to have fast internet by the pool, gym and clubhouse. Boingo is cost competitive … and there is no data cap like the others, so stream away on all of your devices. I am quite pleased.”
The Camden team also likes the powerful management tools Boingo provides along with a level of customer support that “… reacts quickly to the needs of residents.”
Camden now has a service differentiator that could serve it well in other battleground markets. Expect them to remain on industry Top 10 lists for some time to come.
To learn more about the ways to transform your resident experience, visit http://www.boingo.com/business-services/multifamily-housing/.