3 Ways to Boost ROI for Apartment Amenities

Posted by Eric Nauta on March 25, 2021

As a multifamily residential property manager, you want to create an environment that makes apartment residents feel at home. Think about a hotel that you stayed at. Why does it stick out in your mind? Was it a bad experience? What made it a bad experience? Subpar customer service? Needed repairs?

Do you think about a hotel that provided an amazing experience? Why does it stand out? Incredible customer service? Useful amenities like free secure wi-fi? Surprises such as leaving a mint on your pillow or giving you cookies at check-in? Free shuttle services?

Most likely, the customer service, amenities, or both tend to get people talking about their hotel stay. This applies to apartment properties. Residents want apartment amenities. If you want your property to thrive, then apartment amenities are a must-have.

Residents appreciate anything that makes their lives easier. The happier they are, the more likely they will stick around. Keeping them happy compels them to stay. When they stay, your profits grow.

Turnover adds a lot of fees and costs. For one, if no one occupies the apartment, that's lost rental income. Then there's the cost of cleaning and preparing the apartment for the next resident.

Factors in Determining Apartment Amenities to Offer

The key is determining what apartment amenities your renters want. You want to avoid offering an amenity for its cool factor or for the stake of it. Some apartment amenities are better at attracting more people than others and will be used more often.

As always, knowing what to provide means understanding your customer and what they want. Too often, apartment property managers choose amenities based on assumptions. Save yourself the trouble of wasting time and money on something they don't need. Talk to your renters. Ask them for feedback.

Another important thing to consider is targeting the right prospective residents. It's not just the millennials and Generation Z who rent. The most overlooked generation of renters is the baby boomers. The Urban Institute's analysis of housing trends show the number of baby boomers renting will grow from 5.8 million in 2010 to 12.2 million in 2030.

Don't be surprised if you have several patterns in your demographics. You could have seniors who want a safe place to live without the chores of homeownership. You could also have millennials and Gen Z who work from home. Then the third group of renters could be those who work outside of the apartment.

It's important to know whether your community has many remote workers. If you do, you'll want to include amenities that appeal to their personal and professional lives. Another Urban Institute research report indicates this change will increase competition for rental housing. Hence, apartment amenities will be critical to help your apartment property stay competitive.

Determining the ROI of Apartment Amenities

It can be tricky to determine the ROI of apartment amenities. For example, how can you measure the impact of excellent customer service? A memorable hotel stay — good or bad — sticks with customers for a long time. Going above and beyond for your residents could make the difference.

A simple, inexpensive way to do this is to write notes to residents. This takes very little time to do and it can brighten their day. It doesn't have to be everyone at once. Opportunities will come up. For example, a resident helps carry a neighbor's groceries from the parking lot to the apartment. Your staff can write a thank you note to the neighbor for the act of kindness and how they exemplify your community.

What's one of the most challenging things every resident experiences? Moving in. Start your relationship on a strong note and help create a seamless, positive move-in experience. Look for opportunities and friction points in the move-in process.

Once you've identified the opportunities and friction points, take them to your team. Brainstorm ways so you can ease the move-in process. As you brainstorm, keep your values and feedback from residents in mind.

If you don't have feedback from residents, it's important to obtain it before moving ahead. For each identified amenity, ask these questions:

  • Will this amenity generate income?
  • Does this amenity support our company values?
  • What percentage of residents are likely to use it?

Generating income can be measured in retention and optimizing rental rates. The latter involves identifying amenities that residents may be willing to pay a little more rent for . For example, some residents will pay more for an apartment with a security system. An Assurant survey has found more than half of renters say they will pay more for security features.

The benefit of an amenity may also prevent costs associated with not having the amenity. Again, having apartment security can dodge expensive lawsuits. If a resident's vehicle is stolen or are assaulted on the property, he or she may sue the property. Video surveillance can deter crime and lower liability. Here's how to calculate your return on security investment.

You may have an inexpensive and an expensive amenity you're considering. When you look at how many will value and use it, it can help with decision-making. If two amenities support company values and retain residents, then the next thing to look at is the impact. When you compare an inexpensive amenity that only 10 percent of the residents will use to an expensive one that more than 75 percent will use, the answer is clear.

Before fully rolling out a new amenity, could you run a pilot on a small scale? This can get you the feedback you need to improve it and maximize ROI.

Where to begin? Here are three apartment amenities worth exploring that can help maximize your ROI.

Create an Online Community

An online community for residents not only acts as a communication tool, but allows everyone to get to know each other. The online community works 24/7, so it fits everyone's lifestyle and schedule. The online community simply provides a platform where residents can interact with each other at their convenience.

Most everyone can connect to the network whether by phone, laptop, tablet, or computer. Your apartment property management app may come with a community-building feature. If so, invite new residents to join the community as part of the onboarding process.

You can increase the effectiveness of the community by establishing a welcoming committee. This is a group of residents who help welcome other new residents. They can greet people in the online community and deliver a surprise basket filled with goodies.

Although the community is an effective communication tool, don't rely on it as the only communication tool. Residents will have their preferences for receiving updates from property management. It's important to provide multiple options for obtaining updates.

Use the community as a forum to regularly ask for input and feedback from residents. Be sure to include a way to leave feedback privately as well as anonymously.

Sometimes residents will not be happy. They may leave frustrated or angry comments. It's hard to hear things like that. But stay positive and grateful. If they had never posted the comment, you would not know what needs to be improved.

Apartment Amenities for Remote Workers

One thing the pandemic has changed is the number of people who are remote working. Companies now know that remote working can work and take advantage of its benefits. They save on building overhead. In allowing employees to work from home, they'll be fresher as they won't have a tiring commute draining their energy. Many companies have already announced they will continue to allow remote working after the crisis ends.

Besides, a 2020 NMHC and Kingsley Associates Renter Preferences Report has surveyed more than 370k apartment renters across 5,300 communities. It turns out more than half want an onsite business center.

This is likely to increase as employees switch to remote working permanently. Therefore, it's critical that apartment property management provide high-quality internet service and Wi-Fi.

Maximize Security with Video Surveillance

Recall that baby boomers are moving into apartments to simplify their lives. Apartments can also be safer than homes. They often have more sidewalks and stairs. Apartments also typically have wheelchair ramps and elevators. As one of the senior generations, the baby boomers appreciate these features.

Video surveillance can help to greatly ensure the safety of your senior residents. That's because artificial intelligence and humans monitor the cameras around your property. They can spot safety hazards that put seniors and visitors at risk.

Moreover, National Apartment Association reveals that Gen X and baby boomers prefer apartments with video surveillance. This technology is a two-for-one. The first being that they can spot safety hazards. Of course, the second is deterring crime and damage.

Criminals aren't prejudiced. They like multi-family residential communities because they give them more opportunities. Unlike private homes, apartments are more public with many people coming and going. No one knows who doesn't live there. Besides, strangers could be family or friends of residents. Thus, thieves can piggyback or tailgate their way into the building.

Video surveillance provides more benefits besides watching for safety hazards and protecting residents. The video surveillance service can respond to fires faster because fire departments will know this is a real fire right away.

A Schlage and Wakefield Research survey of 1,000 multi-family renters has found that 61 percent of Gen Y wants increased security. Apartment property managers can help retain more residents with remote video surveillance for a fraction of the cost of security guards. The retention savings will more than cover the apartment building technology.

Apartment Amenities Benefits

Apartment amenities attract and retain residents. An online community, support for remote working, and security are some of the most preferred amenities for apartment hunters. You most likely can't go wrong with these three apartment amenities.

Of course, you'll still want to talk to your renters to find out what they want. You may find most of them are not remote workers. In that case, the remote working options would not deliver the best ROI.

Learn more about securing your apartment property by downloading your free Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building. This guide covers options for securing your apartment property to help protect your residents, visitors, vendors, and employees. It'll also walk you through selecting the right video surveillance system for your budget. If you have questions, please contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Video Monitoring