So what’s the latest in the amenities market? According to apartment owners across the industry, here are the top five amenity trends to watch for:
Riding in style
With the rise of ride-hailing programs such as Lyft and Uber, combined with continued concern for the environment, many communities are ramping up their transportation offerings. In urban areas especially, where parking premiums are high, property owners are encouraging environmentally friendly alternatives to car ownership.
Some, such as the Memphis-based Fogelman property management company, have launched bike-rental programs, while others have established partnerships with Lyft and Uber, installing pickup/drop-off (PUDO) stations right outside a property’s front door to make the process as seamless and accessible as possible. Communities with custom resident apps have even started to explore building this option into their interface.
Ramping up on fitness
On-site fitness centers may no longer be a novelty, but they continue to be a big draw. Today, we see more properties taking this fitness trend to the next level, investing in state-of-the-art equipment, comparable with what you might find at a gym. And though we still see the standard treadmill, elliptical, bike and weight sets in many places, more communities are adding in-house yoga studios, Pilates and barre classes, and other group-based activities.
These advanced options are exclusive to residents, offering convenience and the opportunity to build a sense of community. For residents with a busy lifestyle, the option to work out and connect with others, all within the confines of their own residence — and with the cost rolled into the price of rent — is particularly appealing.
Forget amenities for humans — it’s all about the animals
For the animal-lover looking for a pet-friendly environment, there are an increasing number of options.
Looking for someone to walk your dog or take your cat to the groomers while you’re at work or on vacation? Some communities are now offering pet concierge services.
Others are taking it a step further, with on-site grooming services, dog parks and pet spas.
For property owners looking to attract young professionals already juggling a full plate, along with home and pet care, these are important services to consider.
All in one
An urgent-care clinic, a mini-market and maid service? Being on the cutting edge of apartment living is no longer just about providing a nice place for residents to live and a few VIP amenities. Residents are seeking out convenience more than ever, so the more on-site services a community can offer, the better.
These in-house offerings might include basic health services, a small shop with food and cosmetic items, an alternative working space, and dry-cleaning services. Chicago’s Gallery on Wells community even has an on-site sous chef to support meal preparation.
In the Washington area, Ten at Clarendon has introduced a community “library” that provides residents access to an assortment of leisure items. Having a get-together? Folding chairs, coolers, lawn games, golf clubs and other sporting equipment are available — in prime condition — for residents’ complimentary use.
The modern apartment resident is no stranger to utilizing a smartphone for everyday tasks. By partnering with tech innovators such as Valet Living to develop customized community apps, managers are able to meet residents right where they are — enhancing communication ease and efficiency.
But apps are merely the beginning. According to a recent study by Entrata, more than 57 percent of residents nationwide are willing to increase their rent by at least $20 to have a “smart apartment,” and approximately 25 percent are willing to increase their rent by more than $31 per month.
Though communities have been experimenting with smart-home tech for years, the rise of Amazon’s Alexa and other voice assistants has encouraged community owners to take a more fully integrated approach with voice control and sensors. Now residents can take advantage of a full menu of commands relevant to their needs. Realized your rental payment is nearly due? No need to find your checkbook or even log in to an app. A simple “Alexa, pay my rent” will do.
Bluetooth shower heads, motion-detector thermostats and other devices originally reserved for smart homes are all making their way into the rental housing space.
The variety and volume of amenities available to today’s renter is ever expanding as communities find new and different ways to cater to their clientele. Ultimately, the goal of any manager is to create a place where residents feel at home. If there’s an amenity you’d like to see in your community, suggest it — you never know where the next trend might begin.
Robert Pinnegar is president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, headquartered in Arlington, Va.