As a result of COVID-19, apartment amenities in the U.S. are rapidly evolving to meet new resident needs. Here are the top trends to expect in 2021.
The future of amenities has changed. The COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020 has fundamentally altered the way we all live and work globally and nowhere is that more aparent than in our own homes. As millions continue to social distance and work from home, apartment residents face special challenges due to their inherent proximity to neighbors and shared amenity spaces. Luckily the multifamily industry has been quick to adapt to meet resident needs and undoubtedly the new evolution of amenities is likely to have an impact well beyond 2021.
Here are the top 8 trends for apartment amenities that we are already witnessing across properties of all types, and can expect for 2021 and beyond:
1. Work From Home: "The New Norm"
A whopping 98% of people would like to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers, according to the World Economic Forum. Additionally, 86% of parents now want to work flexibly, compared to 46% pre-coronavirus.
It is increasingly clear that business centers in apartments will need to evolve in 2021 to better serve both remote workers and/or parents with children. Moreover, we can expect that communities offering co-working spaces that are flexible to meet today’s hygiene standards are likely to rent faster.
Hygiene measures for co-working and learning spaces include:
+ Complimentary sanitizers
+ Hands-free check-in
+ Smart lighting
+ Automatic doors
+ Movable desks for distancing
+ Reservable private offices
+ Reservable phone booths
+ Monitors for Zoom meetings
Luxury properties being developed in 2021 are anticipated to go even the extra mile to support work-from-home residents by installing hospital-grade ventilation and/or UV-light sanitization throughout their buildings and sharing co-working spaces.
2. Maintaining Gym Safety
The shift from in-person to virtual has accelerated in 2020, as evidenced by the runaway success of companies like Peloton. Despite this, managers still need to adopt new solutions for residents who use shared gym spaces in apartment complexes.
Creating schedules that limit occupancy with built-in time blocks for sanitization is important. Some multifamily properties are even introducing new technology in 2021 that visualizes occupant density so that residents can make more informed decisions. In high-end apartments, regular steel gym equipment is being replaced by equipment with copper handles, including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and even door handles.
Ultimately, property managers will have to make strategic decisions on how to ensure their gym safety with regard to a physical, virtual, or blended fitness approach.
3. The Rise of Virtual Fitness
For residents that prefer to avoid gyms, offering the complimentary amenity of digital, at-home fitness classes that can be streamed are likely to increase in popularity in 2021.
Digital fitness classes subscription services include:
+ ClassPass Go
+ Peloton Digital
+ Beachbody On Demand
+ Alo Moves
+ AKT on Demand
+ Bulldog Yoga
+ Exhale on Demand
We expect that beginning in 2021, fitness companies specifically catering to the multifamily industry will emerge, offering both in-person and virtual fitness options. To differentiate their service offerings, they’ll have to produce high quality, interactive content, that’s curated to each property and market.
4. Digital Amenity Booking
Safely reopening and managing amenities for the on-going future means that property staff must be empowered with tools to help them limit capacity for existing apartment amenities. New digital amenity booking technology can enable staff to manage resident amenities simply and transparently.
A great example of this is Livly’s standalone Amenity Management Tool, which offers the following capabilities that help make amenity booking safe and simple:
Enable residents to browse and book amenities from their app, without leaving their units.
Set limits on the number of spots available at any given time to maintain social distancing.
Customize amenity booking duration and issue virtual Booking Passes.
Send real-time reminders about upcoming bookings.
Block out periods for sanitization.
5. Engaging Virtual Resident Events
The main four categories of apartment resident events are unlikely to change in 2021:
Health & Wellness
Education & Entertainment
Convenience and Value
Social & Sustainable
But what has changed are the delivery mechanisms. Virtualization of resident events provides a scalable opportunity to aggregate demand and create programs that are increasingly cost-effective.
Customization of residents' events is also always going to be important. Markets, cities, all have different expectations, and it's important that property managers use resident events as a means to connect directly with residents and fill the gaps in any perceived weaknesses of the apartment.
In 2021, property managers should get a head start in planning virtual resident events throughout the entire calendar year to ensure community-building and a sense of closeness on properties, which not only elevates resident satisfaction and reduces loneliness, but also increases resident retention.
6. Online Community-Building Tools
Properties represent a connected group of individuals who share the benefits of your property. They’re bound by a shared location and interest. Creating communities out of multifamily apartment living is essential to resident satisfaction and lease renewals, especially in the age of COVID-19.
In 2021, we expect to see a rise in private online apartment community feeds and networks that enable opportunities to form relationships from anywhere online. Similar to other online networks, apartment feeds and digital profiles will give both residents and staff the opportunity to connect and communicate with each other directly and safely online - for both functional and purely social purposes.
But of course, technology alone isn’t sufficient to create a community. Technology must be paired with exclusive programming and experiences. It’s this convergence of technology, programming, and specialty service providers that serves as the connective tissue of multifamily communities.
7. E-Commerce & Package Management
According to WSJ reports, UPS has recorded record shipping volume increases, with a 65% jump in shipments to the home. Having a robust package management solution will be even more important as this trend continues into the future. Residents preferences for speed and delivery reliability will remain, while property managers must adapt to geometrical increases in package volume.
Key questions to ask as property managers include:
How much do we expect package volume to increase over the next five years?
What will be the best solution(s) to manage packages?
How capital intensive will these solutions be?
How simple are the solutions to utilize for residents and staff?
One creative option is the ability to authorize in-unit package delivery, which represents a win-win for both residents and properties. Regardless, technology-driven solutions that optimize space, safety and security, speed, and reliability will win the day in 2021.
8. Short-Stay, Lease Flexibility, and In-Portfolio Transfers
Early indicators for 2021 are that short-stay accommodations are making a comeback, especially in multifamily properties. This is especially true as people are increasingly able to work from anywhere, and on a more permanent basis. Residents who are not tied down geographically because of a job will more likely be inclined to take advantage of the opportunity to travel and try out different geographies more frequently in the new nomadic, digital economy.
Another trend that’s emerging is the increased demand for month-to-month leases as renters seek additional rent flexibility. With that, residents in many locations are moving more. We predict programs that promote residents moving to in-portfolio properties at a preferred rate will serve as an attractive retention program.
That sums up the top 8 trends for apartment amenities for 2021. If you are interested in learning more about how Livly's app technology can help your multifamily apartment stay ahead of each of these trends, get in touch today.