Monday, March 4, 2024
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The Hospitable Apartment

How residential multifamily living Is following the hotel technology roadmap to create memorable experiences

For the past two years, the traditional American home has served as a hybrid location for “work,” “the fitness club,” “the restaurant,” and the daycare center. There is significant pressure for property owners and operators to re-evaluate their property offering to accommodate current residents and attract new customers. The coveted “lifestyle” renter has a wide variety of needs that are constantly shifting beyond traditional expectations. It is crucial to ensure your property is optimized to best suit these changing demands. Multifamily owners are incorporating more amenities and services into properties to drive occupancy and rents. The aparthotel concept is going to be incorporated earlier and earlier into the development of multifamily buildings.

In today’s complicated housing climate, conventional multifamily property designs are lacking. Recent challenges include the desire for residents to maintain distance from other renters without sacrificing location, convenience, and sense of community. As Americans continue to select multifamily properties for permanent living solutions, property management needs to provide a stable, long-term rental option with all the amenities and accommodations of a traditional apartment setting. Technology is a massive consideration for prospects choosing their permanent home. To adapt to the changing environment, residents, guests, and staff need access to core IT network resources, both wired and wireless. This increased demand in connectivity has led many multifamily properties to seek comprehensive, company-managed solutions like in-house Wi-Fi and cellular backup systems.

Forward-thinking multifamily property owners are turning to technology solutions long used by full-service convention-capable hotels. These technology designs allow for amenities such as enterprise Wi-Fi with consistent and fast connectivity throughout the property. Similarly, multifamily properties need Wi-Fi that can accommodate multiple users performing a wide variety of tasks, from real-time video conferencing to interactive gaming and IoT. Additionally, hotel technology can provide apartment residents with keyless door locks, digital signage, and immersive video walls. Management can use curated and interactive in-room televisions and kiosks with technology-driven property tours to increase prospect knowledge of the property offering. Like a hotel, property offices can use mobile app-driven check-ins and resident profiles to provide timely maintenance updates and news distribution.

Additionally, hotel technology can provide advanced video and audio surveillance systems to ensure resident safety across the property.

Technology Strategy Shift

Full-service hotels are either retrofitting or installing these IT network capabilities from the ground up to facilitate new technology experiences. Only recently have lifestyle-focused multifamily properties ventured away from the traditional practice of giving the power and value of technology to local cable companies in exchange for wiring access agreements, revenue share, door money, or exclusive marketing agreements. These agreements typically result in nominal value creation for property owners compared to the transformational value from controlling the entire connectivity experience. Fortunately, advanced multifamily properties now realize they can provide the best resident technology solutions through a nationwide partner. In this partnership, professional service providers advise and perform all the pre-planning, installation, and continued connectivity management for each property, working alongside the on-site management team. This relationship ensures that all service requests and Wi-Fi connectivity issues exist under the same corporate umbrella instead of putting the responsibility on each property to outsource their technology to local cable companies. Property managers with this type of service will work directly with the technology advisor. With services such as World Cinema’s 24/7/365 Customer Care Center, property managers can work with their technology provider to give the best possible experience for residents.

By following the leadership of full-service hotels, lifestyle multifamily communities will unlock exceptional value and control over their resident experience. Through ownership or control of core network technologies, property owners harness the full power of digital transformation. In-house technology management drives revenue opportunities through higher rents, resident loyalty and length of residence, and the ability to justify technology amenity fees. It also creates economic efficiencies by re-allocating on-site staff time to less routine work, improved safety, better control of utility consumables (electricity, water, and gas), and improved leasing and sales efficiencies.

Looking forward to bring resident value, multifamily buildings will be wired with smart living technology to allow for management at scale. Smart devices like locks, thermostats, and noise sensors help companies manage hospitality tasks remotely.

In the hospitality industry, guests can share group bookings, check-out and pay their folio through mobile apps. Complimentary wi-fi is almost always available to guests and residents. Communities now offer several ways in which residences can control and access various aspects of their home with an interactive touch screen. Residents can manage their home climate, monitor utility usage, book amenity spaces or pay dues or fees.

Technology Enables New Business Models

By controlling the core network, multifamily property owners can rapidly deploy new rental models like short-term vacation rentals and pop-up hotels inside traditionally residential communities. This hands-on solution also provides enterprise-caliber networking services with defined SLAs and guaranteed uptime, two services that have usually only been available in commercial office buildings and data centers.

Ownership or control of your entire network opens the door for new applications and value propositions. Smart buildings, smart homes, and data collection from endpoints throughout your community will open the door to business intelligence reporting and emerging control systems. This business intelligence will become commonplace in how communities are managed. Better management will ultimately result in a better resident and guest experience, increased financial returns, and optimal terminal value of the asset.

In a world of mobile devices and automated services, there’s still nothing quite like the human touch. Owners are seeing that concierge services are a huge selling point. Many complexes incorporate hotel-like reception desks for 24-hour concierge service and back of house areas programmed to accommodate deliveries of refrigerated groceries and packages. Providing amenities like these contribute to an overall better resident experience.

Emerging Multifamily Brand Standards

Hotels have long created brand standards around technology. Furthermore, multifamily housing brands will develop brand standards around technology to assure a consistent resident and guest experience from one property to the next. These brand standards will dictate the reputation of both the brand and the individual community.

Historically, there have been significant differences between a full-service hotel and a conventional apartment building. In the future, through similar technology designs, the difference between these two

property types may become indistinguishable. Technology is at the center of new amenities accelerated by the pandemic and the backbone of any smart home technology system is a community-wide high-speed internet access network with ubiquitous Wi-Fi connectivity. For owners a managed Wi-Fi system portfolio wide can save money while addressing multiple needs of the residents. A single network can control various solutions and support almost every on-site technology solution. Take security for a factor. Using ImpruviX Surveillance, owners or managers who oversee a whole portfolio or maybe just a few complexes, can view security footage from all locations in through a single database. This makes for a uniform easy standard across their brand.

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