The most anticipated solar eclipse on record. The emergence of bitcoin and continued technology advancement. One of the most devastating hurricane seasons on record. The #MeToo movement. Selena Gomez retained her status as most-followed celebrity on Instagram with more than 130 million and #love was the most used hashtag. Massachusetts earned designation as the healthiest state (shout out to our home state!) followed by the Aloha state Hawaii. Meanwhile, Florida and Utah, experienced the largest improvements. 2017 has certainly been filled with memorable moments.
The multifamily industry produced its share of news as well, as hints of a slowdown were premature and the latest tax bill might prove to have numerous wins for the industry. With that in mind, here are some of the industry’s most noteworthy and memorable moments from the year:
Package Concierge® sold to Gibraltar
An exclusive multifamily partnership was forged when Gibraltar Industries acquired Package Concierge® in February. As the apartment industry’s leading supplier and innovator of electronic package management solutions, and Gibraltar, a leading manufacturer of commercial building products, come together multifamily properties gain access to the most innovative package management solutions. We are excited about what 2018 holds for us and the Gibraltar team!
NMHC/Kingsley survey recognizes package boom
The emergence of ecommerce is a new-school concept that the largest resident survey didn’t even include package questions on its previous edition. In August, the NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report unveiled 57 percent of respondents were very interested or highly interested in package lockers. And 47 percent of those individuals indicated that they receive at least three packages a month.
New tech companies make waves
Technology has been shaping many different industries. But the ways it’s playing into the multifamily industry is groundbreaking as it has notoriously behind the tech curve. SOCi, STRATIS and ApartmentJet are the three biggest shake-ups. SOCi is changing the social media and marketing management game. STRATIS is innovating through its mobile access for residents and property managers to adjust energy and automation control for their units. ApartmentJet is the only existing short-term rental platform to assist multifamily operators to generate revenue through vacant units.
These are just a few of the defining moments of the past 12 months and some of the apartment industry’s. As we move into 2018, these trends can suggest that even more tech and digital marketing changes are on the horizon.
The rise of the Internet has impacted the globe in many ways. One of the biggest changes from the digital age is the fact people don’t have to leave their homes anymore… for anything, really. People can have a work-at-home business. They can shop from home. They can get groceries delivered straight to their front door. It’s easier than ever before to place orders online with the click of a button.
But it doesn’t stop there.
An increasing number of millennial and Gen-Xers are operating businesses out of their homes; representing companies such as LuLaRoe, Matilda Jane, Thirty-One and Etsy.
Many are enamored by the ease of running a home-based business. However, apartment renters, who make up a large portion of the millennial/Gen X demographic, can find it to be quite challenging because of the abundance incoming and outgoing shipments. These businesses require frequent, if not constant, deliveries that are shipped and received at home. Lost or delayed shipments can result in an immediate negative impact to their business success.
Apartment communities can assist here. Any community equipped with a 24-hour package locker system and a package room for larger shipments can dramatically help residents successfully run their home businesses. Depending on the industry supply contents can vary. However, in nearly every case, timely shipments are the lifeblood of the business.
Here is a look at some of the most common products shipped to these types of home-based, digitally run businesses:
- Home Decor
- Skin Care/Cosmetics
- Craft, Textiles & Other Homemade Goods
As work-at-home business continues to expand, so will their presence at apartment communities. Shipments will be amplified for these residents, and having an effective package management system in place can be the difference between losing and retaining them. With the sizable increase of work-at-home businesses, having a package solution onsite can serve as a marketing tool on its own. Prospects are already excited when they see package locker systems at a community they are touring. Having this amenity could be an even bigger draw to someone who is interested in or has already established an at home-based business.
A Budget Including Amenities Can Help You See and Save Green!
It’s that time of the year again: the preparation of next year’s budget for your community. Your budget is likely to cover a lot of different areas; from marketing and sales to staffing and screening. While these are necessary for the property to keep functioning, make sure to make room for amenities. Amenities can increase occupancy and drive increased revenues. It can also be used in your marketing efforts to generate leads. When budgeting for amenities, there are a few things you need to consider. If you follow these three steps, you’ll be good as gold!
The best amenity is a wanted amenity. A good way to gauge interest in a potential amenity before purchasing is to survey your community. What do they want? What amenity adds convenience for them? What’s going to make them want to renew their lease? You may think your community desperately needs a guinea pig playroom, but you better check first. An amenity collecting dust is a waste of money and isn’t generating ANY revenue.
Stemming off of the first point, when you figure out what amenity or amenities your community wants, it’s important to consider the ROI. You don’t want to commit to an amenity with a short lifecycle. You’re looking for an investment with long-term results. This can be challenging, especially when trends can come and go. Doing your due diligence through research will be vital to making sure your addition isn’t a dud. Find industry resources that can provide the data you’re looking for. Numbers don’t lie and they can be a great guide for keeping up with trends in multifamily!
Ok. You’ve listened to the community and you’re devastated about their lack of concern for the guinea pig playroom. You’ve also taken their suggestions and done some research on your own. Still hesitant about pulling the trigger on a certain amenity? Find a community that has what you’re looking for and go see it! For example, if you’ve been researching package lockers, find a community with a system. When you get there, ask to see the system, but also ask their opinion. Have the lockers made residents happier? Have they seen an ROI yet or expecting to? How do they work? Don’t hesitate to ask questions from an unbiased party before going into a sales process.
No one likes to budget. It’s time-consuming and can be difficult to stick to if problems should arise. But a proper budget can drive additional and recurring revenue if there’s room for an amenity. Then it’s just a matter of researching and selecting the amenity that will have the highest impact on ROI. Finally, go see it in action somewhere! An amenity can be just what your community needs to grow and thrive. Choose wisely and budget appropriately!
Pokémon Go Can Help Multifamily
On July 6th, 2016, an event of monumental proportions happened: Pokémon Go was released. The game has already revolutionized mobile gaming and is uniting people across all generations. Niantic Inc. developed the game through a licensing deal with Nintendo, the majority stakeholder of the franchise. The deal has proven to be fruitful; Nintendo’s market value jumped an astounding $7.5 billion since release! The game is simple: “catch” Pokémon with your phone in different areas of cities and towns. The game is a based on “geolocation,” GPS locations and landmarks, so one has to walk around to progress through the game. There are “Pokestops” and “Gyms” where people can get rewards, play against other Pokémon and find new Pokémon. So why should you care? This can be a golden marketing opportunity for multifamily communities. You can actually drive potential residents to your property with the game!
Pokémon Go is a “free to play” style game. This means that one can play for free, but upgrades are purchasable through an online store. One of those items is a “Lure Module,” which draws Pokémon to a certain location for 30 minutes. They cost about 99 cents per lure. The lures need to be set within proximity of a Pokestop (currently). Your community may already be a Pokestop or Gym; you just need to check in the game. Super geeky, right? Well, businesses have caught on and are driving traffic to them because people playing see where lures are and stop to get the free items. So how can a multifamily community benefit?
Marketing With Pokémon Go
If you could set lures or Pokestops at and around your property, you have a lead generation tool at your fingertips. In an interview with the Financial Times, Niantic C.E.O. John Hanke said that “sponsored locations” are coming to Pokémon Go. When this becomes available, why not set Pokestops around key amenities on-site? The pool, the gym, the locker system, the clubhouse, etc.; the list goes on and on! While people of all ages are playing the game, Millennials are playing the game the most (it’s a nostalgia thing). You can put the word out on social media about having a “Pokémon Tour” around the property. When the event starts, have players provide their contact information and walk them around the property to the different stops. They get Pokémon while you’re showing off key amenities and layouts to potential residents! It’s a win/win for everyone!
What about a “Pokémon Go Mixer” for current residents? Provide food and drinks while setting up Pokestops around the property. Have residents team up in groups and send them around the property to collect their goods. This will encourage meeting new neighbors and friends. Right now, you can lead residents around the area and collect Pokémon and items. Pair this with your other marketing initiatives (are you live streaming yet?) and you’ll have current and future residents hooked.
Get Ahead of the Game
In conclusion, this is a huge opportunity to show off your community and gain some new faces. Pokémon Go is still very new and Niantic is working out the bugs and creating more features. The ideas above are just a few examples of how your multifamily community can capitalize on the excitement as new content and features are released. So go out there and “Catch ‘Em All”… residents that is!
To play and learn more, download Pokémon Go from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.