December 2, 2019

How Owners Can Choose the Right Amenities to Enrich Residents’ Digital-First Lives

Since Richard Morris Hunt designed the first upscale apartment building in New York in 1870, the doorman has defined luxury living in cities across the country. Technology, however, is increasingly transforming that image—changing residents’ expectations and the way they think about “white glove” amenities.  

Today, residents who seek a truly modern living experience don’t value the doorman as much as they do the ability to pay rent online, share digital access to their home with friends and family, and accept deliveries when they’re not home. They know that physical spaces can be “smart,” and as a result, they seek connected experiences that provide them with flexibility, convenience, and security.

Developers have new opportunities to meet that demand, and they’ve never had as many options as they do today. According to a recent report by Building Design+Construction, owners evaluate more than 100 different amenities ranging from smart thermostats to bowling alleys when designing their properties—and often lack the ability to ensure that their choices will guarantee their building’s success.

To narrow those options, it makes sense to consider how residents are increasingly integrating technology into their lives at home. When asked what they looked for in an apartment in a survey conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates, ninety one percent of residents placed a high priority on convenience. Forty percent regularly order perishables like groceries, suggesting that unattended package delivery is a priority, while fifty percent want features like smart locks, smart lights and smart thermostats (and are willing to pay up to $30 more in rent each month to have them), suggesting that they’re seeking connected experiences that make everyday life easier.

Most importantly, sixty percent of renters believe that their home is a reflection of their identity. Residents want a home they feel connected to, and are looking for a building that responds to their needs and provides them with opportunities for personalization. So for developers facing this growing pool of amenities, data suggests that the most valuable investments are the ones that provide residents with tailored experiences and practical solutions to their everyday pain points.

Smart access products like Latch, the first full-building solution for multi-family apartment buildings, set the stage for a new class of modern amenities. With Latch, residents have the option to use their smartphone, keycard, or code to unlock their door, and can also share temporary access with visitors and service providers. This allows for easier dog walking, childcare, cleaning services, and seamless package delivery—and turns access, once a barrier to these sorts of experiences, into the facilitator of them.

Latch is equally impactful on the lives of property managers, who can use a web-based platform to manage resident and staff access, handle issues like lockouts, and improve the move-in and move-out process. Partnerships with UPS and Walmart’s Jet.com also facilitate in-lobby, unattended deliveries in cities including New York and San Francisco, reducing the amount of time that operators need to spend coordinating packages.

This single solution is redefining what it means to live in an amenitized building by prioritizing what residents care about over “white glove” or nice-to-have offerings, helping them live more convenient and connected lives, and providing them with the peace of mind that comes with increased security.

It leaves developers with a choice in how to bring their multifamily investments into the future: spend on a full menu of amenities without any guarantee of success, or focus on the amenities powered by tech—like Latch—that ensure smarter, better living for residents.

This article was originally published on The Real Deal.