Our normal messaging in the RentVision Blog focuses on how to develop a marketing plan that earns and converts more leads for your apartment community. Having a helpful website with walkthrough video tours and floorplan-specific photography is a great start; so is a digital advertising strategy that gives you the traffic you need when you need it.
But other than just investing in a great marketing plan, multifamily executives should also be thinking about how they could be upgrading their properties. Ask yourself this: Is there anything I could add to my properties that will improve their reputation and make them stand out amongst others?
I am talking specifically about technological enhancements that will both enliven your current residents' living experiences and resonate with potential residents when featured in your apartment community's marketing.
Here are three tech trends that I believe multifamily executives should pay attention to:
1. Smart gym equipment.
I'm sure by now you're familiar with Peloton. At the moment this blog was written, Peloton is a publicly traded company valued at over $44 billion. The brand's foundational product is an exercise bicycle with a large screen that connects to the internet. This gives riders the ability to join live or recorded cycling classes with training instructors, race against other people, video chat with friends, and jam out to great tunes—all from the comfort of home. The company also has a treadmill that follows the same concept, as well as a mobile app featuring cycling, running, yoga, and strength workout classes.
I purchased the Peloton bike for my wife's birthday in 2019. We didn't know at that time just how valuable the bike would become for us. When my gym closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I turned to our Peloton and ended up falling in love with it. The classes and competition have driven my biking to new heights, and I was even able to video chat with a friend from college who lives across the country. I was so happy with it that I wondered if I may ever return to my gym again and began looking for weight lifting machines that offered a similar experience as the Peloton.
In comes the Tonal, or the 'Peloton of strength training'. Since I've purchased it, I've found that to be exactly the case. The Tonal uses electromagnetic force to provide weight resistance, and allows you to perform a variety of exercises by adjusting the bars to different heights. You can join live classes or begin programs with instructors who walk you through every workout.
What I love most about my Tonal machine is that I never have to pick my weight or count my reps. Those things occur automatically, and, when it sees that I am getting stronger, it uses machine learning to increase the weight for me. It also picks up on when I'm struggling and automatically kicks in to 'spotter mode' to help me finish my reps.
Purchasing the Peloton and Tonal for one of your properties is like offering a personal trainer in your clubhouse that your residents can work out with anytime they want. As an added perk, your gym could become a smaller, more functional space without all that heavy weight equipment. We know these machines are soaring in popularity, so why not jump on this trend and please both current and potential residents? Think about how attractive your property could become when your Peloton or Tonal is featured in its marketing.
2. Electronic car charging stations.
I am a big believer in Tesla, and its CEO Elon Musk. His company had the ambition and foresight to prove that electric cars were not just a gimmick, but the future. After years of other car companies making fun of Tesla for believing this, they're starting to jump on the electric car bandwagon because they know Musk is right. Now Tesla is worth more than Ford, General Motors, and Toyota combined. I predict that electric cars will eventually take over the auto industry.
As for us in the multifamily industry, now is the time to begin considering what it will take to accommodate the electric car movement. Someday, perhaps sooner than you may have imagined, residents are going to want to be able to charge their car on site. If that's not an available amenity, your apartment community could face some huge problems. What can you do to prepare for this? Do you need to set up a car charging station? Can you garner extra revenue from having this option? Will it become the standard for apartment communities to have one?
Obviously, we don't have a lot of answers to these questions yet, but in my opinion, this is something that can't be ignored. If you're a developer, you better have a theory on how this movement will play out and ensure future apartment complexes are built with this trend in mind.
3. Connected home devices.
The Nest thermostat was the first popular connected home device. It connects to the internet and gives you the ability to adjust your air conditioning from a mobile device. It's popular because it learns your habits and reads the weather outside to make automatic adjustments aligned to help you save money on your heating bill. I personally love my Nest because it has helped me save money, especially when I leave home and forget to turn the thermostat down.
The Nest isn't the only connected home device option that's become commonplace in the market. Light switches, locks, security cameras, and more can now be connected to the internet, too. This is a time to begin thinking about adding these smart devices to your units.
Imagine if residents had the ability to get into their apartment home without a key? That would be a great selling point (and could also be convenient for self-guided or contactless showings). What if residents want to be able to turn lights on or off using their Alexa or Google Home devices? Or what if they wanted to adjust the temperature of their unit depending on which room they're in? Like car charging stations, these are needs many future residents may want or require in a future apartment home.
Bonus trend: Predictive apartment marketing.
Call this a shameless plug, but we're throwing in an extra trend we believe you should have a strategy around: predictive apartment marketing.
Simply put, predictive apartment marketing minimizes vacancy before it occurs. In order to take control of your future vacancy, you need to be able to predict when it's coming, know if it's going to be a problem, and be prepared to fix it.
To help, we've invented a new metric called Future Occupancy Projection that predicts your future occupancy now. We compare that number with another metric called Future Occupancy Target, or your future occupancy goal, which helps you determine if your future occupancy is going to become a problem. Predictive apartment marketing utilizes this data to give you the right amount of traffic at the right time automatically. Vacancy duration is minimized and you win.
That's a future you can get behind.