One topic that always seems to stir up a lot of debate in the apartment is that of amenities. What do residents want? What generates the most interest along the property tour? What amenities are going out of style? We decided to throw the topic to you, and as usual, you didn’t let us down. Here’s what you had to say about amenities:
Do we really need a business center? I’ve been touring properties lately and they are JAMMED with residents!
- Heather Blume: You need a biz center – faxing at least and WiFi.
- Eric Brown: Why wouldn’t you invite everyone into your business center?
- Mike Whaling: It’s an opportunity for people to test drive your community.
- Erica Campbell: Biz Center doesn’t even make our top 30 amenity list on @AptsForRent.
- Justin Dunckel: We find a lot of move-ins use our business center to sign up for renters insurance, utilities, etc. while there.
- Heather Blume: A printer is a must have. A lot of people don’t have their own anymore with the shift to more paperless work.
- Nessel Inc.: You can’t assume all residents have a laptop … computers in biz center still needed, providing wifi not enough.
- Doug Chasick: Cost of broadcasting WiFi over entire prop much more $ than to biz center.
- Leigh Curry: From my studies of business center and fitness center usage – only about 10-15% of residents use biz center, but they use a lot.
- Tim Grace (Apartments.com): Concur w/ @ericacampbell – less than 1% of our users search for biz center.
- Lesa LaRocca: Common area needs to have great resident energy. Lap top checkouts, avail printer, wi-fi all must haves.
- Lisa Trosien: My tours of new construction are showing larger and more lavish biz centers than ever before. Big social impact.
- Doug Chasick: Bottom line – if it saves one resident, is it worth it?
- Nessel Inc.: We ask residents to supply their own paper and bring their own mugs to the coffee bar.
- Mike Whaling: Our designs would be in line with what you’re seeing on your tours. Still big investments being made in biz ctrs.
- Nessel Inc.: We went so far as to post resume tips and local job openings in the biz center.
- Lisa Trosien: New Lincoln property has a Mac and PC area for their biz center. Largest Mac section I’ve seen yet.
- Tami Siewruk: Biz Centers R very expensive to maintain & NOT used. Better off with an Herb Garden!
- Lisa Trosien: Putting big emphasis on social aspect as well is important. Making it about meet and greet, too.
- Ellen Thompson: One of the communities in Philly suburbs had a biz card exchange in their biz center, speaking of meet and greet.
- Lisa Trosien: Archstone calls theirs “Click Cafe”. Nice name, great ambiance.
- Carmen Krushas: Partner w/fedex and set up satellite biz offices for real ancillary income.
- Mike Whaling: Why not host a tweetup or Yelp meetup?
- Eric Brown: Our @Urbane_Space, a clubhouse converted to a cowork space, has become a buzz of activity.
- Eric Brown: Co Work space has been the biggest draw we have done, absent community wide Free Wi-Fi.
Should tennis courts be repurposed? Removed? Lots of older assets have them.
- Heather Blume: Personally, I love the tennis courts. 🙂 But I like to play, and I think they make a great space for outdoor events.
- Nathalia Cruz: If they are in an area where the climate lets you use it 365 days a year, YES, if not, waste of time and space.
- Doug Chasick: Depends on your profile; 4 me question is should they be lit for nite play!
- Christian Flickinger: I think youd have more residents that are happy with a “village green” (no pun intended), dog park, etc rather thn a tennis court.
- Justin Dunckel: Remove, remove, remove. Maintenance costs are incredibly high vs. usage. Agree w/ @spoons … get a Wii.
- Kristi Fickert: Heard abt tennis courts being repositioned for roller blading/skate parks. Prob depends on demographic.
- Ellen Thompson: I think this really depends on the geography. Courts are a must in FL, I think, but maybe less so where they aren’t 4-season assets.
- Lisa Trosien: @MBrewer tore his out and put in an outdoor movie theater for his residents. Smart move!
Should tanning beds be removed as an amenity? Or added? They are VERY popular!
- Kim Cory: Ours runs all day!
- Jonathan Saar: They cause cancer—out!
- Heather Blume: Tanning beds get leases out here. That would be because of the absence of sun, so it might be a regional thing.
- Erica Campbell: Personally I like them but they have 2 be sanitized properly & u just can’t rely on residents 2 do that all the time.
Other great amenity ideas and comments along the way:
- David Kotowski: I’ve become a huge fan of salt water (saline) intead of cholorine. It’s green and cheaper to maintain.
- Justin Dunckel: There’s a big cost difference in providing global Wi-Fi in 1 highrise or midrise vs. 30 garden bldgs.
- David Kotowski: I wish some space could be set aside for a fenced dog area. Pet walks are huge!
- Heather Blume: List yourself as an available meeting space on www.meetup.com.
- Tami Siewruk: There is no blanket answer 2 amenities it is all location & profile, case by case strategy.
- Mike Brewer: Highly trained – highly professional – highly responsive people are the key amenity…all else pales in comparison.
- Heather Blume: Just allowing DOGS is huge for student communities. The dorms don’t let you have them.
- Doug Chasick: Partner w/ local biz that offer the amenities you need to compete.
- Zachary Kestenbaum: How about the “community” amenity? Encourage socializing, events, etc.
- Heather Blume: A good amenity that you can create – Guest Suites – by setting aside a couple of apartments.
- Mike Whaling: Why only promote events to residents? Why not introduce your property to other locals?
- Zachary Kestenbaum: Make the most of your amenities by letting residents view availability and reserve online.
- Joe Goers: I would think a Nintendo Wii in a clubhouse or the New Playstation Move in a clubhouse would be an Amenity.
- Heather Blume: An in-house loaner closet is a great thing to have – rug doctor, games, jumper cables, etc.
- Eric Brown: Marketing takeaway: Understand your target demographic, and what they want, and build your brand around them.
- Blog post: Is The Apartment Gym Useless in Resident Retention?
- ForRent.com’s Top 15 Searched Amenities in February
You can read the full transcript here.
What do you think? What did we forget? Are there amenities that are working particularly well for you? Are there time-honored amenities that don’t seem to generate the oohs and ahhs they once did? Share your experiences and observations in the comments!
(This week’s #AptChat included 443 tweets from 53 different contributors.)