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Adding Value in the Age of Virtual Amenities

Here’s a crazy fact: the first generation to grow up with continual online access, Generation Z—also known as the iGeneration or Post-Millennials—is getting ready to enter the rental world. Gen Z’ers consume technology at a higher rate than any other demographic—checking their smartphones every three minutes. With smart home technologies having played such a big role in their lives, they have some pretty high expectations about what life as a resident should be like. More so, the generations behind them are catching up and wanting very similar experiences as they become more and more tech savvy.

Most compelling, is that these expectations are now becoming the difference between whether a resident signs a new lease or stays at a particular property in the future. This wave of “proptech” (short for property management technologies) and virtual amenities is forever changing how residents assign value to their communities and whether they stay or go. According to Sprout Social, Gen Z and Millennials lead the way in spending their money with brands that they have had a positive exchange with from a technologies standpoint.

Take for instance package management. 60 million Gen Zers reside in the U.S. and spend almost $44 billion annually in online shopping (Source: Retail Dive, 2017). In addition, there are over 80 million Millennials who also spend $600 billion annually (Source: Forbes, June 2017) Combined, these two segments account for an unprecedented amount of packages being shipped—last year Amazon alone shipped over 5 billion packages. It's likely that you receive handfuls, if not dozens, of calls each day asking where a package may be - which is wasting time for your team and can be frustrating for your residents. Offering a solution isn't just a good idea - it's huge for retention and resident satisfaction. Now more than ever, amenities don't have to be things like a new pool or gym - people are looking for accessibility, ease, and consistency between their expectations and their reality. 

Communication is also king. Your residents and prospects want to have their questions answered immediately - it's just the name of the game these days. Have you implemented a simple and streamlined way for residents to pay rent, contact your team via text and/or submit work orders via mobile? Offering these solutions is more than a value-add for your property - it's an amenity that will continue to persuade lease renewals and new leases for years to come!

The bottom line is that technology, when integrated into your resident’s everyday lifestyles, becomes a powerful enabler and accelerator for both improving experience and adding massive value to all of your residents. It's no longer a one-day type of thing... it's a now thing!

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