All is fair in service and competition.
On the battlefield for attracting and retaining residents, all service-industry techniques can be part of your arsenal. And apartment owners and managers often turn to the hospitality industry for new tactics.
The Bozzuto Group works to create a distinctive resident lifestyle at their luxury apartment buildings. The operations teams at the Greenbelt, Md.-based company study the hotel service industry and take lessons from what is working best to keep customers coming back for more.
Jamie Gorski, chief marketing officer, says looking outside the multifamily industry for ideas is a great learning opportunity for apartment managers.
“We can learn lessons from everything they’re doing from design to services to technology and even how they brand,” she says. “I’m quite excited to learn from them.”
Here are three things Gorski is studying from the hotel industry:
Technology. Using a cell phone application to check in and out of a hotel is technology that can be applied to the apartment industry for move-ins and move-outs. Hotels have also created applications to rate the service a guest received during a specific stay, which can also be used in apartments to rate service, Gorski says. Ratings and reviews sites are also a place where hotels shine: Many companies have started programs to offer perks for participation in reviews and online ratings of experiences. “They’ve embraced the selling process to allow customers to participate in the experience,” she says. “They do a lot to make sure social media is part of the experience.”
Partnerships. Many hotels have long-time partnerships with spas and other retail companies that have a presence within the development of specific hotels. Gorski says restaurants and regional stores offer a huge opportunity to apartment owners because more and more residents are looking to live near unique dining experiences and specialty shops. “It seems like we did those a while ago and for some reason it went away,” she says. “We as consumers really love local boutiques, local restaurants and unique experiences.”
Design. Hotel lobbies and common spaces offer places to relax and be “alone together”, Gorski says. The concept of wanting to be in an active space, hanging out, is a modern kind of social interaction. Oftentimes when she’s traveling, she has noticed people who sit in common area spaces of a hotel and check messages or read on tablets in the company of other people. “These are intimate, yet communal areas,” she says.