Fuelled by the rise of social media, where users can create meaningful interactions with members of their local community, connecting with neighbours online has quickly become the new norm. With face-to-face contact limited over the last year, this has accelerated the trend towards increased digital engagement. Developers have found a need to instil a sense of community through resident portals and mobile apps, providing much needed social interaction for residents, as well as access to services.
It’s proven that residents who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not, and tend to post beaming reviews about where they live on websites like HomeViews. These reviews can help attract new prospects and keep occupancy rates high. And since influencer marketing is becoming increasingly important, having residents as champions is an effective tactic if you want to increase interest in your property, whilst reducing your marketing spend.
Having helpful and friendly on-site staff can play a role in keeping residents happy and engaged, but how do you ensure your staff are interacting with every resident? That’s where online portals and apps can help – enabling your team to offer that ‘personal’ experience to all residents equally.
We outline the reasons why resident portals have become a necessity for driving engagement, rather than just a luxury.
Enhance your events
Holding regular social events is crucial in allowing friendships between neighbours to blossom. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident have within their building, the more likely they are to renew their lease. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.
More often or not, your on-site staff already recognise the importance for residents to connect, and likely already offer regular social events. With a resident app, community managers can communicate the details of the event, and via a bookings tool built into the portal, gain an accurate idea of how many residents to expect.
Resident portals also offer ways for residents to interact with each other outside of social events, thanks to features like clubs and forums. Residents can post their own event announcements with neighbours – we’ve seen residents start their own book clubs, and even arrange communal BBQs and cooking classes. Considering Spike connects more than 200,000 residents with their local communities, it’s highly likely your residents would appreciate their own community mobile app if you were to offer it.
Enable your residents to self-serve
Gone are the days where residents have the time (or desire) to pop downstairs to speak to concierge or phone a specific number at a certain time to get the information they need. They want things done when it suits them, without having to involve anyone else. A mobile portal enables residents to complete important life admin, like paying rent, booking the gym or swimming pool, reading the latest community announcements – without having to rely on anyone else.
To some, the notion of self-service increasing resident engagement may seem counterintuitive. However, on-demand services deliver better efficiency for both residents and on-site staff while at the same time providing a more personalised experience.
Improve communication between residents and on-site staff
Without a mobile app, when residents want to report an issue with their property or building, they will either need to wait until the next time they pass concierge or send a dreaded email that seems to always go unanswered. This might not be an issue if they are reporting a minor issue such as a light being out, but if there’s a water leak, you want to be alerted straight away. Mobile apps speed up the communication in these instances and provide your maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. By using Spike Living, all enquiries and defect tickets can be logged centrally, as well as being tracked and shared between teams, keeping the resident informed at all times.
The same can apply when wanting to communicate directly with residents. Mobile apps enable the in-house team to provide real-time alerts, notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, or a package needing to be collected from reception. Or more importantly, sending out an urgent push notification informing residents within minutes about an immediate danger, such as a fire in their block, so they can take the necessary action such as evacuating the building.
Connecting residents with their local communities
When a resident moves into your building, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring residents feel engaged from the offset. Many customers team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers, to local restaurants. If you are already doing this, great, it’s something else that can be housed in your resident engagement portal, so it’s easily accessible to all.
Learn how Spike is working with a growing number of customers to drive resident engagement and satisfaction by downloading our brochure below.