Spike Global is continuing to grow its presence in the Northern BTR sector thanks to its latest partnership with property developer and professional landlord, Livingway. It’s market-leading tenant engagement portal, Spike Living, has already been rolled out across more than 200 developments in the UK, as the company continues to expand its foothold throughout the North of England.
Spike Global has worked with Livingway to create a white labelled version of its Spike Living portal that is now available to all tenants across its portfolio of purpose-built rental developments in Liverpool, Leeds, Stockport, Manchester, Bolton and Aberdeen.
The portal, which can be accessed through a smartphone app, will allow Livingway to simplify and streamline the day-to-day management of its buildings, helping its tenants to stay better connected and allow staff to manage enquiries and maintenance requests more efficiently. The portal will also enable Livingway to promote and connect tenants to their local area, provide discounts on local businesses, as well as offering the opportunity to create online clubs and forums, helping to instil a real sense of community.
Spike Global’s CEO, Jeremy Heath-Smith, comments: “The BTR sector has been one of the industry’s fastest growing sectors in recent years, and where city centre living has always commanded a premium, northern cities with their booming enterprise are a compelling investment opportunity. Livingway’s ethos is that renting should be a lifestyle choice, rather than a subpar alternative to home ownership, and Spike Global’s award-winning Spike Living portal is bringing the tenant experience into the 21st century. Our solutions are designed to empower tenants to build connections with their neighbours, communicate with the management team and form a closeknit community, all from their fingertips.”
Samantha Hay, CEO at Livingway, added: “Having explored many of the other tenant apps and communication tools on the market, we felt that there was nothing that provided the functionality and ease that Spike Living could. Having the ability to completely white label the portal was an important factor for us, ensuring that it ties into our brand and values. We are also able to easily integrate other platforms that we are using which means that we have one app as opposed to two or three!”
Tenants who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not, so connecting tenants to one another and allowing them to form meaningful relationships with their local community has now become a necessity rather than just a luxury.
It’s also far more cost-effective to retain happy tenants. Average turnover costsfor an apartment within the industry is around £1,200, however this number can often be significantly higher, depending on a wide variety of factors specific to the property.
Although turnover to some degree is inevitable, in many instances, developments lose tenants because the living experience falls short of their expectations. Property managers should be striving to encourage tenants to consider the entire building as their home instead of limiting the idea to just their apartment.
While it’s relatively easy to provide trendy amenities, great designs, and flashy décor, what really attracts tenants to a building, and keeps them staying year after year, is creating a sense of community and belonging that supports their wellbeing.
Why Engage With the Community?
When a new tenant moves into a building, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with others in the building, local shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring tenants feel engaged from the offset. Many of our clients team up with the local businesses to offer exclusive discounts to their tenants on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers to local restaurants.
Holding regular social events is also an important way in allowing friendships between tenants to blossom – whether that’s online or in person. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a tenant has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, tenants 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. Facilitating safe and easy communication among members of the community allows people to get to know each other more easily.
The Power of Community
Investing in developing a community not only enhances the tenant experience – it can also lead to better outcomes. Tenants are more likely to behave in a way that benefits the collective good if they feel an attachment to the people, place and community in which they live.
Although the link between a sense of community and pro-environment behaviours is an under-researched area, there is evidence that supports these observations. Fostering a sense of community and attachment to a place and to others increases the effectiveness of behaviour change campaigns in relation to both energy saving and recycling, for example.
This is because when individuals feel that they belong to a community or want to fit in to that community, and their identity is partly attached to it, they are more likely to act in a way that benefits the collective good.
The Role Technology Can Play in Engaging Tenants
Tenant engagement portals such as Spike Living can help to foster a sense of community and attachment, as well as empower tenants by providing relevant, relatable information. Research highlights that the presentation of data in terms of direct energy units such as kWh or in terms of CO2 emissions is difficult for users to understand.
However, a tenant engagement portal that can present usage information in relation to others, demonstrate impact and employ gamification techniques to motivate tenants is more effective at creating engagement and driving change. Whilst a tenant might look at their smart meter and not grasp what a kilowatt-hour is, showing that they are using more energy than their neighbours will make them instantly better informed. Examples include the amount of energy used compared with others living in a similar sized apartment in the building, the amount of carbon used in a 10-minute shower, or how much energy is saved by turning the heating down by one click.
Furthermore, having the ability to send out personalised, weather-appropriate tips to help tenants reduce consumption, as well as keeping the community engaged with useful information, can make cutting their carbon footprint seem like a positive achievement rather than an enforced misery. This mixture of education and competition creates a feedback loop of positive reinforcement that will keep the issue front of mind.
At the end of last year, Spike Global, ASK4 and Utopi released Changing Behaviours, a joint research report highlighting how working to change the behaviour of tenants can reap significant rewards. For example, strategies that tap into the natural human instinct to conform to social norms – such as providing feedback on consumption and comparison with others – can result in behaviour changes that reduce carbon emissions in the region of 7%-35%. And that’s just according to some more conservative estimates.
The report also explores and investigates the reasons why tenants, despite good intentions, behave in ways that are often at odds with these values. The reasons why tenants often fail to follow up on values with concrete actions are many and varied – ranging from feeling powerless to making a difference (especially when others around them are not doing the ‘right’ thing), a lack of comfort, a mistrust that their accommodation provider is genuine and authentic in their sustainability efforts. A lack of information on personal consumption in comparison to others also plays a crucial role.
As the BTR sector continues to grow at pace, tenant engagement will play an increasingly important role in retaining tenants as well as driving down carbon emissions.
You can learn more about the role that community can play in achieve net zero and other sustainability targets by downloading our Changing Behaviours Report below.
Mental health affects so many people from all walks of life; our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours. According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. With 1 in 6 reporting experiencing a common mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
Whilst many of us are fortunate to have a support network, not everyone is so lucky, and mental health can often go untreated and undetected.
Based in Bournemouth, Dorset Mind educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality; and encourages recovery by empowering people to develop resilience. Their 1-2-1 and group support includes befriending, counselling, groups, and mentoring for adults and young people. Their training team delivers educational wellbeing for workplaces including the official Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). There are also volunteer opportunities across the charity.
Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the heart of what we do here at Spike Global. This year, as a company, we are committing to taking part in a number of fundraising events and charity initiatives to enable Dorset Mind to continue to raise awareness and provide support for mental health in our communities.
Keep an eye out for our collaborative blogs with helpful advice on how property managers can raise mental health awareness in their communities, updates on the various challenges we will be undertaking as a company, and the positive impact that Dorset Mind is having.
You can learn more about Dorset Mind and find ways to support the work they are doing here.
Spike Global, the leading property management and resident engagement software provider, has ventured into suburban residential living, thanks to its latest client, Lancashire-based developer, Baxter Homes. Spike Global will provide a white labelled version of its Spike Living portal to residents across the Baxter developments.
The family-owned developer will be rolling out the software across its portfolio of 3 developments, starting at Oak Hill Rise, a new 86-home scheme of houses and bungalows in Garstang, Lancashire. The roll-out will then expand to take in more than 500 properties over several small schemes, including Pinfold Place and Granary Fields, maintained by Baxter’s in-house Baxter Estates management company.
Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Baxter Homes. Residents moving into the high-quality bungalows and houses built by Baxter Homes will find the portal easy and intuitive to use, and full of useful features as they get to know the local area.”
Baxter Homes’ Managing Director, Callum Baxter explained why he chose to work with Spike Global: “We were looking for a way to manage our future maintenance and management company, as well as how we could improve our overall buying journey with increased aftercare. We pay a lot of attention to our purchasers during the buying and completion phase, but we wanted to keep that going with strong aftercare, and Spike offered a great solution.”
Baxter Homes is known for treating its customers as individuals, so a resident engagement platform that could be fully customised to suit each development was a good fit for the company. “We focus on quality, working with our purchasers to create their dream homes,” continues Callum Baxter.
“At the moment, this can create files full of information – the idea is that through using the Spike Living portal we can make our purchasers’ and future residents’ lives far easier. It will be where all of their key information is stored, but beyond that we also expect it to become an interactive social hub, where new residents can get to know their neighbours and the local area, helping them to settle in.”
Jeremy Heath-Smith added: “Spike Living not only has practical uses like giving easy access to paperwork and an instant way to report snagging issues, it also provides a channel through which residents can choose to get to know each other, arrange social groups and events and make the most of offers from local businesses.”