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Case Study

The future of renting: build-to-rent operator Apo offers pioneering digital solutions to modern renting

Apo, the innovative London-based build-to-rent operator, is offering renters across the capital a new era of flexible living, through bespoke digital solutions shaped by modern lifestyles. Through its user-friendly resident app, efficient tenancy management software and engaging networking groups and social channels, Apo is fast becoming London’s most appealing option for city renting, offering fun, customisable living options at the touch of a button.

Behind the scenes, Apo worked closely with leading resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global, to completely tailor and deliver both the bespoke resident app and the lettings platform to truly set Apo apart from other rental providers. Apo’s Spike Living resident portal is a one-stop shop for neighbourhood news, maintenance queries, exclusive local discounts, and social interaction, as well as being an event booking platform for Apo’s rolling programme of resident activities including yoga classes, live music events, food markets and engaging workshops. Taking the stress out of renting, the app allows members to perform actions such as contact the on-site team, log expected courier deliveries, receive announcements about upcoming events, and forge new social connections, such as book clubs and running groups. The What’s around me feature showcases local businesses surrounding the development, many of which offer exclusive promotions and discounts to Apo residents, reinforcing Apo’s place within its wider community.

Spike Global’s powerful tenancy management software, Spike Lettings, allows prospective Apo residents to view available properties online, make enquiries, reserve apartments online, and even submit the necessary paperwork and sign contracts. This easy-to-navigate portal revolutionises the process of renting, offering city dwellers a simple option when it comes to finding a new home.

Apo Barking, the operator’s first scheme, launched in December 2020 and recently celebrated reaching full occupation in April 2022, having flourished into an established community with its 597 thoughtfully-designed one and two bed apartments. The second scheme, Apo Kew Bridge, launched in November 2021, and has since welcomed the first residents to its 487 new homes, wrapped around the premier league stadium home to Brentford FC. Apo utilises bespoke digital solutions to simplify the stresses of everyday life for its members and foster new connections between neighbours.

This multifunctional tool also equips Apo members to control their lifestyle services through a subscription-based model, allowing them to pick the perks they want at the touch of a button. Since launch, 87% of Apo Barking residents have downloaded the app, and there have been over 388 posts and comments made on online social clubs since this January alone, ranging from questions on utilities and hairdresser recommendations to where to find the best pint.

As well as the app, a blossoming Instagram platform showcases the development’s amenities, activities and four-legged friends. Apo also manages private social media groups for residents, further strengthening relationships between new neighbours by encouraging new conversations and interactions. Providing a safe space for residents to make friends, share hobbies and co-ordinate their own activities, Apo’s digital platforms help build the authentic sense of community that is attracting record-breaking tenant applications to its developments.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global says: “Providing a personalised service is key to attracting and retaining good tenants who are looking for homes that truly fit their needs. Our resident engagement portal is tailored exactly to the building and its occupants, streamlining processes, organising facilities, and forging friendships. Apo is all about being ‘a part of’ a thriving, exciting city lifestyle and we are delighted that our tenancy management software and resident engagement portal are helping to create these lively new communities.”

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How PBSA operators can help residents engage with their local community

Helping students connect to their local community and engage with their surroundings should be a major focus for PBSA operators, as students increasingly want more than just a place to stay from their accommodation.

As part of ASK4’s recent research report, The Students of 2022, prospective students across Europe were surveyed about their attitudes towards various aspects of student living including independence, discovery, and immersion. What was clear from the research is that students overwhelmingly have a desire to explore their local environments and immerse themselves in their surroundings. For example, 95% of those surveyed said that they are excited to explore a new city when they move away to study and 92% said they are excited to go out to bars and social events. Students do not view these factors as simply added bonuses of studying at university either, as 75% said that exploring a new town and city is an important part of the university experience. For PBSA operators, this presents an excellent opportunity to cater for this key part of the university journey and facilitate the connections to the city or town their residents are living in.

ASK4 and Spike’s unique offering helps to meet many of the needs and expectations that students have around student living and socialising, streamlining the process for PBSA operators and providing useful data and analytics to improve the service to their residents.

When students first move into their new accommodation, it is likely that they will be unfamiliar with the surrounding area and may not have made friends or met many people. Through Spike Global’s resident engagement portal, Spike Student, residents are able to connect with each other instantly, and the ‘what’s around me’ feature can highlight local shops and services, as well as providing access to a whole host of other details to help reduce anxiety around moving to a new location on their own at what can be a very turbulent time in their lives. As the portal caters exclusively for building residents, it offers a safer alternative to groups on Facebook or other prominent social media, which are more easily infiltrated by spammers and strangers, helping students to make truly local new friends. Both ASK4 and Spike aim to help clients ensure their residents feel engaged from the offset and feel a real sense of community and belonging. 

Many accommodation providers who provide the Spike Student portal to their residents also team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from hairdressers, and coffee shops, to local bars and restaurants, all of which can be promoted to residents and driven through the Spike Student smartphone app. According to the 2020 Knight Frank / UCAS Student Accommodation Survey, 29% of students said they would pay a rental premium for having access to discounts for shops/amenities in the local area, therefore providing additional value for residents.

This not only helps to introduce residents to their surroundings in a convenient way but also connects local businesses to the accommodation itself to further integrate the building as part of the community. 

Spike Student can also be used to link up with external partners to provide additional services, from bedding packs and weekly cleans to pizza delivery and beauty services, which could result in additional revenue streams in the form of commission. Providing an easy way for students to interact and helping them to engage with their surroundings is now a necessity. Almost half of the university student population (46%) admit to experiencing loneliness during their time at university, and the desire from the student cohort to make new friends and collaborate cannot be overlooked. With an average engagement rate of 87% across its portals, Spike Student is proven to help residents truly live their best student lives and take from the university experience everything they want to.

DO YOU REALLY NEED A RESIDENTS’ APP?

Join our webinar on the 14th June with ASK4 to learn the ways in which residents’ apps can not only help foster communities in accommodation but also help PBSA owners and operators achieve all important ESG targets. Register below.

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Case Study

Moda Living launches industry-first service to help residents go green

Moda Living has launched a new data-driven proptech platform to revolutionise the way its residents interact with their energy consumption and sustainable behaviours, helping its communities save money and boosting the sustainability of Moda’s UK-wide portfolio of neighbourhoods in first for the UK build-to-rent sector.

The rental living developer and operator has worked with MyModa app developer Spike Global and ESG technology partner Utopi to give residents access to live energy usage data around the clock.

All Moda Living neighbourhoods are equipped with Utopi smart sensors throughout their homes and amenity spaces, which monitor environmental factors such as air quality, temperature and energy usage. In the last six months alone, these sensors have captured more than 105 million data points at Moda Living sites. With a pipeline of more than 18,400 new rental homes, the service will eventually be capturing 18.7 million data points every day across its portfolio.

For the first time, the new service will put this data in the hands of Moda residents to give them live readings from the sensors throughout their building, providing them with a range of new benefits.

Residents are increasingly conscious of their impact on the planet, and the new partnership will allow them to monitor their carbon emissions, ranking them within their neighbourhood, helping change behaviours, supporting residents to play their part in the journey to Net Zero Carbon. This pioneering approach will connect Moda Living residents to their building, including more data insights into how their homes and amenity spaces are performing. Operating teams at Moda Living sites will use the new tech to incentivise energy-efficient behaviour with events and competitions, boosting overall sustainability as well as engaging with residents on an issue that matters to them.

The platform will also provide residents with personalised hints and tips they can use to make small changes that will have a big impact on their utility spend. In the midst of the UK’s cost of living crisis, the new technology will help protect residents from rising energy costs and feel in control of their spending, contributing to overall wellbeing.

Moda will also be able to use the data from the Spike/Utopi partnership to set its own targets for reduction in consumption and spot anomalies. Residents with poor energy scores, for example, will be identified and offered advice and support to reduce their costs.

The service will be rolled out across Moda’s portfolio of next generation rental living platforms, from its city centre build-to-rent towers to its new suburban single family homes platform, Casa by Moda. Across its range of living platforms, Moda has a pipeline of 18,400 new homes for rent across the UK. The new tech service will help tens of thousands of renters monitor their energy costs in real-time and enhance the sustainability of their lifestyles.

As the first operator to engage with the new partnership with Spike and Utopi, Moda worked closely with both businesses to design a product that will drive down carbon emissions from Moda’s real estate portfolio while giving residents unprecedented access and control of live information about their homes and wider neighbourhoods.

It forms part of Moda’s commitment to embracing new and leading technologies across its operations to support its ESG strategy, Next Generation Futures and help residents live their happiest, healthiest lives at its rental neighbourhoods across the UK.

Dan Brooks, Director at Moda Living, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first build-to-rent operator in the UK to roll out this crucial technology to our residents and neighbourhoods. As a long-term operator of our developments across the UK, we have a responsibility to our people and our planet to run our UK-wide portfolio as efficiently as possible. We are also dedicated to protecting and enhancing the wellbeing of the teams and residents that live, work and play in our rental communities. This new tie up with Spike and Utopi adds a new level to this, enabling us to communicate transparently about our green performance and help them keep energy costs down as the cost of living soars across the country.” 

Utopi’s Co-Founder & CMO, Ben Roberts, said: “We have been very keen to get the building data we collect into the hands of the residents for a while, we know it has a major impact on a building’s sustainability performance, as the residents are the ones in control of their consumption. We’re thrilled to be rolling our tie up with Spike Global out for the first time with Moda Living – a business dedicated to sustainability and wellbeing in that will champion the benefits our new service provides both the business and its residents.”

Spike Global CEO, Jeremy Heath-Smith, said: “Our clients are increasingly concerned about the climate emergency and not only need to understand their building’s performance but want to use that information to actively engage and encourage residents to reduce their CO2 output and energy consumption. By partnering with Utopi and rolling this service out with Moda, we will be able to make this information readily available via our Spike Living portal, encouraging everyone to make a positive change.”

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Insight

Spike Global and Utopi join forces to help residents go green

Spike Global, the leading property management and resident engagement software provider, is pleased to announce that it has formed a strategic partnership with IoT and Data Integration SaaS provider Utopi to increase visibility and access to building performance data.

With the demand for strong ESG performance, coupled with a greater focus on creating more sustainable buildings, developers are increasingly seeking ways to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

At the moment there is a lack of transparency when it comes to understanding how a building is performing, which makes it difficult to establish a baseline or monitor sustainability improvements. This new partnership will put key information into the hands of those with the power to make sustainable changes – whether that’s building managers or tenants themselves.

Through the use of specialist smart devices and API integrations, some of which were developed in-house, Utopi is able to collect live and actionable data from managed residential accommodation. This data is then available real-time via the UtopiConnect software platform, which can be integrated with other cloud-based products such as Spike Global’s market-leading resident engagement portal, Spike Living.

By partnering with Utopi, Spike’s clients will have the opportunity to understand their building’s performance and identify areas for improvement. In addition, the information can empower individual residents living in that development to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption by prompting them to reduce their impact, and enabling them to compare their performance with other anonymised residents within their building.

Developers and operators will also be able to use this data to set targets for reduction in consumption and spot outliers and poor performing residents, allowing them to offer advice and support. This leads to vast improvements in ESG scoring, and could also support the introduction of fair usage policies to counter ever-increasing energy costs.

Speaking of the partnership, Utopi’s Co-Founder & CMO, Ben Roberts, commented: “We have been very keen to get the building data we collect into the hands of the residents for a while, we know it has a major impact on a building’s sustainability performance, as the residents are the ones in control of their consumption. Partnering with Spike was a no-brainer and the integration of the two platforms was seamless. We are really looking forward to inspiring communities to take action against the climate crisis.”

Speaking of the partnership, Spike Global’s CEO, Jeremy Heath-Smith, commented: “Our clients are increasingly concerned about the climate emergency and not only need to understand their building’s performance but want to use that information to actively engage and encourage residents to reduce their CO2 output and energy consumption. By partnering with Utopi, we will be able to make this information readily available via our Spike Living portal, encouraging everyone to make a positive change.”

Spike Global will be exhibiting at this year’s UKAA BTR Expo being held on 28th April at the London Design Centre, where attendees will be able to learn more about the new partnership with Utopi.  

Contact us to arrange a meeting.

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Case Study

Spike Global works with Pocket Living to help create thriving communities

Building strong new communities is at the heart of what Pocket Living is all about – the developer specialises in creating affordable homes for first time buyers in the London boroughs where they live or work. At 20% below market price, the compact, carefully designed homes come with access to a wide range of shared spaces and amenities that help residents get to know their neighbours – an ambition that is perfectly supported by Spike Global’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living.

Leading resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global creates white-labelled versions of its Spike Living portal for every client’s particular building or development – and Pocket Living has just signed up to put the portal into use at its latest housing development, Addiscombe Grove in East Croydon, which will be welcoming its first residents in the coming weeks.

Pocket Living has a successful track record of working with Spike on a number of previous developments across London, and is keen to roll out the software for future projects having seen how well residents engage with the portal. Across its developments more than 85% of residents have downloaded the app and are using the portal to make everyday living easier.

There are over 6,000 visits to the portal each month, and some of the most popular forums have accrued nearly a thousand posts and interactions, with the two most used groups being My Community-VR and Harbard Close Residents, which support people who live at Pocket Living’s Varcoe Road development in Southwark and Harbard Close in Barking.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, is delighted with the uptake among Pocket Living residents: “Across Pocket Living’s portfolio there have been extremely high uptakes of portal usage”.

Spike Living can be used in a wide range of ways – it’s invaluable for the everyday, practical things such as reporting a fault or arranging for a parcel to be collected, as well as for booking the communal spaces that Pocket Living is well known for, whether that’s a co-working desk or a fitness room.

“It can also do so much more,” says Jeremy. “The forums and social groups enable people to meet like-minded new friends who live in their development– the portal is only open to genuine residents, so it’s a safer and more localised alternative to conventional social media.”

“The portal also enables residents to get to know their surroundings by allowing local businesses, from restaurants to cleaners, to offer exclusive discounts to a development’s residents. All of this helps residents to feel more at home, more quickly. For the managers of a building it provides a straightforward way to engage with residents and make them feel valued, which will ultimately result in them staying there longer.”

Lorna Evans, Head of Customer Experience at Pocket Living, comments: “As Spike Living has already worked so successfully at many of our other sites it was the obvious choice for our latest development in East Croydon. At Addiscombe Grove we are promoting a real community feel with a landscaped communal roof terrace, Nordic garden and Hidden garden, each with fantastic views over south London and which are perfect for socialising and meeting neighbours. We also offer a wellness room, residents’ lounge, and co-working space, that can all be booked via the portal.”

“But beyond the practicalities, we also try to foster a spirit of togetherness among our residents, from giving them a welcoming drinks reception to helping them to set up a residents’ management committee to decide how their building should be run. The Spike Living software gives us another way of helping people to settle in.”

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Insight

Spike Global partners with TLJ Access Control to offer convenient, touch-free keyless entry

Leading resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global is pleased to announce that it has joined forces with global expert TLJ Access Control to offer the option of touch-free, keyless entry via its Spike Living portal. Tenants in a building enabled with the new technology will be able to access their own front door through a single smartphone app bringing a host of user benefits, including:

  • No need for physical keys – unlimited digital keys on a single app
  • Multiple doors can be controlled under the same account, for example building main entrance, lift or stairwell, apartment door, gym and even car park barrier
  • Dynamic and convenient – keys can be added, amended and revoked remotely
  • Digital keys can be issued to guests, visitors and family members instantly and securely via the Cloud

Not only does keyless, electronic door entry offer convenience for residents, it also has benefits for property managers – not least through relieving them of the burden of dealing with the fall-out from lost, stolen or damaged keys and keycards. In addition, it offers a streamlined way to deal with amenity bookings. For example, if a resident has booked the use of a communal facility such as a cinema room or meeting space, it will remove the need for a member of staff to unlock the facility or be available to hand over a key. Instead, access can be granted via the app, and time limited to the specific booking.

By integrating TLJ’s electronic access control systems into the Spike Living portal, there is no need for residents to have two separate apps if their building has keyless entry, making it quick, convenient and user-friendly. And, of course, in the unlucky event of a smashed or stolen phone access can be speedily controlled or cancelled on another device.

The lack of physical keys, especially plastic key cards or fobs, also helps with the property’s ESG commitments – an increasingly important consideration for developers and operators alike.

Luke Martin, TLJ’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “What Spike Global and ourselves have in common is the desire to make life as simple and intuitive as possible for our customers, so working together makes perfect sense. Keyless door entry is convenient, hygienic and secure, giving peace of mind to residents that only authorised people can gain access to the building. Accessing it through the familiar medium of the Spike Living portal means that everything residents need is always at their fingertips.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, adds: “We are delighted to be working with TLJ, which, like us, is a forward-thinking company that aims to make everyday life easier through smart technology. With many developers now choosing electronic door entry for its all-round ease and convenience, the ability to integrate this into a single resident engagement portal, accessed via a single app, will be an attractive option to building management teams.”

The Spike Living portal is perfectly tailored to each individual building and its facilities, providing residents with one simple, intuitive app that allows them to communicate with the management and with each other – making life easier in a multitude of ways. From booking laundry services, reporting a maintenance issue or checking if the concierge has received a parcel, the app makes routine communication quick and easy. Not just for the practical things in life – Spike Living can also help new residents to meet each other, make friends, find activities and get to know their local area by receiving targeted offers and discounts from nearby businesses. With the additional option of integrating electronic access control systems, it is now more useful than ever.

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Are your residents suffering from app fatigue?

The average person now has over 100 apps on their smartphone. It’s likely you already have an app to book your gym class, various apps to communicate with family and friends, along with a whole host of apps to report maintenance issues, access discount codes, and to keep up to date with the latest goings-on in the neighbourhood. By being exposed to so many different communication channels, are we at risk of feeling overwhelmed and ironically less connected as a result? This may certainly be the case when it comes to providing technology for residents.

We are all living increasingly busy lives and so are always looking to be smarter with our time. Consumers and residents are no different, we want to be in charge of our decisions and self-serve. Gone are the days when we want to be restricted to opening hours or being placed on hold waiting for someone to answer at the end of the phone.

Residents also value their time too much to live in properties that don’t cater to their needs. Properties lacking sophisticated amenities or requiring a multitude of apps and portals are turning residents off. Equally, if amenities aren’t easy to use, potential residents won’t want to pay a premium for apartments. If management does not nourish the feeling of exclusiveness by providing branded resident portals and apps, residents know they can get it in a different community.

Enhancing Resident Experience

Single-purpose apps are no longer the way forward. Vertically integrated software and the spaces they support must blend harmoniously. Interoperability is key when running a development, especially when residents now expect a seamless journey, starting from when they are searching and selecting an apartment online, reserving and completing all the necessary paperwork, to moving in and managing their daily lives. Imagine the hassle of residents having to go into multiple apps or places to manage amenity bookings, resident messaging, reporting maintenance issues, and managing delivery requests. Fractured interactions with multiple apps leave residents feeling detached from the unified brand a building may be trying to cultivate. And app fatigue is a real problem for active people. “If these applications are not all integrated into one platform, you are not providing technology as an amenity to your residents, you are providing a massive headache,” states IoTforAll.com’s James Calder

To keep residents happy, one multi-purpose management app is a necessity. “This one-stop-shop philosophy implies that customers would only need to install one app, sign up once, add their credentials a single time, and then enjoy multiple applications at their fingertips right away, all-in-one,” Dr. Fardad Zand claims on Entrepreneur.com. And once a building transfers to one multi-purpose app, residents find single purpose apps a nuisance. Besides being inefficient and time-consuming, single purpose apps also have negative effects on resident phones. Devices with multiple apps lack performance and drain batteries faster. And who really wants to remember which app you clicked on to do one of ten different things?

Spike’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living, allows residents to virtually manage every aspect of their lives from a single app. From being notified when a package is ready to be collected from reception, booking a slot at the gym, hiring a private meeting room, interacting with other residents via forums and clubs, or learning about the local retailers in which they can support, Spike Living allows residents to build budding friendships with neighbours and get the most out of their buildings.

Furthermore, by providing residents with easy access to frequently asked questions, appliance guides, and safety procedures, as well as the latest news from the wider community, having all this information readily accessible means that more often or not, residents can find the information they need themselves, whenever they need it. This reduces the workload on property managers and saves them from repeatedly responding to the same questions.

What’s more, important documents like signed contracts can also be stored centrally and securely ensuring that paper-based copies do not get lost. This makes contracts and vital information easily accessible, and notifications can be sent to residents whenever there are newer versions needing to be reviewed and signed, allowing for full traceability.  

Digitalise your property management

Property managers are also demanding a single place to manage a resident’s entire journey. Having a central place to store key information on each resident, such as notes and reminders on the little things that can really help set a development apart, like a resident’s birthday or moving in anniversary.

A centralised app also allows property managers to easily communicate with residents which enables them to be more proactive. From notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, promoting onsite events, 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. 

One of the most time-consuming parts of a property manager’s job is the handling of maintenance issues, with minor tasks easily turning into major ones if they aren’t dealt with quickly and efficiently. Without an easy and simple way for residents to report maintenance issues, they can often go unreported. Mobile apps speed up the communication in these instances and allow residents to quickly 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.

Having a single resident app that can be perfectly tailored to the facilities and services they offer also makes sound business sense. Spike creates white-label versions of its Spike Living software, meaning that each portal is personalised for every client, so it is always tailored to the specific requirements of both the management and the building. As well as connecting residents with the amenities and services available onsite, it can also be linked up with external partners to provide additional services, from bedding packs and weekly cleans to pizza delivery and beauty services, which could provide an added source of income through commission if desired.

Summary

Given that 92% of residents prefer digital communications, offering a single place to connect digitally to property managers and their surroundings should no longer be seen as a luxury but a necessity. We are all living increasingly busy lives, and by providing a central place to manage all activities, whether that’s handling package deliveries, booking the onsite gym, or raising maintenance issues, having an easy way to enable these services is key. With an average engagement rate of 87% across its portals, Spike Living is proven to help residents truly live their best lives

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Spike Global forms strategic alliance with Select Ireland to accelerate adoption of its leading property management solutions

Spike Global, the leading property management and resident engagement software provider, is pleased to announce that it has formed a strategic partnership with Select Ireland, a specialist business consultancy company based in Ireland.

With more than €5.5 billion invested in the Irish property market in 2021 according to real estate agent Savills, the partnership will enable Spike Global to benefit from Select Ireland’s in-depth market knowledge and strong ties with leading real estate companies to help accelerate the adoption of its solutions.

Speaking of the partnership, Spike’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tim Butchart, comments: “It is a pleasure to be partnering with Select Ireland. Its unique understanding of the Irish real estate sector will ensure that investors, operators and developers alike will be able to benefit from using leading technology to improve and enhance residence experience, whilst at the same time reducing operating costs.”

Spike’s resident engagement portals, Spike Living and Spike Student, can be white-labelled and completely tailored to the needs of each development, enabling residents to enjoy the spaces they live in and form meaningful connections. Whilst its end-to-end tenancy management software, Spike Lettings, enables operators to seamlessly manage its tenant journey starting from initial enquiry, through the reservation stage, all the way to moving in.

Spike’s solutions have provided a safe online space for residents and students to communicate with each other and become familiar with their neighbours, through forums and real-time chat rooms. Unlike social media, Spike’s software can also be building-specific, enabling residents and other newcomers to meet like-minded people, without being at risk from scammers and strangers.

Additionally, Spike’s solutions can provide a much-needed lifeline to the local high street, whereby residents are encouraged to use the services available to them on their doorstep. For instance, developments can offer residents a guide to all the places around them, and by partnering with local businesses, can offer exclusive discounts, encouraging residents to fall in love with their independent chains.

Susan Barrett, Founder and CEO, Select Ireland, comments: “Fundamentals of strong economic growth, increase in population and ongoing imbalance between supply and demand continues to fuel growth in Ireland’s residential investment sector. As we enter this post-pandemic era there is a real need for Spike Global’s smart solutions within the Irish market.

Working across the residential sector, including build-to-rent, build-to-sell, purpose-built student accommodation, co-living and later living, residents today are increasingly demanding more from the spaces they live in. Spike solutions help engage residents leading to a safer, better informed, and more compelling community environment for all.  Having access to easy-to-use resident portals such as Spike Living, residents can not only communicate and report issues to their landlords directly and promptly, but also get to know their neighbours and integrate into the local area, which will undoubtedly lead to greater tenant satisfaction and retention.” 

From an operational perspective, Spike’s cost-effective solutions not only enhances the resident experience but also greatly increases operational efficiencies creating a win-win situation and competitive advantage for the growing number of real estate companies worldwide who have already successfully adopted Spike’s Solution.

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Case Study

Spike Global expands into Germany with digital solution for convenient cospaces

Leading resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global has launched its first project in Germany, enabling residents to get the most out of renting a home through Cospaces provider POHA House.

Cospaces is a concept that offers people the option to live, work and come together under one roof; streamlining all aspects of life, celebrating spaces, experiences and connections within neighbourhoods. Residents at POHA House can choose to share as much or as little space with their neighbours as they wish, with a range of apartments on offer from Flatshare, Flatshare-ensuite, POHA Studio (or regular-sized), and Big Studio, with the added benefit that all bills are included. 

The first POHA House is directly across from Bremer Platz in the centre of the historic German city of Münster, a central area that has a young, multicultural scene. Inside, there are two sizes of studio apartments, to suit one or two people, plus community spaces, including a huge terrace for chilling, working, or exercising. The second, which will open shortly in Aachen, offers a variety of rooms and apartments, with further developments in Essen and Hamburg opening in 2024, and plans for expansion into the UK housing market.

Spike Global is delighted to have been chosen to provide its market-leading end-to-end tenancy management software solution Spike Lettings, which streamlines and simplifies the initial process of moving into a rental property, allowing prospective residents to easily find and reserve their ideal apartment online. 

Once moved in, Spike’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living, provides a user-friendly app-based interface to help residents make the most of the flexible, Cospaces lifestyle. With so many facilities available to be enjoyed, having a reliable method of booking is essential for stress-free living. The Spike Living portal, which is completely tailored to each individual building and its facilities, means that residents can check availability and book straight from their phones – whether that’s ensuring there’s a washing machine free to do their laundry, booking a desk in the shared workspace or a private meeting room, or reserving the meditation room to destress after a long day.

Cospaces have many benefits – in particular the way it provides a ready-made social life. POHA House makes use of Spike Living to ensure that everyone is instantly aware when events are planned and where they take place, booked easily with a few clicks. They are also empowered to start making their own fun – Spike Living offers a safe alternative to conventional social media, giving residents the chance to meet and get to know each other, as well as arranging their own events, with the knowledge that only their neighbours have access to the network.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, explains: “Loneliness can be a big problem when living in a city, but both the Cospaces concept and our Spike Living software present innovative solutions to this problem. The Cospaces model offers shared spaces and shared experiences that aim to turn strangers into friends. Spike Living makes sure that the shared aspect of that lifestyle runs smoothly, avoiding friction between residents. It also helps people to get to know the neighbourhood beyond the walls of the apartment complex, by presenting residents with special offers and incentives from local businesses. We are looking forward to working with POHA House and supporting its expansion within Germany and beyond.”

Co-Founder and CEO of POHA House, Yianni Tsitouras, selected Spike Global for its track record in bringing residents and building managers together. “There is a massive shift in what we need in housing and what our homes should look and feel like. For instance, Co-living has developed into what we know as Cospaces, where people can connect in various settings. For POHA, we cared about having a software partner that is versatile and flexible and able to cover all our needs in one, easy-to-use tool for our team and residents. In a competitive marketplace, Spike continues to do all that without failing to look exceptionally cool.”

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Meeting expectations of Build to Rent tenants

Investment in the UK Build to Rent sector hit another record high in 2021, according to research by global property consultancy Knight Frank, taking the full-year total to £4.3bn. The UK’s Build to Rent stock now stands at around 60,000 completed homes – with a further 170,000 either under construction, with planning granted, or in pre-planning.

This brings the total pipeline to a possible 230,000 Build to Rent homes due to be delivered in the coming years, bringing more choice, and increasing competition. But how can operators ensure they are attracting and retaining tenants?

Connectivity as a necessity

Given that 92% of tenants prefer digital communications, offering a single place to connect digitally to their building should no longer be seen as a luxury but a necessity. Tenants move into Build to Rent developments to have some of their life admin taken care of – whether that’s handling package deliveries, managing visitors, or maintenance issues, having an easy way to enable these services is key.

Tenants no longer have the time or patience to go into multiple apps or portals to manage their daily lives, therefore it’s vital that operators start to think about the overall tenant experience. For instance, Spike’s resident engagement portal, Spike Living, allows tenants to virtually manage every aspect of their lives from a single app.

Tenant Interaction and Community Engagement  

When a tenant moves into a building, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with local shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring they feel engaged from the offset. Many of Spike’s clients team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their tenants on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers, to local restaurants. All of which can be promoted and driven through Spike Living.

Holding regular social events is also crucial in allowing friendships between neighbours to blossom. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a tenant has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their lease. 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.

On-site staff is likely already running regular social events for its tenants. With Spike Living, community managers can communicate and promote the details of the event, and drive all bookings via the portal, providing an easy way to understand how many tenants to expect, or what events are getting the most engagement.

Resident portals also allow tenants to interact with each other outside of social events, thanks to features like online clubs and forums – we’ve seen tenants start their own book clubs, and even arrange communal BBQs and beer tasting classes.

Streamlining property management

Feedback gained by HomeViews for their 2021 Build to Rent report found that tenants that had previous experience using resident portals instantly recognised how useful they would be in their new buildings. Tenants who did not have access to a portal also believed it would help issues be resolved quicker. Furthermore, there were also frustrations voiced about having to email reception to book onsite amenities, which makes accessing them a lot more laborious than it needs to be. Tenants want to do things when it suits them, without having to involve anyone else. A mobile portal enables tenants to complete important life admin, like paying rent, reporting a maintenance issue, booking the gym, or reading the latest fire safety policy – without having to rely on anyone else.

The benefits aren’t just in allowing tenants to have instant access to property managers, resident portals also provide property managers with an opportunity to be proactive, such as notifying tenants when a lift is out-of-service, promoting onsite events, or more importantly, sending out an urgent push notification informing tenants 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. 

With 31% of tenants choosing not to renew their lease due to seeking better apartment management according to research by NMHC and Kingsley, this seems the logical place to start.

Summary

As competition in the BTR sector increases, technology will play an ever-important role. Developments that do not offer an easy way for tenants to manage their daily lives certainly run the risk of falling behind. Spike Living makes the operation and management of BTR properties easier and more efficient than ever, ultimately improving tenant satisfaction and reducing turnover.