Categories
Uncategorised

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.

Categories
Uncategorised

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

Categories
Uncategorised

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.

Categories
Uncategorised

Digitalise your tenant onboarding

Technology has transformed virtually every aspect of our lives, including how we approach the property market, with many tenants now favouring digital interaction. Research by Rentalraters.com found that one-in-seven tenants rent “without viewing”. This trend is set to continue, with online reservations and virtual viewings becoming the new normal during the last few years.

With 91% of all tenants likely to use a mobile device the next time they are looking for somewhere to live according to research by Revel, it’s imperative that landlords ensure prospective tenants can easily find and browse their property portfolio online. Although many landlords list their properties on third-party sites like Zoopla or Rightmove, having their own website that lists out their properties for rent can also be beneficial. This may seem counterintuitive at first, however this allows the landlord to take greater control of the content shown, as well as managing what next steps perspective tenants should take. For instance, by capturing their immediate interest and allowing the prospective tenant to go straight into the onboarding process, this limits the likelihood that they will continue to browse and search for alternative properties elsewhere.

What’s more, end-to-end tenancy management software solutions such as Spike Lettings, can be white-labelled and completely customised to tie into your existing marketing website, creating a seamless experience which can also help to build brand awareness. If they still want to advertise on third-party platforms, then they have the ability to manage, control and publish all listings from a central place.

Why digitalise the onboarding process?

By digitalising the applicant journey, prospective tenants can view the progression of their tenancy in real-time, communicate with the lettings team, sign contracts, and even make payments, all online. Being able to see where they are in the process can also help to manage expectations of how far along the journey they are. With every tenant following the same automated onboarding process, end-to-end tenancy management software like Spike Lettings can also provide examples of accepted documentation and a clear indication of which documents still need to be produced by the applicant, saving hundreds of admin hours having to chase for the right documents and speeding up the onboarding process. As well as having the potential to handle all reservations inhouse rather than relying on outsourced lettings agents.

Tenancy management software can also make tenant screening, arguably the most important part of the rental process, easier. Early detection of tenants who could cause damage to the property, break their tenancy, or pay rent late will also help landlords begin the tenancy with the best possible option. As online applicants increase, it’s vital that landlords are equipped to prevent fraud. From identity theft to fake bank statements, an unprepared landlord runs the risk of accepting bad applicants, which may lead to issues down the road.

Companies like Flatfair play a role in making the tenant onboarding process much slicker by eliminating the need for upfront deposits. Tenants can simply pay a one-off membership fee equal to one week’s rent (+VAT) at the start of their tenancy, authorise their debit card and settle bills at the end – similar to hotel’s check-in and out.

Managing tenants once they’ve moved in

Once a tenant has moved in, resident portals can make the lives of landlords and tenants easier. According to research by NMHC and Kingsley, 58% of renters would rather pay rent using a resident portal rather than a property website via laptop/desktop. When rent is easy to pay, tenants are more likely to pay it. If they have to jump through hoops to pay their rent, the chances of it being late increases. With a complete end-to-end tenancy management solution like Spike Lettings, landlords can also send out reminders to tenants a day or two before their rent is due and can even automate confirmations to let them know that their rent has been paid. Instead of waiting around for payments to come in or having to chase down tenants across multiple properties, they can easily view the status of each property, what rent has been paid, and what has yet to come in, all via a single dashboard.

Summary

The face-to-face business style of the property industry is changing forever, as online reservations become the new normal. Digital solutions such as Spike Lettings, can manage a tenant’s journey in its entirety, from initial enquiry, through the reservation stage, all the way to moving in, building a life there and connecting with the community.

Categories
Uncategorised

2021 – A Year in Review

With 2021 drawing to a close, we’ve taken time out to reflect and share what we’ve learned this year.

Buying, selling, and swapping

Across our client base we saw an increase in residents joining ‘marketplace’ forums, set up to enable residents to easily sell and promote their items to their neighbours within their building. At the start of the year, and as lockdowns were slowly being lifted, we regularly saw games consoles, handmade jewellery, cooking equipment, chairs, sofas, and desks being listed. The marketplace is one of the most actively used forums across our client base, helping residents to find exactly what they need right on their doorstep.  

Some of our clients have also chosen to set up ‘I’m happy’ and ‘I’m not happy’ forums in their Spike Living portals. Residents can then post issues or praise accordingly. Although this might sound risky, it gives operators the right to reply to any complaints and keeps the problem contained. Moreover, it offers residents complete transparency which often translates into trust and loyalty. 

Greater importance placed on health

Rather than the usual January spike in gym bookings and exercise classes, we saw this happen much later in the year, which coincided with the majority of lockdown restrictions being lifted. This had a continued knock-on effect where gym bookings remained unusually high all the way through to August, where they then dropped down to pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, Yoga and meditation classes were the most popular sessions being booked amongst residents, which really emphasises the importance placed on both physical and mental health.

In-person socialising

We also saw in-person event bookings increase over 1500% in March compared to January, when stay-at-home orders in the UK were lifted. Bookings rose a further 112% in July when all restrictions were lifted, and then tailed off slightly in August.

We’ve seen Christmas events, such as wreath and mince pie-making classes being held much earlier this year, with residents eager to get together to celebrate once again.

Continued rise in internet shopping

Our software processed more than 100,000 deliveries per month in 2021 and as we head towards the end of the year, we’re seeing that number rise considerably. Our Spike Living software can take away the stress of online shopping by ensuring that when parcels get delivered, residents receive real-time alerts when they are ready to collect from the front desk, eliminating the need for constant calls to the concierge or worrying whether their parcels will be left in a safe place.

Summary

Yet another year has gone by when people have spent lengthy amounts of time being at home – and there’s no doubt that this has created a long-term change of mindset when it comes to what is important about where we live. It’s not just the obvious – room to move, fresh air, access to the outdoors – in fact, as the amenities and facilities being provided by operators are becoming less differentiated, so the decision on where to live is becoming less and less about the building and the actual physical space, and more about how a tenant can see themselves building a life there.

The challenge for developers is how to set themselves apart in an era when good facilities are increasingly common; and here at Spike we see community engagement playing an increasingly important role in attracting and retaining tenants. Our Spike Living portal is much more than just an easy way to book a slot in the gym or check if the concierge has received a parcel – it can help residents to find friends, join clubs, expand their interests, and become part of a community. It can help them to book the resident’s lounge, find a good cleaner or get a discount on a round of drinks in a nearby bar – all of which creates the kind of glow that makes a tenant feel they belong.

2022 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT GUIDE

To help you hit the ground running in 2022 our Customer Success Team have put together a handy monthly guide which will hopefully provide you with some suggested content you could be sharing with your residents throughout the year.

Download a copy of our 2022 Community Engagement Guide below.

Categories
Uncategorised

Growing Community Engagement

With face-to-face contact limited over the past year, developers have had to find new and innovative ways of instilling a sense of community for its residents, providing much-needed social interaction, and ensuring key services continued to be accessible. 

It’s proven that residents who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not, so connecting neighbours to one another and allowing them to form meaningful relationships with their local community has now become a necessity rather than just a luxury.

Why engage with the community?

When a new resident moves into a new 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 residents feel engaged from the offset. Many of our clients team up with local businesses to offer exclusive discounts to their residents on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers, to local restaurants.

Holding regular social events is also an important way in allowing friendships between neighbours to blossom – whether that’s online or in-person. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has 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.

Not just a fad

With loneliness up 40% according to the Office for National Statistics, building operators and managers really came into their own during the pandemic, helping to tackle isolation.

Over the past twelve months, building operators have used our resident engagement portal, Spike Living, to keep residents informed about relevant issues, services, events, and health and safety protocols, while residents connected with their landlord, concierge, and neighbours.

Spike introduced specific COVID-19 forums for each of its clients where residents could offer or ask for help. An information centre was created providing updates, sourcing only reliable government links, while a recommended COVID-19 strategy was offered to help them continually adapt.

The forums showcased how neighbours were helping each other through the crisis. From online supper clubs to fitness and wellbeing events, the portal kept communities engaged and informed. We’ve seen conversations on sharing food, how to entertain kids, offering to deliver toilet roll and baked goods or pick up shopping – you name it!

Spike Living also helped local economies stay afloat, with residents wanting to do all they can to ensure their communities survive. Residents used our portal to connect local bakeries, local produce boxes getting delivered to flats, even a local brewery dropping off beer for a virtual tasting session.

Where Spike Global can help

Building a successful community may seem like a daunting task, but that’s where Spike can help. Our leading resident engagement and property management solutions can ensure you have the right technology in place to facilitate online and offline community engagement.

Spike’s Customer Success Team can also help with everything from creating awareness for a successful Spike Living launch, to providing monthly content and materials to share with your residents, guaranteeing your community gets the long-term ongoing support it deserves.

Spike’s solutions can be white-labelled and completely tailored to the needs of each development, enabling building operators to create and manage thriving communities, where residents can form meaningful connections.

2022 Community Engagement Guide

To help you hit the ground running in 2022 our Customer Success Team have put together a handy monthly guide which will hopefully provide you with some suggested content you could be sharing with your residents throughout the year.

Download a copy of our 2022 Community Engagement Guide below.

Categories
Uncategorised

How tenant engagement drives retention

The UK Build to Rent (BTR) sector is continuing to grow at pace, with the number of developments under construction rising 10% between 2019 and 2021, meaning there’s never been a better time for tenants searching for a place to live, with a wide range of options available. However, whilst many operators are choosing to invest in providing best-in-class amenities for their new tenants to enjoy, what else can they be doing to ensure they keep tenants renewing year after year?

In our latest blog, we look at the role tenant engagement can play in retaining both your tenants and staff.

Tenant retention

Tenant expectations now go far beyond the four walls in which they live. Although, still an important factor in attracting tenants, amenities like pools and gyms, are no longer seen as such a strong differentiator, with many BTR operators now providing a whole host of amenities and services. The focus has shifted to the lifestyle the development can offer, placing a greater emphasis on convenience, connections, and meaningful living experiences.

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.

Despite social distancing, those developments using tenant portals still managed to allow friendships between neighbours to blossom. From online supper clubs to fitness and wellbeing events, tenant portals such as Spike Living have kept communities engaged and informed, and enabled tenants to find like-minded people who share similar interests. We’ve seen conversations on sharing food, how to entertain kids, tenants offering to deliver toilet roll and baked goods, or pick-up shopping – you name it! Tenant portals that have been created exclusively for building occupants also offer a better alternative to groups on Facebook or Nextdoor, which tend to be infiltrated by spammers and strangers.

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

It’s also proven that tenants who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not and tend to post positive reviews about where they live on review sites such as HomeViews. According to a study by Apartments.com, 98% of apartment shoppers rely on reviews and ratings when looking for their next home, and 79% of respondents to NMHC’s Apartment Resident Preferences Report said that during an apartment hunt, they didn’t visit a development solely because the ratings and reviews were not favourable. These reviews can help attract new tenants keeping occupancy rates high and having tenants as champions is an effective tactic if you want to increase interest in your development, whilst reducing your marketing spend.

Staff Retention

Your onsite and front-of-house teams can also play an important role in helping to build that community feeling. No one likes constant change, so if you have high staff turnover, with familiar faces disappearing, this can certainly have a negative impact on tenant satisfaction, making it hard for them to build rapport.

Therefore, by providing your teams with technology solutions that enable them to do their jobs more effectively, not only does this have a positive impact on their performance but also increases their overall satisfaction, making it more likely that you’ll retain them.

For instance, Spike Living can provide your staff with a centralised place to manage all tenant communication, amenity bookings, parcel deliveries as well as maintenance requests, saving precious time and allowing them to focus on the job at hand, and avoiding unnecessary stress and complication to what can be an already challenging job.

Tenant portals can also free up staff by enabling tenants to self-serve. From frequently asked questions, appliance guides, to fire safety procedures, as well as the latest news from the wider community, having all this information readily available means that more often or not, tenants can find the information they need themselves, whenever they need it. The Samanage State of Workplace Survey found that workers spend an average of 520 hours a year on repetitive services and tasks that could be easily automated. Reminding tenants when their rent is due, when deliveries are ready to be collected from reception or providing building updates are just some of the tasks that tenant portals like Spike Living can take care of.

Summary

In Summary, BTR operators must start to place greater emphasis on building a community rather than solely focusing on the buildings themselves, where tenants can truly form meaningful connections with neighbours and staff alike, something that tenant portals such as Spike Living can help with.

Learn how Spike is working with a growing number of clients to drive tenant engagement and satisfaction by downloading our brochure below.

Categories
Uncategorised

How are building operators tackling ESG?

The use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting is increasing. Achieving a point where a development has a positive ESG impact should be the goal of all investors and developers.

Why ESG?

Tenants are increasingly basing their rental and purchasing decisions on the potential environmental and social impact of their homes. It is therefore in the best interests of investors and developers to create schemes that meet these needs.

The World Bank makes the case that ‘Green’ buildings can:

  • Yield up to 23% higher occupancy rates
  • Provide 8% higher rental income
  • Create 31% higher sale premiums than traditional buildings

Other industries such as fashion, entertainment, technology, and leisure have demonstrated a clear connection between ESG and enhanced returns. Consumers, including shareholders, are demanding integrity – and changing their spending choices to get it. The property industry has the opportunity to do the same, embracing robust, genuine ESG investments.

Where to start?

People should be at the centre of everything you do, with the goal of providing great homes, creating healthier places to live, and boosting the social and economic worth of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Spike Global provides software solutions that connect property managers with residents, as well as creating a closer link to the wider local community. Here are some of the ways our clients are benefiting.

Engagement

Our resident portal, Spike Living, allows developers to promote best practices and provide key building information such as where to find the nearest recycling point, fire safety policies and procedures, as well as ways in which residents can reduce their own impact on the environment.

Operators can also easily and quickly share ideas with residents and gather useful feedback on proposed building initiatives and schemes, as well as enabling the proactive reporting of building and maintenance issues, ensuring problems get rectified sooner, whilst at the same time providing a full digital paper trail.

Spike Living facilities the use of communal areas by allowing residents to book out a room or reserve a slot at a gym class, all via their phone, turning what typically is an archaic process into a seamless and easy task. This encourages residents to spend more time enjoying their buildings, and not having to worry about the stress of gaining access.

Supporting the local community

Our clients use Spike Living to bring the local community to their residents by utilising the ‘around me’ feature to provide much-needed visibility to smaller businesses and encouraging their residents to explore what’s on their doorsteps. Building operators can also partner with local shops and restaurants to offer residents exclusive discounts and incentives, all via their residents’ app.

Measuring performance

Residents’ apps like Spike Living provide building owners and operators the opportunity to truly understand what their residents are interested in, from amenities and services usage, to monitoring resident satisfaction. You can also analyse the performance of each building and identify areas to maximise operational and cost efficiencies, such as response time to support enquiries, number of maintenance defects reported, and other complaints filed.  

Summary

ESG may sound like a daunting and complex subject, but it can be achieved through consistent actions, communication, and a drive to make a difference from everyone involved in a development, from investors, operators, residents to contractors. It’s important to see ESG as a journey, and not just a destination.

Get in touch to learn how we’re supporting leading developers and operators with their ESG initiatives. 

Categories
Uncategorised

Automate your property management

The property sector has traditionally been slow to adopt technology, however, the pace of innovation has increased dramatically over the past year, largely driven by the challenges brought about by the pandemic. There will be more change in the next decade than there has been in the last 50 years, and as we enter a new era, property managers will feel the impact the most.

Working as the lynchpin between the property owner and the tenants, property managers handle all tenant-related issues, acting on behalf of the landlord, carrying out key tasks such as:

  • Communicating with tenants and owners
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Keeping to budget

Below are a few areas we believe technology will have the most impact on property managers now and in the future. 

Real-time access to information

As with the way of the world, we’ve come to expect immediate gratification. We want answers to questions instantly, without having to wait for a response. Residents are no different. Gone are the days when they are prepared to walk downstairs to reception or pick up the phone. Mobile resident portals like Spike Living gives property managers an opportunity to promote a whole host of content that may have previously been provided on request. From frequently asked questions, appliance guides, to fire safety procedures, as well as the latest news from the wider community, having all this information readily available means that more often or not, tenants 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.

Furthermore, important documents like signed contracts and policies and procedures 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.  

Improved communication

Property management is a people business, with property managers simultaneously having to keep tenants, owners, and contractors happy. Given that research by NMHC and Kingsley revealed that 92% of residents prefer digital communications, offering a way to connect digitally to property managers is a must. Previously, disparate communication between these different groups meant property managers would spend half their time on the phone, typing with one hand and writing an address with another. Using resident apps like Spike Living, property managers can now easily and quickly communicate directly with all parties, allowing messages to be sent instantly and recorded centrally.

Reduced administration work

The Samanage State of Workplace Survey found that workers spend an average of 520 hours a year on repetitive services and tasks that could be easily automated. Reminding residents when their rent is due, when deliveries are ready to be collected from reception or providing building updates are just some of the tasks that solutions like Spike Lettings and Spike Living can take care of.

Then there are the communal areas to think about. Most modern apartments have amenities that can be enjoyed by its residents. Onsite gyms, games rooms, and meeting rooms have become the norm. Being able to open an app and book a room turns what could be an archaic process into a seamless and easy task, encouraging residents to spend more time enjoying their buildings, and not having to worry about the stress of gaining access.

Maintenance management

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. For instance, a leaking pipe that drips once per second can add up to over 13,600 litres of water a year if left unfixed, not only costing money but also potentially causing considerable damage.

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.

The same can apply when wanting to communicate directly with residents. Mobile apps enable the in-house team to be proactive and provide real-time alerts, notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, allowing them to plan around it.

Better Resident insights

Do you know what your residents really want from their buildings? What do they care about? What amenities are being used the most?

With resident apps, you can understand and gain insight into these types of questions. You can learn what amenities and services residents are interacting with, what queries are being asked, and what content they are most interested in. This enables property managers to provide residents with what they truly want, taking the guesswork out of managing properties.

Summary

Technology is giving property managers the opportunity to work more efficiently, and with the use of resident apps streamlining manual processes, this allows property managers to focus on the most important part of the business: their residents.

Learn how Spike is working with a growing number of customers to drive resident engagement and satisfaction by downloading our brochure below.

Categories
Case Study Uncategorised

Portico enhances workforce wellbeing with award-winning Spike Global partnership

Professional services company Portico has seen a significant increase in employee satisfaction and engagement in the past eight months since implementing award-winning software to support remote and furloughed staff. With plans still on hold for a mass return to the workplace for many companies, technology is bringing employees together, keeping them connected and allowing a more flexible working landscape.

Aimed at the business, residential and property sectors, Portico manages, mobilises and enhances guest services across the UK & Ireland. Partnering with Spike Global, Portico has created Heartbeat, an employee engagement app, which recently won a 2021 Employee Experience Award, celebrating the organisations, people, and initiatives that serve to improve the working environment. The app was commended for its positive impact on staff wellbeing and culture.

Spike Workplace was the software chosen to create Heartbeat, a staff portal tailored to Portico’s specific needs and objectives, and designed to connect its employees located throughout the UK and Ireland. The app not only streamlines working practices, but also promotes a connected staff culture, particularly during the pandemic while 70 per cent of its 800 employees were on furlough.

Prior to the pandemic, Portico would regularly engage and connect with staff at social events, during company forums, via team meetings and team talks, and using email to share information, updates and news. Within days of the lockdown many had no way to connect with their colleagues without access to their work platforms.

As the lockdowns continued, temporary measures were implemented to drive engagement, however the company believed a longer-term solution was needed to build on the new remote community culture whilst also delivering additional value to staff and the business. Portico’s strategic aim was to enhance its community ethos with the ability for people to talk to one another and form meaningful connections despite many being unable to access their regular email platform.

Portico worked closely with Spike’s dedicated team to create a white-labelled application, which offers an array of functions such as promoting social groups and company forums, sharing information about company events, and providing key announcements and news.

Since implementing the app, 75 per cent of staff are now using the platform, with 50 per cent connecting at least once a day. Portico’s recent Pandemic survey showed that 98 per cent of staff said Portico employed effective communications systems for keeping staff connected and informed, while 95 per cent said that Portico’s communication channels and tools are engaging.

Amanda Kay, Director, Business Development at Portico, said: “We take a people-first approach to business, and engagement in our brand and our values are fundamental to our success. In our experience, having an engaged workforce positively impacts teamwork, pride and personal ownership. We worked with Spike Global to ensure our teams felt connected to Portico on a personal level, to create meaningful relationships with their colleagues and to live our values every day. Since the launch we have had excellent feedback from our staff members and real engagement in the forums and social groups, which we have created on the platform.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO at Spike Global, said: “Meaningful technology that keeps people connected has come into its own during the pandemic. With many employees working remotely or furloughed, we work with companies to ensure they are at the forefront of communications with their staff and that employee wellbeing is prioritised. We are immensely proud of the app we have delivered with Portico, and its success at the recent Employee Engagement Awards is testament to this.”

Learn more about Spike Workplace by downloading our brochure below.