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Nido partners with Spike Global to enhance student experience

Nido, Europe’s leading PBSA operator, has partnered with leading resident engagement and building management software provider Spike Global to launch a new smart app for residents across its portfolio. Launched at the beginning of the academic year, Nido has become one of the first student accommodation operators to provide its residents with an intuitive mobile app to manage their daily needs.

Following research and feedback from residents, it was imperative that utilising technology would enhance their experience and ensure the seamless operations and management of a PBSA building.

Acting as a ‘one stop shop’, the app provides a multitude of features including direct online communications with the residence team, viewing upcoming events, reservation of amenity spaces, management of deliveries and maintenance requests as well as viewing brand partners, local guides, and associated exclusive Nido promotions. 

With online security posing one of the largest risks to students, the app has been designed to keep users safe and secure. In the event of a security breach or lost phone, the onsite management teams at each of the Nido properties have the ability to ‘pause’ residents’ accounts, until the issues have been resolved and cleared.

Following a year of uncertainty, the app provides a safe online space for residents to communicate with each other and become familiar with their new neighbours, through forums and real-time chat rooms. This is in addition to the in-person interaction Nido facilitates.  Students can choose to attend events physically, online as well as communicate with the management team at the reception desk by direct messaging on the app, all channels of communication are available to be used at the discretion of each student’s needs. 

Nido prides itself on putting resident mental and physical health as a key priority and the facilitation of communication – online or in-person, has been instrumental in the company’s operational success. 

During the first two weeks of being live, the app has already been downloaded by more than 70 per cent of Nido’s residents. Once downloaded, residents can easily join groups and forums to meet each other and start building their community.

Darren Gardner, COO of Nido, commented, “As one of the first PBSA operators to introduce this type of platform, we are pleased to offer this high-end product to our valued residents. The wellbeing of both residents and our onsite teams is our top priority and allowing a safe method of communication whilst encouraging interaction, is a great milestone for the company.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, commented, “We are delighted to be working with Nido and believe the app will help students find their feet – enabling them to meet other students in the building, as well as helping them to cope with all the practical aspects of moving away from home for the very first time. The app has been designed to be straightforward to use, so whatever worries they might have about the new term, managing their student accommodation won’t be one of them.”

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Day in the life with Francesca Thornton, BHB America

Welcome to our Day in the Life feature, where each month we sit down with one of our clients and highlight the amazing work they are doing within the property sector. This month we’re delighted to have sat down with BHB America, who provide private office services for the residents of luxury buildings across London, New York and Miami.

What’s your name and role?

Francesca Thornton, Director USA, BHB America

Describe a typical day for you?

We spend our days fulfilling requests for the incredible residents of the buildings we look after across the world. Whether it’s travel, private yachts, artwork sourcing, party planning, restaurant reservations, or anything else, we’re always working hard to go above and beyond and make the residents’ lives that little bit easier.

What is your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of the job is definitely when we get a seemingly impossible request from a client, but we manage to deliver on it for them.

What are your top places to visit locally?

My favourite spots in Manhattan are definitely brunch at Sadelle, Central Park for a walk, Black Fox for a coffee, Van Leeuwen for ice cream.

How does Spike make your day-to-day life easier?

Using Spike Living means that we can speak directly with residents and have all their requests in one place, which makes looking back at historic requests and tracking request fulfilment super easy. We also find the back end of the software seriously easy to use when we’re uploading new content. Being able to preview how it will look before publishing it is useful too.

Spike Living connects more than 200,00 residents with their local communities. Download the Spike Living brochure below to learn how our software can support you in your day-to-day life.

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Community Engagement – Key takeaways from August

This month’s community engagement blog comes courtesy of our Customer Success Director, Andy Silvers, where he shares what we’ve learned in August and his top tips for driving engagement across your buildings and residents.

What we’ve learned in August

With the holiday season in full swing, we saw a 65% decrease in amenity and event bookings compared to July, with residents opting to make the most out of the warm weather and explore further afield. However, it was positive to see that app usage was up 200% since the beginning of the year, with forum posts remaining consistently high, underlining the role that resident apps like Spike Living are now playing in our daily lives. Furthermore, despite many people returning to their offices for the first time in well over a year, we saw a 50% increase in deliveries being processed through our platforms, showing how accustomed we’ve become to online shopping, with this trend set to continue.

Carrying on from last month, here are some more fun ways to boost engagement and encourage your residents to get to know their neighbours and your in-house team.   

Pop up Food Stands

Bring the local community to your residents. We have clients who regularly invite local restaurants and cafes onsite to provide pop up food stands offering residents a mixture of cuisine to try. This is a great way to encourage your residents to get to know their local area, and local businesses may even offer a discount to those who live in the building on future bookings.

Book Club

An oldie but goodie. Even before the pandemic hit, some of our clients had thriving book clubs where residents regularly got together over food and drink to discuss their latest read. When the pandemic hit, these turned into virtual clubs, where meet ups were held over Zoom instead.

Running Club

If you have a communal gym, what better way to increase usage than by forming a running club. Or if your residents prefer to be outside, why not provide them with some suggested running routes where they can then compete for the fastest time, encouraging some friendly competition?

Film Club

If you have screening or cinema rooms onsite, then having a film club is the perfect way to encourage neighbours to bond over their love of films. Why not choose a ‘theme of the week’ and allow your residents’ to become their very own film critics by recommending their own films to watch? We had one of our clients have over 1,000 bookings for their screening rooms last month – showing that nothing can beat being at the movies!

Baking Club

With most people confined to their homes during the pandemic, we saw many residents turn their hands to baking, with a few even leaving their baked goodies in reception for others in their buildings to enjoy. Baking clubs provide the perfect opportunity for residents to share and discuss recipes, and with Bake Off returning to our screens this month, why not create your own mini ‘bake off’ with residents competing to be crowned star baker of the month?

Film Club

If you have screening or cinema rooms onsite, then having a film club is the perfect way to encourage neighbours to bond over their love of films. Why not choose a ‘theme of the week’ and allow your residents’ to become their very own film critics by recommending their own films to watch? We had one of our clients have over 1,000 bookings for their screening rooms last month – showing that nothing can beat being at the movies!

Have your own tips for driving resident engagement or decided to implement some of our suggestions above? Then get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

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Spike joins forces with The James to offer modern living at the touch of a button

When new build-to-rent brand The James opens its doors in Liverpool this week, 100 fully-furnished apartments will be filling up with new tenants, all looking to settle in and feel at home – a process that will be much easier thanks to its partnership with Spike Global.

The innovative resident engagement and building management software provider has worked with The James to create a white-labelled version of its revolutionary end-to-end tenancy management software solution Spike Lettings and resident engagement app Spike Living that have been tailored perfectly to the needs of residents at the luxury hotel-style residence in James Street. 

Spike Lettings allows prospective tenants to easily browse and find available apartments online, make an initial enquiry, and progress through the reservation stage, all the way through to moving in. Once in, Spike Living provides new tenants with one simple, intuitive app, allowing 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 that it’s just for the practical things in life – The James’ residents’ app also has the potential to help tenants make friends, find activities and get to know their neighbours, whether that’s in the virtual world or the real one.

At The James, apartments will be let for periods of just a few days or weeks, or for the long term, which means that there will be all kinds of residents moving in and out, looking to hit the ground running in terms of their social life. With a set-up that is designed so that tenants can live, work and socialise on site, having a truly localised way of meeting like-minded people will be more important than ever – and Spike Global’s app, Spike Living, is streets ahead of social media options such as Facebook and Nextdoor, which find it hard to keep out spammers and strangers. As The James’ residents’ app will be downloadable solely by residents at The James, it builds a genuinely safe and local community at the same time providing practical help such as being able to easily view tenancy agreements or check when rent payments are due.

We spoke with one of the Founders who explained why they have chosen Spike Global to provide the app for the new venture: “Our brand is very much rooted in stress-free, self-contained luxury living – when people move in with us they have everything they need, right down to crockery and cutlery – so we needed software that would provide a similarly high-quality and comprehensive service.”

“We use the Spike Lettings software to help get our tenants on board, and are confident that the Spike Living app will support them as they settle in. In many ways, renting with us is like living in a five star hotel, with all the amenities available at the touch of a button. We developed The James, which will also be launching in Manchester and Sheffield in the near future, because we wanted to bridge the gap between the tenant and the landlord – a relationship that is often broken and lacking in trust in the traditional rental market. At our properties, The James brand is the landlord – one that is always available and ready to take action thanks to Spike Living.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “The strength of Spike Lettings and Spike Living is the extent to which they can be personalised for every client, providing a building and community-specific experience, tailored exactly to the facilities and options that are available. We not only create a unique platform for our clients, but we also provide dedicated back-up and support every step of the way. We are delighted to be working with The James, and we know it will help tenants there to settle in, liaise with their landlord and find their place in the community with ease.”

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New Spike Platform Enhances Customer Experience for The Crown Estate

Partnering with innovative resident engagement and building management software provider Spike Global, The Crown Estate has implemented an end-to-end residential portal at its latest development Morley House on Regent Street in London’s West End. The new software provides a complete property communication and management solution for residents at the 44-apartment residence.

Spike Global has worked closely with Morley House to create a bespoke version of its resident engagement app Spike Living, specifically tailored to the needs of residents. Opening up communication lines between the resident and management, the app further enhances the lifestyle available at the development, whilst serving as a convenient central place for resident’s everyday needs.

Morley House offers apartments to rent with hotel-style amenities, accessible via the new residents’ portal. The app is designed to create a sense of community, with  residents able to book services including the residents’ lounge and screening room, access a 24-hour concierge/security at the touch of a button, handle maintenance issues, view information updates and notifications, such as fire safety procedures and residents’ manuals, as well manage their car club membership.

The app also enables residents to access partner promotions, while an integrated partnership with PingLocker allows them to book apartment cleaning services and beauty treatments in the local area.

Charlotte Moss, Asset Manager at The Crown Estate, comments: “The Morley House residents’ app has been well received, not only by the residents, who have the convenience of accessing a wide range of services from their mobile device, but also by the concierge and management team.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “In working with the team at The Crown Estate, our focus has been on implementing a platform that truly puts luxury lifestyle at the heart of the residence’s operations. With such a wide range of amenities and services available to residents it was important for us to implement a seamless communication tool while enhancing the high-end user experience. We are delighted to be working with Morley House and we hope residents will feel connected, cared for and valued in their homes.”

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Community Engagement – 5 takeaways from July

We kick off the first in our series of monthly blogs focusing on community engagement, where our Customer Success team will be sharing handy tips on how to drive engagement across your buildings, your local community, and most importantly with your residents.

What we’ve learned in July

With the weather being a mixture of sunshine and showers, coupled with restrictions being lifted here in the UK, we saw demand for in-person events surge once again, with amenity and event bookings increasing 167% across our client base, compared to June. Despite restrictions being lifted, it was also great to see that residents still wanted to connect digitally as well as physically, with forum posts up 80% since the start of the year, highlighting the importance of technology in keeping residents connected.

As the world continues to re-open (and hopefully will remain that way) here are 5 fun ways to boost engagement and encourage your residents to get to know their neighbours and your in-house team.

Green Fingers Club

Several of our clients with outdoor spaces have created a residents’ gardeners club. This is a great way to get residents outdoors and for them to enjoy your facilities, not to mention the benefits for their mental health. For those who are limited on space, even providing a few planters and pots for residents to grow their own fruit or vegetables can yield wonders. Once your garden is up and running, why not host a “green thumb” contest, encouraging residents to share photos of their prized crops on your residents’ app.

Trivia Night

Trivia nights are becoming increasingly popular and are an easy and fun way to get your residents out of their apartments and interacting with each other. Turn your residents’ lounge, lobby, or rooftop garden into a hosting space, and enlist your wittiest staff member as the host for the night to reel off the most obscure and wackiest questions.

Ice Cream Social

We all scream for ice cream! Everyone loves ice cream, but you can bring it up a notch by inviting a local ice cream van or vendor to come to serve residents. As with any event you organise, don’t forget to announce it on your residents’ app and make sure to include some mouth-watering photos to entice those with a sweet tooth.

Scavenger Hunt

With the weather being slightly disappointing in July, some of our clients held scavenger hunts. This not only encourages people to get out and explore their buildings but also provides entertainment for both children and adults alike. When a resident finds a particular item, why not ask them to turn it into the reception desk to claim a prize. This gives you the chance to chat with them and get to know them a little better.

Pet Photo Contest

If your property is pet-friendly, let your residents show off their furry friends and compete for a prize. You can create categories like funniest pet pose, happiest pet, grumpiest cat, etc. Create a dedicated forum where your residents can post their entries on their residents’ app, and then select a winner for each category. This also lets like-minded neighbours get to know each other and will encourage them to plan pet playdates.

Have your own tips for driving resident engagement or decided to implement some of our suggestions above? Then get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

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How repairs & maintenance impacts resident satisfaction

Guest Blog: James Dilgul, Head of Marketing at Fixflo, the UK’s leading maintenance software provider.

With residents spending more time in their properties in the past year than ever before, residents have had the opportunity to really assess the conditions they’re living in, and nice-to-haves like fast internet speed and room for a home office have unsurprisingly become need-to-haves. And when it comes to problems around the property, residents want them fixed – and fast. Nowhere has this focus on good service been more pronounced than in the Build to Rent (BTR) sector. With most of BTR’s communal amenities being closed due to the pandemic, repairs and maintenance have taken centre stage – repairs and maintenance were referenced in almost 1 of every 5 reviews according to Homeviews’ 2021 Build to Rent report. We look at how the way you handle repairs and maintenance impacts resident satisfaction and how to get it right.

  1. Keep it simple – a vast majority of the reviews focused on the need for clear, simple ways to report issues and stay informed as to what was going on in their block. Resident apps like Spike Living and specialist repairs software such as Fixflo were popular – HomeViews’ survey found that BTR operators using Fixflo were rated higher than those who weren’t (4.5/5 to 4.2/5), with those questioned rating the ability to access and report their issue on a portal 24/7 as a key part of their resident satisfaction.
  2. Speed is of the essence – unsurprisingly quick response times came up in a significant number of reviews. With more residents being at home last year, the need to respond to repairs and maintenance issues in a swift, timely manner has taken on new importance as residents spent most of their time at home; pending maintenance issues could be affecting them more than usual.
  3. Satisfactory solutions – another key finding of the report was the necessity of achieving satisfactory solutions to the issues at hand. Being able to log your problem and be guaranteed a fast response falls short if the end solution is not satisfactory – residents expect effective contractors to be engaged quickly and efficiently. Again, BTR operators who used Fixflo scored well in this regard, as the software allows contractor qualifications to be verified and their services engaged automatically, while also providing basic maintenance assistance for those solutions that may not require a professional.

While all the report’s findings seem to point firmly at the need to invest in resident and maintenance software to boost resident satisfaction, Fixflo’s managing director Rajeev Nayyar recommends taking an ‘omnichannel approach’ to repairs communication as the best way forward. “The best operators are adopting an omnichannel approach to resident communications, giving them the options to communicate by online or in-person where they have on-site staff. From a resident’s perspective, ease of communication and access to relevant updates are critical, as is getting repairs resolved easily, quickly, and effectively.”

Learn how Spike Global and Fixflo have partnered to create a complete BTR resident communication solution here.

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Innovative partnership to create a complete BTR resident communication solution

Promising an enhanced resident experience and a smarter, more efficient building operation, the new partnership between Spike Global and Fixflo will deliver a seamless property communication and maintenance management solution for BTR residents and property managers alike.

Industry-leading resident engagement and building management software provider Spike Global and specialist repairs and maintenance management software provider, Fixflo have announced an integration partnership designed to provide a complete property communication and maintenance management solution for BTR operators and property managers.

The new partnership enables residents to manage everything within the Spike Living portal, from communicating with other residents to reporting a repair, getting notified about upcoming maintenance events, and managing deliveries and visitors. Empowered by Fixflo’s innovative and multilingual repair reporting system, residents will be prompted to give all necessary details about the maintenance issue from the first instance, enabling property managers to diagnose issues accurately without the need for back-and-forth communication with residents.

Simon Bushell, Director at Fixflo, underlined the significance of delighting residents at the right moments in their customer journey and how this motivated the partnership, “While repairs are rarely welcomed by residents, they are great opportunities for building operators to impress residents with a prompt, intuitive and transparent experience. With Fixflo, residents can report a repair through their Spike Living portal anytime, anywhere, using 40+ languages. They can also be kept in the loop of how the issue progresses through their property manager’s schedule. Here at Fixflo, we are excited about this new partnership and helping building operators and property managers manage their portfolio more efficiently while enhancing the resident experience.”

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO at Spike Global, highlighted the expected operational gains for building operators, another key driver behind the integration plan, “We are excited to be partnering with Fixflo, bringing together Spike’s leading resident engagement and building management software with Fixflo’s award-winning maintenance management solution. This will enable property managers to plan, schedule and carry out a repair much faster, whilst ensuring residents are kept up-to-date and informed at all times.”

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Spike Workplace to support ‘blended working’

A changing approach 

Almost a year into the pandemic, the vast majority of companies have had to adapt to new methods of working. Prior to the first lockdown in the UK, working from home was reserved for freelancers or viewed as a nice occasional perk. According to Property Week’s recent 2020 Power of Proptech survey, just 5.1% of the UK workforce worked primarily from home in 2019, despite improving technology making it a viable possibility. Fast forward twelve months and 82% of office providers and real estate companies are looking to invest in home working and digital meeting tools in the near future, indicating that in a post-pandemic world, a more flexible approach to working may become a reality.

With reports that companies like Microsoft are adopting a ‘hybrid’ working model, and some, such as Twitter, telling employees they can work from home permanently, never has technology been more important in bringing people together, helping to connect communities, families and employees while the world becomes increasingly disjointed. 

Promote a connected culture

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Spike Global has launched its new Spike Workplace application. The software helps companies and landlords promote a connected culture while the majority of office-based employees are working from home. The software will also help companies and landlords adapt to a ‘blended’ way of working moving forward, where we see employees cycle between remote and in-office working.

Spike’s workplace portal builds and manages buzzing, supportive communities where users can form meaningful connections. Companies can nurture the office culture virtually through social clubs, forums and events, keep occupants engaged with up-to-date news and articles and ensure they are as settled and supported as possible by offering health and well-being initiatives and support forums. Long-term social engagement to create a sense of wellbeing and identity is a key element of what the software provides.

Portal success with portico

Clients already include Portico, a leading guest relations and concierge company with more than 800 staff members dotted across 120 locations throughout the UK and Ireland. The firm wanted to launch an engagement platform linked to its own systems that connected its entire workforce and acted as a platform for communicating company updates, events and initiatives. 

Amanda Baber, Director, Business Development at Portico, said: We had already planned to launch our engagement app in 2020 prior to the pandemic, which made it even more important for us to connect with our people, who were working at home, in the office or furloughed. In a short space of time, we are already receiving hugely positive feedback from our staff members and real engagement in the forums and social groups, which we have created on the platform. We plan to add additional functionality to our app to further embed a culture that empowers our people.”

Increase efficiencies 

Spike Workplace is designed to make the workplace more efficient for employees, business owners and landlords, whether staff are currently operating physically or remotely. Company owners or landlords and their employees and tenants can benefit from the flexible, user-centric technology that offers a seamless experience and multiple different functions, designed to connect a ‘blended’ workforce. The platform makes building management, analytics and reporting easy, while residents can book meetings, meeting rooms and hot-desks, check-in their guests, track their deliveries and book additional services. Senior teams or front-of-house staff can keep employees informed and up to date with the latest workplace announcements, including any change in regulations or restrictions.

With an increasing focus on mental health and employee well-being, users can also use the platform to reach out to their colleagues for help and support, making their busy lives easier and increasing welfare. Spike has also partnered with The Health Concierge to offer further health and wellness support, with users being able to access content directly from the app.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike, comments: “Since the start of the pandemic, companies have had to make significant changes to the way they operate in order to survive and those who have managed to adapt have been the most successful. It’s great to see our software helping during this difficult time, and while our working and personal lives are brought closer together our goal is to create better places for people to work and live, even when these are .” 

Jeremy concludes: “At Spike, flexibility is key to our success. We strive to understand the shift in how employees interact with each other since the pandemic began and what this means for how they’ll interact in the future. Ultimately, our software improves efficiencies in the workplace. For example, we offer specific COVID-19 forums for each of our clients where users can offer or ask for help from their colleagues. We have an information centre posting COVID-19 updates, sourcing only reliable government links and helpful advice. We have a recommended COVID-19 strategy for clients who use Spike, whilst continually adapting that strategy to the changing circumstances we find ourselves in. As and when we move out of lockdown we’ll help clients adapt to a hybrid way of working, as employees cycle between remote and in-office working.”

To find out more about our Workplace portal, get in touch and a consultant will be touch shortly.

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Resident Engagement Strategy: 6 things your teams need to consider

Resident engagement and resident satisfaction have never been higher on the priority lists of property developers, operators and managers. Many teams are taking the disruption of the pandemic as an opportunity to re-evaluate their resident engagement strategies, tools and software. To be successful, theses strategies need to have your resident at their core.

Our Customer Success Team have put together 6 questions to consider when thinking about resident engagement.

QUESTIONS FOR YOUR TEAMS TO CONSIDER WHEN THINKING ABOUT RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES 

  1. Are your current tools increasing connections between staff and residents, to increase resident satisfaction?

     

  2. How do your residents want to interact with your staff? Face-to-face? Instant messaging? Email? Which channel gets a better response?

     

  3. Are queries being answered quickly enough? Do residents feel heard and supported by your staff? What tools and / or software could be used to support this?

     

  4. Are your current tools increasing connections between residents? How can they get to know their neighbours? How do they want to get to know neighbours? What social activity are your residents looking for?

     

  5. From enquiry, to move-in, to renewal, how are you adjusting your communication to make each resident feel valued? How are you delivering a premium service at each stage?

     

  6. Are you able to get data and feedback about all aspects of your performance to continue to deliver exceptional service? What tools and software could help you with this?

SPIKE LIVING AND RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT 

Spike Global delivers industry-leading software that connects people and properties to create attractive, efficient and engaging places for living, working and playing. Spike Living has all the features and flexibility you need to delight your residents and empower your staff, with a bespoke residential app and a fully operational management dashboard.

Spike Living consistently delivers market-leading results across key metrics including resident engagement and retention. Our software allows you to streamline building management, deliver a thriving community, drive actionable insights and increase the value of your assets.

To find out more about Spike Living download our brochure below.