Design Trends

The Light: New Amenities for a New Customer

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What consumers want in a community is shifting, requiring master plan and rental community developers to rethink once-standard amenities and respond to changing needs.

The New Home Trends Institute’s trend tracking research suggests that three types of low cost, high impact amenities are poised to influence what developers should offer residents:

  1. Concierge and rental services
  2. Amenities that facilitate working from anywhere
  3. Local community support

Concierge and Rental Services

Services that ease the responsibilities of everyday life give residents time to attend to other priorities. Such services also encourage participation in the sharing economy, allowing residents to defer ownership of big-ticket items.

  • Concierge-like services that help people take care of their homes and connect with their communities elevate the residential experience. Hello Alfred is a personal assistant service that employs professionally trained staff to perform tasks like laundry and pet care and builds relationships through repeated services from the same staff members. For communities and properties, Hello Alfred offers a unified platform to keep residents and their buildings in sync, from property management solutions to programming tailored to a community’s needs.
  • Seasonal outdoor equipment rentals allow residents to enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about where to store a kayak or skis. The Gear Shed at The Hotel Zags Portland, which offers guests access to bicycles, fishing rods, and more, is one such source of inspiration.
The Gear Shed at The Hotel Zags Portland
Photo credit: The Hotel Zags Portland

Amenities That Facilitate Working from Anywhere

With 40% of workers expecting to work from home at least one day a week this year, coworking spaces that offer something unique will lure residents away from their home offices.1 Consider the following examples for bettering the experience of remote workers in your community, not only in terms of providing space, but equipment:

  • Industrious transforms abandoned commercial spaces (think theaters and department stores) into distinctive workspaces that inspire.
  • NeueHouse provides creative workspaces like private studios, broadcast and podcast facilities, and screening spaces to professionals in creative fields.

Going beyond the standard conference room and desk setup by providing remote workers the option to rent sound-proof rooms, or equipment like green screens and lighting, can give you a distinctive edge. Partnering with such companies to offer residents a discounted membership could also be a great way to support your community if a coworking space isn’t available.

Local Community Support

Amenities that connect residents to local businesses encourage residents to explore what an area has to offer and in turn, build new relationships.

  • Hotel amenity fees now cover more than just access to high-speed internet or a pool. Included in The Crawford Hotel’s amenity fee are exclusive discounts at a variety of local dining and retail experiences in Denver, CO, as well as access to a local spa and fitness club, augmenting what the hotel doesn’t have on site. Such fees can be tailored to community offerings and customized to resident profiles: e.g., happy hour specials at a local brewery or seasonal offerings from local restaurants and retailers.
  • Resident-exclusive memberships via partnerships are another ideal way to utilize existing amenities. Take for instance Related Life’s network of partners, which include Equinox and SoulCycle. For developments that don’t have their own fitness center, partnering with a nearby gym to offer residents discounted memberships can be a win-win, as there would be no need to build and maintain one.
Guests of the Crawford Hotel enjoy exclusive discounts at dining and retail outlets in Denver Union Station, which the hotel is located directly above.
Photo credit: Denver Union Station

Rethinking how your community engages with and caters to residents is an opportunity to not only attract but retain residents: 33% of homeowners with positive perceptions of master plans specifically cite amenities/activities when describing why.2 These types of amenities aren’t just applicable to master-planned communities either—they can work for the rental space, too. Demand for build-for-rent homes is growing and as the space becomes more competitive, offering residents next-level amenities will help set communities apart, ultimately becoming deal breakers that influence where people choose to live.

To learn more about amenity trends and our recently published Master Plans and Amenities Survey Insights Report, please contact the New Home Trends Institute. Let us help you take your community to the next level.

1 New Home Trends Institute by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC July 2021 survey of 1,150 full-time employed heads of household.
2 New Home Trends Institute by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC June 2021 survey of 1,242 homeowners with a net worth of $100K+.