Mark Zettl Explains Hotel/Apartment Overlap
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Across the country, multifamily developers and landlords are taking cues from the hospitality industry in delivering amenities to attract tenants. Few understand the parallels between apartments and hotels like Waterton COO Mark Zettl, one of the panelists at Bisnow’s Multifamily Annual Conference, Dec. 3 in Washington, DC.
Waterton recently celebrated its 20th anniversary by integrating its apartment management arm, Waterton Associates, and hotel management operations, Ultima Hospitality, into a single entity, a concept it calls “Resitality.” Mark says with the rise of online rating and review sites, multifamily operations have become more customer-focused, and property managers have an opportunity to develop the same level of brand awareness and loyalty that, historically, has been associated with hotels.
By combining hotel and apartment management, Mark says Waterton can be more efficient. Waterton’s apartment and hotel platforms spend up to $70M annually. As part of the brand realignment, Waterton will leverage Ultima’s procurement platform to generate savings across its multifamily portfolio of 50 rental communities, totaling nearly 20,000 units in the US. (Pictured: one of the apartments at Presidential Towers in Chicago.)
Moving forward, Mark (with Waterton CIO Nir Liebling) says the company will look at micro-markets more strategically to find competitive advantages in the convergence of apartments and hotels to provide the best possible product in both platforms. Part of this strategy involves dissecting the tenant experience from entrance to exit. Waterton will look at everything from customer surveys, lease renewals and maintenance requests, and use that information to generate ideas on what's in demand.
Mark says identifying today's hot trends is important, but so is market flexibility in determining the trends that carry over from hotels to multifamily. Waterton works with its network of designers and architects to help navigate those waters, and cherry-pick design elements based on location and price point. It could be something as simple as having service men at apartment buildings to greet people by name. Or it could be changing the scale of a dog park, based on location. At the Addison in Brooklyn (pictured), a condo development Waterton converted into apartments, several amenities were already in place, such as high-tech, bike storage and delivery lockers. In Waterton’s Pacific northwest holdings, bike rooms have tools for repairs and rebuilds. Amenities can be tailored to be unique to the service culture for that area. To learn more, attend Bisnow’s Multifamily Annual Conference, Dec. 3, in Washington, DC. To register, click here.