BTR Tenants’ Core Needs Today: Heating, Internet And Parcels
A residential tenant’s core needs are very different to a decade ago. Yes, they’ll still pick up the phone to their landlord instantly if the heating breaks or there’s no hot water, but today add internet to that list of absolute necessities — and receiving parcel deliveries.
To meet these core needs effectively, a landlord needs to focus on one thing, said Quadient Head of Real Estate Parcel Locker Solution Sales, UK & Ireland, Jon Hammond: keeping it simple.
“A landlord can provide all the luxuries in the world to attract tenants, but this will only work if the basics are right,” Hammond said. “It’s crucial for BTR landlords to find the right solutions that not only meet tenants’ core needs but provide value for money and a future-proofed system.”
We Want Our Parcels
The addition of parcel deliveries to the list of tenants’ core needs can in part be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. As soon as the first national lockdown hit, parcel deliveries increased exponentially; from March to June 2020, Royal Mail said it shipped 117 million more parcels than the same quarter in 2019. We’ve now been through 18 months of limited physical shopping and nervousness around being in busy shops.
“Handling parcel deliveries effectively has become a real challenge for managers of BTR blocks,” Hammond said. “We estimate that it takes just over six minutes to receive, log, store, inform and distribute each parcel manually. That quickly racks up if you have 300 or 400 apartments in a building and can become a full-time job for two or three people.”
The time-consuming process of manually handling parcels can have a real impact on the service level that a BTR operator can offer to tenants. According to letting agent Ascent Properties, BTR properties in London command £146 on average more than the average rent across the city, and tenants will expect a return in that price. This can be difficult to deliver if the concierge team’s time is absorbed by handling parcels.
The alternative is to install an automatic parcel delivery system with smart lockers. Delivery drivers can access the area of a building where the smart lockers are located, scan the parcel and confirm the resident identity to open a locker and deliver the parcel, after which the tenant will be directly notified that their parcel has arrived. The system is touchless, secure and available 24/7.
“Automating parcel delivery systems not only saves time for the concierge team, allowing them to focus on other areas, but adds to security for residents as delivery people aren’t walking around the block and the parcel is stored securely,” Hammond said. “Costs can be controlled, because when you order a locker system, the price is fixed.”
It’s All About The Data
Another way to meet tenant needs by keeping it simple is to use as few technology platforms as possible while collecting as much information as possible, Hammond said.
“The success of a BTR scheme relies on having good data all the way through the system,” he said. “Data on how potential tenants are engaged and how many leads are produced right through to which amenities are actually used and what the return on investment is for those amenities. ROI is extremely important with resident amenities because they can be a substantial cost.”
Frequently, a BTR resident pays one fee that includes rent and all amenities, so a landlord needs to know which amenities are delivering ROI. If a landlord has paid for a service such as a platform that allows a resident to book a private cinema, but no one is using it, the landlord needs to know. They will not only be making decisions about whether to continue to offer that service for that block, but for future properties.
However, providing amenities and collecting data can be complicated by the sheer number of technological platforms that a landlord needs to offer and use.
“A problem in BTR is that a landlord might have 40 or 50 sources of data — heating systems, security, sales teams, customer management apps and so on," Hammond said. “We have a partner integration platform which makes it easier for other software providers to integrate with our smart lockers.”
If a landlord can view all building aspects in one place, determining ROI for any element is far easier. This will leave the landlord with valuable time to do what it needs to in order to keep tenants happy: get the simple things right.
This article was produced in collaboration between Quadient and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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