Like most businesses rattled by the pandemic, the community association management niche has also undergone rapid changes to how they carry out everyday tasks.
The widespread digitalization of processes has been at the forefront of technology. It's also worth noting that digitalization has made clients more knowledgeable about the real estate industry, and that has changed manager-owner relations.
Continue reading to learn about the insights you need to boost your business and make it more future-proof.
The Transition From Nice-to-Haves to Must-Haves
Most community perks that used to be treated as 'optional' such as outdoor gyms, co-working spaces, and walking trails, have now become a utility and are expected by renters and owners alike. To better meet renters' needs, community management companies are investing in solutions that resolve their pain points, including more outdoor gathering areas.
Outdoor activities such as movie nights and yoga classes are being prioritized. In addition, there would be a need for greater transparency around how these amenities will be used. To keep homeowners and renters in the loop, many community management companies are relying on association management software with support for mobile devices, such as email and texting.
Pivoting to Self-Service Technology
Self-service technology now speeds up online payments and maintenance requests. More importantly, it helps community association managers provide better customer service by transitioning to paperless, digital systems.
Focusing on Sustainable Infrastructure and Green Technology
Sustainability and green technologies will play a critical role in mitigating climate change and making the planet a better place for all. The United Nations has identified several goals that it plans to meet by 2030 to address global challenges, including environmental degradation and climate change.
Community management businesses have a good opportunity to make a positive impact by prioritizing these goals and focusing more on sustainable technologies. Some of the green technologies that companies are already adopting include electric vehicle charging stations, smart irrigation, erosion control, and stormwater management.
Keeping residents safe has always been a top priority for association managers. They have implemented new cleaning procedures that align with the latest governmental guidelines to sanitize high traffic areas, and common areas are made as zero-touch as possible. Many associations have also adopted online reservation systems to control the number of people that can visit a common area at a time.
They have also distributed disinfectants and masks in high traffic areas. There is more reliance on social distancing and proper hygiene to minimize the chances of infections.
In some cases, association managers have stopped access to common areas and amenities altogether unless they can meet CDC safety guidelines.
Association meetings can be conducted virtually using platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. Going virtual provides all stakeholders, including landlords, community managers, and renters, with more flexibility since they can attend the meeting from anywhere.
In fact, community managers have seen the convenience, cost effectiveness, and all-around positive impact of virtual meetings. According to these San Diego property managers this means that virtual meetings may well become a mainstay of this industry in the near future.
Pro tip: If you regularly conduct virtual meetings, make sure to set the meetings on private and protect them with passwords.
Which Trends Should You Key in On?
The ideal focal point when evaluating the adoption of technologies is to maximize NOI and minimize expenditure. Technology has created an ecosystem that allows you to identify trends you can zero in on. Just like all things associated with investments, you won't always have a clear view of your returns. However, you can try to identify and evaluate your risk.
This can best be done by integrating a combination of data analysis tools such as utility management software to see how your NOI is being affected by certain utilities.
Suffice to say, the community association industry will continue to evolve and adapt to the changing digital landscape. Association managers now realize the cost-efficiency and convenience of technology, and so these solutions won't be going away. Instead, many managers have been amping up their digital presence to stay competitive in 2021 and beyond.