The coronavirus pandemic has required association managers and board members to quickly adopt new processes and procedures while addressing the needs and concerns of residents.
Our industry will not go back to the way we knew before the pandemic, and is reinventing itself to be more resilient, adapting our operational models to the ‘new normal.’
The challenges are many and the industry is looking for an answer to the following question:
How do property managers operate their community remotely and virtually, all while maintaining resident safety?
What effect has the Covid-19 pandemic had on the residential property management industry?
Many communities are caught off-guard with the challenges presented in recent months. The communication needs of their residents, from trying to get a hold of managers they cannot physically see, to increased shopping and delivery that needs to be handled, increase during times of crisis.
This communication gap between property managers and residents has grown worse during the pandemic and has negatively impacted the resident experience. What is worse, most management companies still require paper forms, and expect residents to call them with service requests, amenity bookings and to report incidents. This disconnect has led to stressful manager-resident relationships, especially with managers working remotely that can turn costly for management companies as they may find it more difficult to retain their contracts due to delivering poor customer service.
Reviewing current technology in a post COVID-19 environment
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that change is constant. For managers there has never been a more compelling time to review their current technology. It is during these times of urgent situations that residents view managers as trusted advisors and expect relevant communication. Decisions must be made that affect the health and well being of residents, so an increase in transparency, as well as engaging in inclusive and consistent communication, is vital. By improving communication channels, managers can maintain a strong and cohesive operation and we strongly recommend communities to use cloud-based technology such as a resident experience management platform that can evolve to support the constant change.
Some communication channels that property management needs to consider include:
- Announcements. Keep residents informed about all relevant matters. However, an email blast alone does not ensure that all residents received the information. Display screens, texting, and even calling might be necessary for older residents.
- Deliveries. As residents are more limited in how they can shop, deliveries for online orders will increase. Physical logs are not only inefficient but could pose a safety hazard as most people would like to minimize physical contact during COVID-19. There needs to be a system to quickly process incoming packages, notify residents wherever they are, and collect digital signatures.
- Discussion Forums. Residents still want to be a part of their community, especially during times of social distancing. However, Facebook groups can be destructive when someone hides behind an anonymous profile. Instead, management should provide a safe, controlled space where only valid and current residents can participate.
- Service Requests. Even in urgent situations, regular maintenance issues happen—burnt-out lightbulbs, leaky faucets, etc. Technology can not only keep residents from coming to the front desk or management office, but workflow technology can help you get through requests quickly.
- Amenity Bookings. When BBQs, party rooms, clubhouses, guest suites, and the like are shut down, you need to communicate and refund any reservations as quickly as possible. Technology lets you do so in a couple of clicks rather than manually informing every resident and refunding those who paid for reservations. Furthermore, boards may start using a reservation system for certain amenities to better enforce social distancing.
Using digital signage to deliver contextual information
While the PropTech industry has introduced property managers and residents alike to new opportunities for connectivity and building enhancements, digital signage in residential properties has proven to be an effective solution for resident communication. In a rapidly changing world, having the necessary platform to keep people informed and educated about what is happening in and around a property could be the difference between a good building, and a great one.
Traditionally, digital signage has been used by advertisers in Out-of-Home environments to entice audiences to create unique branding experiences. However, communities have begun to embrace digital signage to deliver contextual information such as building announcements, community messages, board meeting schedules, and other pertinent updates alongside advertising to keep residents informed. So, what steps should residential communities take to begin creating these engaging experiences through the use of digital signage? It is essential to understand that digital signage doesn’t just refer to the screen itself but consists of several components that deliver superior experiences for residents.
Property managers are looking for new ways to connect with residents of apartments and condominiums to deliver superior living experiences and are investing in digital technology to achieve that goal. One of these technologies that has been modernizing the next generation of communication is the introduction of Resident Portals to complement digital signage. These portals act as a software platform with features designed to streamline and simplify communication for property managers and residents by offering real-time building announcements and delivering engaging experiences when integrated with digital signage in a property.
Benefits of Digital Signage
Add value to a property
In an age where buyers are looking for more reasons to invest in a particular property, it is crucial to offer all the premium amenities available that will help elevate the value of a building. From access to gyms and swimming pools to work spaces and lounges, property managers and board members are always looking for new ways to appeal to both their existing residents and those who are future buyers. Digital Signage can help modernize a space and provide that immediate impact when people first step foot onto a property. Whether it’s a digital directory in the lobby or a vibrant screen in the elevator cabs, digital displays let people know that there is a commitment to development, as well as innovation.
Tapping into psychology
Let’s face it; when people enter into an elevator, their first instinct is to avoid eye contact. Offering a digital screen in the elevator cabs of residential properties allows for people to have something to look at – enhancing their comfort level and delivering information that will make them feel informed and engaged during the elevator ride. Typically, mobile phone service will cut out once an individual has entered into an elevator cab – having a digital screen can capture the attention of riders during those moments of influence.
Enhancing the community
One key component of digital signage is the benefit of advertising. Showcasing local businesses can generate awareness for your community and allow them to support the economic growth of their neighborhood. By displaying targeted messages, advertisers can ensure their product or service is being seen by the appropriate audience while educating potential new customers on location details and promotions.
Offering an entertaining platform that is engaging
A good digital signage solution should provide full-motion videos to help amplify messages and create new engagement. Traditionally, essential building messages could be lost or missed when posted in dark areas that are difficult to see, or non-inviting sections of the property. With digital signage, you can bring your messages to life and ensure your audience is engaged.
When delivering updates as it relates to a property, it is vital to reinforce the message to ensure that people have been given adequate opportunity to see the posting and have been well-informed. Digital signage in an elevator provides multiple opportunities for residents to see a message during daily rides to and from their homes that would otherwise be missed on other forms of communication.
Once installed in a property, a digital screen can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the seemingly endless amount of paper notices that are traditionally pinned to bulletin boards and the like. A digital message is far more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Create a community forum
Have residents join in on the conversation. By allowing the ability to post specific messages on the digital screens, there is an opportunity to turn your building into a fully-functioning forum and marketplace. With the ability to sell items, rent parking spaces, post leasing opportunities, and share other information. The displays can work as a message board to connect people, curate testimonials and extend the vertical neighborhood.
Digital signage with PATTISON Outdoor
With years of technological development, extensive research, and identifying how audiences interact with digital signage and content, PATTISON Outdoor has developed a platform that is 100% catered to the environment and the interests of the viewer. What separates PATTISON Outdoor apart from other digital signage providers, are the in-house solutions that are made possible by our team of digital experts. Integration with any platform or existing screen is seamless with our technical capabilities as it relates to hardware upgrades, as well as the flexible interface that brings our digital solution to the desired space with ease.
Delivering content with contextual relevance is the highest form of currency when it comes to reaching audiences; it makes messages more impactful. Offering digital screens within a residential property gives a modern upgrade to make residents feel more connected with their building while receiving an additional amenity for information such as our curated news content from our respected partner, Global News, traffic conditions, transit updates weather, sports and entertainment.
- Digital Displays – To create engaging experiences, it is essential to place the high-resolution screens in the area with the most dwell time which is area, within the elevator cabs. PATTISON Outdoor has a versatile product offering to fit in most elevator cabs.
- Content Management Systems (CMS) – The Content Management System is our proprietary online platform that leverages the flexibility and customization of digital so users can quickly sign in and access the program to add, edit, and publish content in real-time on the displays.
- Emergency Override System (EOS) – Similar to our CMS, our proprietary and patented Emergency Override System offers the peace of mind and immediacy to alert residents during an emergency or elevator entrapment. An emergency override feature is an added tool that is used to communicate alerts quickly and efficiently.
- Content – Once you have the digital displays connected to your Concierge Plus Resident Portal, you need to establish which content to display. With advertisements that cater to local businesses and dedicated space on the screens for building announcements, our digital signage solution becomes a versatile communication tool that provides relevant information and breaks the mold of traditional mass media.