The community management industry continues to evolve in 2018

Community management is a competitive industry and it’s important for each of us to be aware of what’s to come. If you missed our first seven trends in Part 1, check it out here. But if you’re already caught up, read our second set of seven trends below.

Here are seven trends to be aware of this year:

1. Investors are expanding their investments
Over the last couple of years there was an increase in available inventory. However, in 2018 inventory is tight and demand is increasing. The economic uncertainty has kept amateur investors and landlords from getting back into major investments and top investors are expanding their empires. Not only are they buying up property, but they are buying out property management services such as community management companies. If this is interesting, there are some critical things investors are looking for: (a) transparent financials (b) efficient systems (c) automations (d) clear sales and marketing tactics (e) full-service solutions.

2. Operations and systems are worth your investment
Residents, in addition to the previously-mentioned potential investors, continue to expect on-demand services. Efficient, instant solutions are available for every industry today. And community management is no different. Though we’ve talked about this trend before it’s important to keep in mind that the expectation is continuing to increase, and the expectation for speed is continuing to speed up. Are your systems, operations and team up to par?

3. Apps continue to gain strength
These previously-mentioned efficiencies often come in app form. Just as websites became expected a couple of years ago, apps have become expected this year. Consumers continue to spend an increasing amount of time on smartphones, and if you don’t have an app they already feel like you’re behind. App design is an art. It’s not enough to throw up a cost-effective app; apps should be intuitive, clean, and should meet the unique needs of residents.

4. Smart amenities enter the industry
Technology is influencing physical amenities as well. If your properties have a gym, how are residents booking classes? If your properties have a laundry facility, is there a way to remind residents when their wash is done? How are residents booking common space for private parties? Ultimately, think through the amenities at each of your properties. How could technology improve the experience for residents? And how can technology increase efficiencies for your team and outside vendors? Ultimately there are established solutions and startups continuing to innovate in this space. Innovia co-op recently launched an all-inclusive app that residents and community managers agree improves the quality of life and community. 

5. Be prepared for the Amazon effect
Delivery is critical to residents.  Services like Amazon are ruling household purchases and residents are relying on their communities to help keep their belongings safe. Smart lockers, package messaging, and smart locks are all evolving solutions that are increasing the efficiency of package delivery. Gated communities have their own unique challenges and drop-off points and procedures are critical. And how are your communities ensuring the safety of those deliveries? Cameras and other security solutions are desired by residents who expect successful delivery of critical items.

6. Generation Z & Millennials are on the rise
We knew this day would come, and it’s finally here. Though it’s important to keep in mind that these younger generations are dealing with credit card debt, identify theft and building credit in ways previous generations didn’t think about. Renters are challenged with building credit and first-time buyers are looking for creative financing options, such as solutions startups are offering like a 10% down and 10% match program. And these generations are aware of the importance of privacy and data protection. Are your systems up to par? If not, these generations aren’t afraid to spread the negative feedback on their social feeds and within the communities they influence.

7. Become an influencer
Do you have a content strategy? It’s become the best way to drive local leads. Are you networking within your local community? Positioning yourself as a local influencer positions your business as a local market leader. Social media and local events continue to drive results, but new tactics such as podcasts are starting to drive significant results. The key is to be knowledgeable, authentic and likable on channels that your communities already find influential and partner with them.

Have other trends to share? Innovia co-op encourages the sharing of ideas, findings, tips and learnings amongst cooperative members. Interested in joining?