A Virtual Concierge can be loosely defined as an app with a set of features specific to a particular building. They’ve been used in the hotel industry for a number of years, but as more sophisticated amenities become part of the fabric of a modern rental property, some operators are using their own software to enhance resident experience.

In the competitive Build-to-Rent market, developers and operators need to differentiate their properties to maintain 100% occupancy and profitability. Many operators are using hotel-type amenities, transport links and location to attract the next generation of renters, but with fibre Wi-Fi speeds hitting 1Gbit/s, what role can technology play in making a property stand out from the rest?

Living in Build-to-Rent is a lifestyle choice. Build-to-Rent should not just deliver spaces to sleep in – they should be environments that enhance the lifestyle of the renter. If the management of the building is to enhance that lifestyle with first class services then swift and frequent communication with the front desk will be important in maintaining a positive relationship between operator and resident. Those services should be run through a common interface e.g. a virtual concierge app.

Classic Virtual Concierge features:

  1. Create and manage repair work orders (Including common areas)
  2. Resident information and notifications
  3. Community events
  4. Package delivery notifications and keyless safe store
  5. Resident only offers e.g. local coffee offers or early bird dinners
  6. Book exercise classes, spa sessions, guest room or meeting room
  7. Authorised visitor listings
  8. 24/7 Wi-Fi support and Guest Wi-Fi access

These features do not require any changes to the fabric of a building. This means one of the big benefits to operators is that a Virtual Concierge app can be introduced to older properties to invigorate user experience, restore a competitive edge and introduce operational efficiencies. The classic Virtual Concierge feature set should be of particular interest to operators introducing older properties to a modern portfolio.

Market research indicates that if people are to abandon the aspiration of owning their own home and commit to a lifestyle of renting, significant improvements to resident lifestyle and well-being will be needed to make Build-to-Rent a popular choice. There is an opportunity to provide levels of service using technology that have not previously been seen in the UK. 96% of tenants find going without the internet to be the most frustrating part of moving home so we know fast, reliable Wi-Fi is a key technology. What else should be locked in to the Virtual Concierge of the future?

The future features of the Virtual Concierge:

  1. Keyless access control (Smartphone or biometrics) with remote key allocation
  2. Remote access to apartments
  3. Busy times tracking in the gym or communal areas
  4. Submetering for accurate & automated water and electricity meter reading
  5. Automated utilities billing and management
  6. Remote managed thermostat solution
  7. Wayfinding for residents moving in or guests finding apartments

One thing is for certain, Wi-Fi will be indispensable in delivering a successful resident experience. The need for residents to use Wi-Fi in communal areas as well as the need for a secure Wi-Fi connection for operations teams creates a dependency on Pervasive Wi-Fi. The dependency on fast, reliable, pervasive and high-speed Wi–Fi will only increase as residents need higher bandwidth. Entertainment services like Ultra High Definition (UHD) streaming and Virtual Reality online gaming will become mainstream and previously local services like playing music have become cloud services like Spotify, resulting in the need for higher bandwidth. Building operators must use this technology to support happier, healthier and safer residents and to differentiate their buildings from the competition.

UK Build-to-Rent has some way to go to match resident experience provided in the US. Crescent Heights NEMA building in San Francisco was awarded the IBcon award for Most Intelligent Building as long ago as 2014. Their app is geared towards the management of the building, enabling tenants to book amenities such as personal trainers, interact with management, pay rent, arrange for visitors and request work orders and repairs.

Up until now, the growth in the market has been mainly in the US, but as with many new technologies, operators in the UK are beginning to take notice. Living City have introduced a platform in their Manchester Dandara building which allows residents to arrange services such as dog walking, dry cleaning and apartment cleaning. The evolution of Virtual Concierge technology will be exciting to watch. Watch this space.

Smart Fibre Infrastructure™ (SFI™)

Glide Residential’s SFI™ is a full fibre, landlord broadband solution that provides a fast and simple way to cable a building, specifically designed for the Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector. With SFI™, buildings are future-proofed for the next 25 years, as there are no restrictions on what can be delivered via fibre. SFI™ also enables the provision of many smart technology services such as Wi-Fi controlled lighting and heating, door entry, CCTV, digital signage, smart metering, and SkyQ. SFI™ helps add rental value, whilst reducing operational costs, and is designed with developers, landlords, and their residents in mind.

Managed Internet Service

With Glide Residential, you can also benefit from a fully managed internet service for private rented residents and fully managed internet solutions. What this means is everything is managed from the cabling, to launch, to ongoing 24/7/365 support. Complete managed broadband services from a single provider. The network is monitored around the clock to ensure everything is running smoothly, and each customer has their own dedicated service manager as one single point of contact to provide everything you need.

Get in touch with a member of our team to find out how we can enhance your Build-to-Rent (BTR) development. Call us on 03333 800 800 or drop us an email at glideresidential@glide.co.uk, or find out more details on our website /connectivity-and-smart-solutions/sfi

No time to chat? Get a Quick Quote for your Build-to-Rent development here. https://glidebusiness.co.uk/sfi-quick-quote