The importance of internet connectivity in our lives today goes without question and is considered by many a ‘technical utility,’ or an offering as common as water and electricity to most residents. It’s difficult for many to imagine not having access to internet in our daily routine. As Jenn Cassidy, senior vice president of student housing operations at the Cardinal Group, has stated: “You could probably get away with no power or no water, but not without internet.”
What is the Resident Experiencing While Connected?
Owners and operators need to know if their community is meeting the digital demands of today’s students and understand what their residents are experiencing. Many faults within community technology offerings were brought to light in 2020 when office employees were forced to work from their homes and campuses closed, forcing students to remain in their apartments. This ranged from virtual meetings being dropped at the most inopportune time, to students taking timed finals and losing their work due to failing or slow connections. Were these issues caused by outdated technology, an askew resident/bandwidth ratio or a congested network? The answer is important to all owners and operators trying to gain a clear understanding of each of their community’s network performances within their portfolio.
Do Renters Care About Quality Internet?
A recent survey from J. Turner Research states that nine out of 10 residents rank internet connectivity as their number one amenity. Providing a positive resident experience at each community goes beyond the management of the property and is typically rooted in items residents interact with daily, like internet connectivity. Renters who are disappointed with constant, poor-quality internet tend to voice their frustrations publicly through online review sites and social media.
Consumers refer to online reviews before buying a product and the same goes for prospective renters. Residents shop around while looking for their next home. In fact, 98 percent of apartment shoppers rely heavily on review sites and 79 percent did not visit a community solely because of poor ratings and reviews, according to the NMHC/Grace Hill Apartment Resident Preferences Report. Most renters place significant value in experience, seeking convenience and quality connectivity in their day-to-day community living. Consistent, quality community experiences for residents lead to increased renewal rates and higher referral rates, which provide higher occupancy rates and increased net operating income.
Producing a Satisfying Resident Experience
Improving the quality of network connectivity is a critical factor for creating a positive resident experience and attracting future renters. Community technology enhancements or upgrades will net a strong return on investment.
Using a technology with the ability to monitor network performance portfolio wide — including technology infrastructure, the age of equipment, end-to-end services and more — gives owners a more accurate view of what residents are experiencing day-to-day so that they’re able to provide the best possible experience to students living at their property.
—Janis Rossi is the co-founder and senior vice president of marketing at ROVR Score, a software business leader with multiple years of industry business-to-business and SaaS marketing experience. She is a passionate advocate with an innate knowledge of the industry.