The Brave New World of Flexible Living and Why Property Developers Need to Adapt
It’s been over a year since the last lockdown ended and the effects on the way we work, live and play continue to evolve. One thing seems clear and that is that flexible living leads nowhere.
Remote work has become a key part of many people’s lives, with the possibility of being able to work from anywhere increasing for so many. According to reports, 38% of workers aged 30-49 are now empowered (or able) to work from home or remotely from February 2022.
With changing work patterns, working from home and the confusion between work and leisure, workers are less tied to living in the same place. Instead, there is a trend of renters moving and staying in flexible accommodations in the form of short-term rentals with fast and reliable internet connections. This has led to an explosion in demand for short-term rentals with home-from-home features such as a kitchen, living and working space with a desk and comfortable, designer interiors. With a prediction 20.5% increase in the number of short-term rentals listed in 2022, there is a shortage of properties to meet demand. A number of property owners and developers have spotted a gap in the market, can see that the landscape has changed and are now rethinking the type of properties they develop, design and build.
How property developers are adapting in response to flexible living
According to information from Skift’s latest report – ‘The Great Merger in the Hospitality and Rental Technology Sectors, July 2022, “The differences between hotels and rentals are becoming blurred for the traveller, because rentals are becoming more professional and the hotel is moving into the rental space. Meanwhile, short-term rental providers are looking to push branded and hotel-like services into the rental space, encroaching on hotels.
Building for rental is a good solution, creating stand-alone hotel-like properties ideal for longer stays. The number of developments built to let is up 26% of 2020 versus 2021 resulting in a post-pandemic boom in the build-to-let industry. Many developers are adapting in response to flexible living, creating flexible hotel-style accommodation with cooking facilities and the comforts of home. These apartments can be entrusted to property management companies who take care of the day-to-day operations.
One investment opportunity is the renovation projects of older buildings that may have been converted into office or commercial use, but are now ‘distressed’ due to lower occupancy of the ‘place of residence’. work “. These offer innovative opportunities to repurpose, not only for medium and long-term rentals, but also for short-term rental opportunities. With many older buildings in city centers, residents’ desires for central locations are being met.
Developers add flexible living to their portfolio
As an independent investor in a flexible housing refurbishment project in Manchester, which will be part of Jetstream’s operations, we are responding directly to this need for flexible accommodation. High Street Townhouse, scheduled to open in September 2022, is a 19-unit aparthotel. Built in 1897 and originally a millinery warehouse is being converted into large and spacious apartments for guests ideally staying for 3-30 days. However, the beauty of the flexible nature of these apartments means that they are also suitable for the medium and long stay market and can therefore be adapted if necessary in response to market trends. The technology, tools and services available allow owners to adapt their rentals.
It’s interesting to know how to approach a project like this. The cost of buying a building being prohibitive, a main lease (the investor takes the risk of committing to pay the rent over several years) seemed to be the best option. As a business owner who specializes in successfully marketing short-term rentals across multiple online platforms for our clients, this was not a daunting prospect, especially since we understand how to address these issues.
Marketing technology that meets the needs of digital nomads and owners
When moving to short-term rentals, there are a number of challenges that put off landlords and developers. Marketing properties for short stays can feel overwhelming if you are not experienced in this area. Accustomed to having medium to long-term occupancy, owners/operators must adapt to filling short-term reservations. For example, one problem is to spread their rental properties across multiple short-term rental channels, ensuring that reservation systems match and do not result in double bookings.
Another key area is ensuring that property listings are optimized with compelling content that resonates with short-term rental consumers so they go from ‘viewers’ to ‘bookers’. Additionally, providing 24/7 professional support is key to delivering the best customer experience with responsive and prompt communication.
Tenants in 2022 are increasingly demanding “seamless” technology solutions in their rentals. Other examples of technology include keyless entry and remote access allowing customers to check in and out from their smartphones. This is a fantastic feature that results in operational savings as on-site personnel are no longer needed. You can enjoy a quick and hassle-free check-in. Super-fast broadband is also a must and a key requirement for renters, with many requesting a screenshot of Wifi speeds before booking. Digital concierge and 24/7 customer service are also popular features.
The future of flexible living
The pandemic has made people believe that mixed use is the future of real estate. Developers, who before Covid were just converting office space into small hotel rooms, are now probably realizing that it would have been better to have hotel rooms, studios and one-and-a-half units. two bedrooms with kitchen and living room. I think we’re going to see a lot of repurposing where it’s commercially possible.
The trend towards flexible living and working is here to stay. The whole landscape has radically changed. Only if property owners and developers adapt as well, will they future-proof their business by adapting to customer needs. It will be important to create multi-use properties, for different lengths of stay, for different customer needs and to consider community/multi-family style options to adapt to ever-changing customer needs.
Introducing technology solutions, enabling experts to step in and provide marketing solutions, security solutions and operations management will yield results in terms of revenue. It’s a brave new world, where flexibility and adaptability must be the overriding business mindset.