Opinion: Delivering Resort-Quality Operations

Make sure your customer service matches your luxury amenities.

Multifamily developers know that the term “resort-style living” provides appeal for high-end properties. Owners and renters of these luxury-driven communities would be sorely disappointed if the promise of cutting-edge amenities turned out to be little more than an empty slogan. Creating a truly dynamic and comfortable lifestyle experience requires more than architecturally impressive structures or the right spaces to house unique and personalized services. Creating livable luxury means finding the right way to deliver exceptional customer service every single day. Resort-style living is as much how a property is managed as it is how it is planned and built.

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Operational functions are similar across all property types–infrastructure and facilities maintenance, property landscaping, and financial and insurance management. These core responsibilities are well-known, but the particular skills involved in managing high-end luxury properties are less well-defined.

Today, property managers and management organizations are deploying specialized teams to create unique environments that distinguish resort-style communities. These specialized teams understand the value of personalized service for residents, the need for clear and consistent communication with all property stakeholders and the importance of being responsive and attentive.

FirstService Residential’s new agreement with the LUMINA luxury condominium in downtown San Francisco is a good example of this. The development will feature amenities providing health and wellness, outdoor living, indoor entertainment, dining, and other indulgences. Creating efficient, reliable everyday operations and integrating top-level services with these high-end amenities requires a large and seasoned group of professionals. We have experienced team members, but also focus on extensive training, constant outreach with residents and systems that regularly monitor and assess the quality of the customer service provided.

Managing costs

Finding the right management partner is key to keeping operational costs in control and increasing property values over time. It can make the difference between a building with word-of-mouth desirability, and one that loses interest, residents and value. Beyond experience, experienced managers bring a philosophy of personal, hands-on service and an understanding of what residents expect—which can only be gained by researching and talking to residents and potential residents. The right questions need to be asked: What training programs does the management company employ? What’s their approach to supporting amenities? What does their network of vendors look like?

As resort-style living becomes more common, it will be up to astute managers to make the experience at these high-end properties as personalized and satisfying as possible. It’s up to them to deliver and sustain a style of living that is both consistent and entirely unique as promised.

Bob Cardoza is president of the West Region at FirstService Residential, a property manager in the United States and Canada with a management portfolio of 7,000 properties and 1.6 million residential units, including more luxury high-rise properties than any other property management company in North America.