5 Things Apartments Should Copy from Hotels

I don’t know about you, but I love staying at hotels. You don’t have to make your bed, you get to look at generic paintings of sailboats or flowers, your key looks like a credit card, you get a free pen, you can make a fort in a king-sized bed…the list goes on and on.

So it’s not surprising that some apartment communities are adding more and more features that mirror the hospitality industry. For example, a community in New Jersey recently added a resident-only store, where residents can grab a coffee or pick up other essentials. This is a great idea, and will provide residents a convenience that will definitely make the community stand out, help with retention and attract new renters.

But why stop there? There are plenty of things that apartment communities could adapt (read: steal) from the hotel industry.

Concierge. I lived at my previous apartment for two and a half years, and during that time, tried about three restaurants (and two were probably pizza delivery places). I didn’t really know the neighborhood, and it was just easier to stick to a two-block radius. It would have been nice to have some recommendations. I mean, think of all the pizza places that were in a four-block radius that I totally missed out on! At good hotels, the concierge recommends restaurants, books tours and gets tickets, among other things. Why not have the same service for your residents?

Cleaning Service. One of the best parts about staying in a hotel is that someone comes in every day and cleans up for you (even if recently hotels seem to have gotten a little judgmental about washing towels. Look, I know it’s better for the environment and all, but if I wanted to be guilted about leaving my damp towels on the floor and getting a brand new dry one, I would have just stayed at my parents’ house). It’s probably not feasible to have someone do that at an apartment community. Actually, the idea of that sounds a little creepy. But communities could partner with cleaning services and offer discounts, or even offer to pay for the first time a resident uses a cleaning service as an incentive for renting there.

Vending and ice machines. Why do these only exist at hotels and not at apartment buildings? People need Doritos and ice at 4 in the morning whether they’re at a conference or at home. That’s a fact. Plus, it’s a way to earn a little ancillary income.

On-site restaurant or bar. After not having to clean up for yourself, the second best thing about staying at a hotel is that you don’t have to cook. (I’m starting to realize that I’m a very lazy person.) A community bar or restaurant would certainly be convenient for your residents, and it would be a unique selling point for new renters.

The ability to charge it to your room. At some hotels, you can charge any purchases you make there—like bar tabs, spa services and pornographic movies—to your room. That way you don’t have to worry about carrying cash with you, and it feels completely indulgent. Apartment communities could do this as well. For example, if the community had a convenience store, if a resident wanted to just run down and grab something but forgot his wallet, the charge could be added to the next month’s rent. And it totally doesn’t feel like you’re spending “real” money when you charge it to your room, so you end up spending a lot more. Win-win.

What other features could the apartment community take from the hotel industry?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor