How to Keep Up with Changing Tastes in Amenities (Don’t Be Like ‘The Lone Ranger’)

Did you see The Lone Ranger last weekend? Of cours...

Did you see The Lone Ranger last weekend? Of course not, no one did. Why? Many movie goers aren’t flocking to see a reboot of a TV western from the ’50s. And superhero movies are currently the movie genre du jour (see: Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, etc.). Plus Johnny Depp already did the somehow-sexy-while-wearing-too-much-makeup thing years ago in Pirates of the Caribbean. It goes to show, you can throw tons of money at something that was popular years ago, but that doesn’t guarantee success. Tastes change.

Same goes with amenities.

The New York Times recently ran an article about how some amenities that were popular when a building was first developed are losing their luster. In an attempt to revitalize these spaces, the old amenities are being swapped out for newer, shinier amenities in the hopes of appealing to new residents—a former party space is now a lounge with pool tables, a former massage room is now a stroller-storage area, a hot tub is now a ball pit. (OK, made that last one up, but how awesome would it be to hang out in a ball pit?)

Tastes change quickly though. How do you keep up?


It’s important to see what your competitors are doing. If communal bikes are the superhero-movie-amenity at the time, then it’ll probably be good to have one. However, be aware of which of these amenities are actually used—people might laud these bikes as being a great way to go green, but do they actually rent them out, or do the bikes end up sitting there all week taking up space?

Also, go for mass appeal versus a niche audience. After all, who was The Lone Ranger going after? Fans of the show, fans of Johnny Depp. And, OK, Johnny Depp might have a large fan base, but he is also known for going for “weirder” projects that don’t necessarily appeal to everyone. (Also, while I think he’s very attractive, I can’t look at Johnny Depp without thinking of Edward Scissorhands, and that movie gave me nightmares when I was little, and then it becomes a whole confusing thing in my head.) Same with amenities. While some residents might think it’s awesome that you offer prenatal yoga classes in the yoga room, this only applies to a select few. However, if you offer classes that appeal to everyone from beginners to yoga masters, you’ll get more people participating, which will lead to a more successful amenity.

Most importantly, be flexible. Fads come and go. Superhero movies are still hot now, but their popularity is slowly fading. Who knows what will be the popular movie genre next? (My fingers are crossed for a resurgence of chick flicks.) Be aware that some of your popular amenities now might also be passe in a few years. Maybe this will be due to shifting demographics—maybe your community, which originally was filled with young professionals, is now attracting boomers who are downsizing—and your amenity no longer appeals. Or maybe the amenity itself is no longer popular in general. Try something new rather than trying to spiff up a former favorite to appeal to those who used to like it. Same goes for you, Mr. Depp.

How do you keep up with changing tastes in amenities? What are some amenities you had that are no longer popular?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor