While Baby Boomers and Millennials may seem very different, there are many more similarities than one would think.
When designing and operating a building, you don’t have to necessarily tailor amenities to one generation or the other, experts said during a panel discussion at the Multifamily Executive Conference on Monday.
Cindy Clare, president of Kettler Management, says she has noticed a change in attitude toward the common areas of apartment communities.
“We used to build amenities and they looked really nice and they were always empty,” Clare says. “And now we build amenities and it’s very rare that you’ll go into an amenity space and there isn’t someone in there.”
The McLean, Va.-based management company’s team has found the design of a space doesn’t have to be age-specific.
“A lot of times it is your Millennials [in a common area] because they’ll go and sit in a space because that’s community to them even though they have their earbuds in and they’re looking at their laptop and their phone is next to them,” Clare says. “But the Boomers are also using the space to have events. So, while you can have the same kinds of spaces, they’re used differently.”
And one universal amenity that crosses generational lines is providing and creating a community for pet lovers.
Jamie Gorski, chief marketing officer at Greenbelt, Md.-based Bozzuto, noted a J Turner Research study that indicated about 37 percent of Baby Boomers and 32 percent of Millennials have pets.
“It’s a big slice of our customer base,” she says.
Bozzuto has been working on incorporating something above and beyond just a dog run area by adding tunnels and obstacles into the pet parks.
Lynette Hegeman, vice president of marketing at boston-cambridge-quincy-ma-nh/employment.aspx" target="_blank">Boston-based Berkshire Property Advisors, says pets are an easy way to begin building a sense of community.
“One of the things we are starting to do is actually take pictures of their pet when they become a new resident and posting it on Facebook and having a way to announce them and welcome them to the neighborhood,” she says. “Believe it or not, both generations, all generations really buy into that and really like that as an extra little perk.”
Meanwhile health and fitness is another universal interest for both generations, but the standard fitness center won’t cut it anymore, the panelists say.
Clare says the importance of offering amenities related to bicycles is growing with renters.
“We’ve added in some of our newer buildings, bike lockers versus just a bike rack,” she says. “And you can get some ancillary income off that, because if it’s an expensive bike, they’re willing to pay for those storage lockers.”
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.