The technology-driven world of today drives what residents expect from a multi-housing facility. Today’s tenants want their living spaces to fall in line with the technological standards of the day, with services such as Wi-Fi access in common areas, online rent payment, strong reception for mobile devices and the use of social media to communicate with apartment management.
The same holds true for multi-housing common area laundry facilities. And, by creating a more up-to-date, user-friendly laundry room with the latest technologies and high-efficiency machines, property managers can attract new renters, save on utility costs and add value to the property. We spoke with Chris Brick, commercial laundry product and brand training manager at Whirlpool Corp.
What are tenants today looking for in their laundry facilities?
Today’s tenants are looking for a customizable, but efficient end-user experience. Apartment complex owners can increase convenience for their tenants, while generating additional revenue with programmable cycles. For example, apartment building owners and managers can program a set price for a specific cycle type, while also charging more for additional cycle options, such as wash time or additional rinse. In addition, some machines offer adjustable water levels and wash temperatures to help improve cleaning performance for specific load types.
Tenants are also looking for multiple payment options, and providing more than one payment choice can not only improve the end-user’s experience, but also increase revenue for a property owner. Most of today’s laundry equipment is able to process both coin and credit card payment options, which provide end-users with more flexibility. In fact, machines that accept credit card payments offer the added benefit of freeing an end-user of needing change to do laundry.
In addition, people remain environmentally conscious and residents are aware that energy- and water-efficient options exist. Building owners and facility managers looking to illustrate that they understand the importance of environmental impact go a long way in the eyes of their residents when they offer water- and energy-efficient machines.
Are there any new trends we should know about?
Manufacturers are developing new web-based, wireless programs that allow owners to manage their laundry facilities remotely via computer or mobile devices from any location with an Internet connection. For example, with this latest technology, an owner can remotely set up and modify vending prices to maximize profits, review cycle data, understand ongoing maintenance needs by receiving fault-code notifications, receive information on money collection and analyze laundry usage patterns. This allows apartment building owners more freedom and flexibility in their laundry operation management, as well as helps reduce downtime if a machine should need to be serviced.
How have laundry rooms in rental buildings changed the most in the past 20 years?
Over the past 20 years, laundry rooms have seen advancement in payment options, such as smart cards, and increased machine efficiency. Laundry rooms have also become more aesthetically pleasing through improved machine fascia and design, as well as the development of instructional signs, which enhances the end-user experience. Many of today’s laundry rooms are also larger in size, which helps to keep more residents on-site to get their laundry done.
What can we expect in the future?
Technology will continue to drive the laundry room experience in the future. More and more customers will see the growth of improved payment options, such as mobile payment, which removes unnecessary friction from the laundry payment experience.