by John Bradford
While pet data has always existed in some capacity, it has seldom been granular enough to be useful for apartment operators.
That is starting to shift, as the multifamily world is using newfound data when exploring ways to modify longstanding practices for the benefits of pets, residents and the bottom line. Advances in pet technology have made this possible, and although much territory remains unexplored on the pet-tech front, things are trending in the right direction.
For instance, pet tech wasn’t even a term a few years ago. While it has gained more pronounced traction on the consumer side in the form of pet cameras, automatic feeders, auto-disposable litter boxes and even robotic toys, it is working its way into the apartment sector, as well. Digital screening platforms, centralized pet databases, pet-waste DNA tests and multifamily-specific agencies dedicated to pet research are among the advances currently helping the industry become more intuitive in their decision-making.
But untapped potential remains. Here are a few emerging pet-tech concepts that are starting to have a positive effect on the apartment industry and figure to be even more prominent moving forward:
Performing a pet audit is typically a manual task. Whether done on a survey basis, by observing pets in homes during service calls or whistling outside a building and seeing which homes offer a bark, it’s hardly a standardized process. Pet audits are increasingly important, because unauthorized pets limit pet-related revenue and can pose a liability risk. Each community seems to take a different approach when performing a pet audit, and to be fair, the urgency varies at each community based upon how well they’ve tracked their pets. Like almost every other manual process, a digital solution would help tremendously.
Many communities are considering easing or eliminating restrictions, but more advanced data could help in the evaluation process. For instance, it’s difficult to quantify the tendencies of certain dog breeds or sizes throughout the apartment sector, because not all of them are allowed at all communities, skewing any available data that exists.
Additionally, stronger data pertaining to pet-owner responsibility would prove extremely helpful. For instance, if captured data indicates a responsible pet owner, but the pet is a typically restricted breed with no track record of aggression or damage, then a more informed approval/denial decision could be made by the property team. This detailed data is impossible to attain currently, but will become clearer as pet databases collect more data. It also might require partnering with insurance agencies and incorporating their metrics, as well.
Advanced waste solutions
There is no substitute for a responsible owner that picks up after their pets. But we all know that 100% compliance will never happen, and even with some operators opting for pet-waste DNA tests, leftover pet waste can be unsightly for residents and visitors. Several companies are working on advanced waste options that can help vanquish any unattended messes much more quickly. With first-time impressions from prospects and satisfaction levels from residents more important than ever, some of these advances could be worth considering when they’re on the market.
Pet tech is merely scratching the surface in the apartment industry, but it has definitely received more than a passing glance from data-driven operators aiming to update and improve their pet policies. We anticipate many advances on the multifamily pet-tech front in the near future, which will provide across-the-board benefits for the industry.