ESG is no longer optional: nine out of ten investors consider ESG as part of their investment approach. But when it comes to ESG goals within the serviced apartment industry, there’s more that operators can do than simply ditch single-use plastics for eco-friendly toiletries.
Be it cutting individual apartment carbon emissions with smart technology, offering inclusive employment opportunities or marking progress with accurate data reporting, serviced apartment operators need to address all three letters of ESG: environment, social and governance.
With a serviced apartment property management system (PMS), hitting your ESG goals is as easy as ABC.
Given ‘sustainability’ and ‘smart energy consumption’ topped the list of serviced apartment guest’s expectations in 2023, it’s no surprise that 42% of serviced apartment operators think ESG crucially drives demand. With a third of extended stay travellers even willing to pay more for a sustainable stay, operators should leverage the power of their PMS to enhance environmental credentials.
- Sustainable operations. A PMS automates housekeeping and maintenance tasks, improving efficiency and minimising your carbon footprint. For instance, eco-conscious guests can select their housekeeping rota via a digital resident app and choose a more sustainable option, such as weekly cleans instead of daily. This cuts down on electricity usage for washing, ironing, dry-cleaning and vacuuming. In addition, proactive maintenance ensures that heating and cooling appliances are working at maximum efficiency throughout the year.
- Smart tech in apartments. Installing motion-sensor lights that turn off every five minutes without movement. Implementing automated thermostats that only initiate at a certain temperature. Inputting smart meters to remind guests of energy use. Even smart locks and virtual keys are more environmentally-friendly than their physical counterparts. With PMS-enabled smart tech in apartments, both guests and operators can easily control their electricity usage.
- Extended stay functionality. According to the Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report (GSAIR), corporate travel amasses 80% of global serviced apartment business. 89% of corporates intend to increase or maintain their average length of stay in 2023 to offset environmental concerns about frequent business travel. With extended stays better for occupancy rates and the environment, operators need the tech functionality to offer them. Not only does a property management system enable you to sell any unit for one night, one month or one year, but a sliding rate scale and CRM-generated long stay discounts can also encourage guests to choose the more sustainable extended stay option.
Serviced apartment operators have a social and moral obligation to support their employees, guests and local communities. Serviced apartment property management software helps you embed an ethical framework into your business model.
- Inclusive opportunities. To improve workplace DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), operators must provide equal career and development opportunities to all team members. As a property management system can be accessed at any time from anywhere by any (pre-designated) employee, it removes geographic barriers to management roles for those that may not be able to commute to a central office. With the system offering onboarding and best practice tips, remote employees also have the same access to training.
- Guest wellbeing. A PMS bolsters the serviced apartment industry’s duty of care for staying guests. For instance, responsive two-way conversations between guests and management create connections and ensure guests feel heard. The digital guest portals tackle loneliness by connecting like-minded guests and improve wellbeing by enabling guests to book gym treatments or wellness classes.
- Community connection. The guest portal fosters community internally - i.e. enabling serviced apartment guests to register for in-building activities with other guests - and externally by connecting residents to local establishments - i.e. 2-for-1 deals at a local restaurant or discounts for nearby excursions. Operators can even use a PMS to organise local community and volunteering opportunities in the surrounding area, and ask guests for their views on potential social initiatives.
From maintenance staff to property managers, head office to board level, investors to local councils, serviced apartments have a duty to ensure good governance at every strata of their operations. A property management system makes good governance simple.
- Accurate data reporting. Better reporting = better governance. As your property management system is one centralised system that syncs with all parts of your operations, it gives your property managers and senior leaders complete oversight of your business at a glance. For example, managers can view the average length of stay or revenue by channel via a dashboard to make better business decisions, legal teams can use the data to satisfy compliance checks and board level executives can easily verify appropriate actions have been taken.
- ESG policies, protocols and certifications. A PMS makes it easier to coordinate ESG activities, conform to industry standards and improve your leadership responsibility. For instance, use a PMS to ensure guests sign-up to your environmental charter as part of the check-in process. You can share ESG surveys with guests via the resident app and send ESG toolkits to remote employees. Accurate data also makes it easier to get certified by accredited organisations for your ESG efforts.
- Measuring ESG progress. It’s all well and good putting ESG initiatives in place and using the PMS features to manage them, but without tracking the progress, you can’t fully understand the impact you’re making. With a PMS, you can easily identify risks and measure success, such as the uptake of wellbeing classes in one location or the energy savings made by less frequent housekeeping. What’s more, as you can manage by exception with a PMS, you can take immediate action in areas where you’re struggling.
PMS ➡️ EMS
Serviced apartment operators can transform their property management software into ESG management software to easily manage, iterate and report on ESG initiatives in a way that complements their day-to-day activities and satisfies investors.
For more advice on how a serviced apartment PMS can help you achieve your ESG goals, download our Ultimate Guide to Serviced Apartment Property Management Software or request a demo with our team directly.