What is Facility Management and Why your HOA should Automate it
Facility management is defined as the process of maintaining and operating the buildings, equipment, and other amenities within a community or organization. For a Homeowners Association (HOA) or a Condominium Owners Association (COA), managing facilities includes maintaining and operating recreational facilities in the community, including swimming pools, fitness centers, and sports facilities, among others.
The role of a facility manager comes with a long list of responsibilities within an HOA. Their job involves everything- facility maintenance, planning, and budgeting for facilities from the ground up to updating residents on facility-related matters and managing relations and communication with the HOA board members, staff, contractors, and other stakeholders in the community.
With so many things to take care of, it only makes sense to streamline facility management with technology. However, if you're on an HOA or COA board, you'd relate well to the hesitation towards adopting new technology. It’s clear that there continues to be a significant administrative load placed on HOAs. This means that any change within the neighborhood is contingent on serious deliberation between the board and the community.
Residents have the highest expectations from their boards and there is generally little to no margin for error. And therein lies the irony! Because even though automation may reduce the risk of human error significantly, there is still a lack of trust and confidence in these solutions. Additionally, technology comes with this lingering perception that one would need considerable digital knowledge to be able to navigate any platform effectively.
While this may be an understandable concern, it does not present an effective way forward for HOAs. Today, millennial buyers make up a sizable chunk of the real estate market and will influence the choices your community association makes. For starters, this means more technology! This shouldn't be a cause for concern, however, as not everything needs to be automated all at once. You could take a small step by digitally managing those aspects of your community that would improve their quality of life while simplifying your work at the same time.
This is why automating and simplifying the management of your community’s recreational facilities would be a good place to start. Every HOA has them, every resident wants them, and both the board and the residents would love nothing more than to make sure they can be easily accessed by all!
Advantages of automating facility management at your HOA
Adopting facility scheduling software could make life a whole lot easier for your community. But what value does this digital solution add that you weren't able to create on your own? Here are just a few ways in which automating your facility management can help you and your community.
- Save time on booking operations
- Simplify payments online
- Automate facility access
- Secure member data
- Attract millennial buyers
- Protect your board against liability
- Communicate with a personal touch
1. Save time on booking operations
Manually managing bookings can be deceptively time-consuming. Why spend the time to maintain manual records and go through a process that can be easily replaced? A facility booking software will cut out all the time you spend on paperwork and allow you to focus on delivering a better experience to your members.
While you manage your bookings, scheduling, member data, and communications in just a few simple clicks, your members would be able to book time at your facilities without much effort, check out the schedules you have posted, and receive timely updates on their bookings and cancellations. And all this in the blink of an eye!
2. Simplify payments online
One of the essential factors of a good member experience is convenience. Reducing the amount of work that members will have to do to complete the important tasks will go a long way towards satisfying everyone within your community.
With a smart facility booking system, you can enable and automate online transactions for members. Once you integrate your members’ banks and the popular payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal, the entire process will be reduced to a couple of clicks.
3. Automate facility access
Technology has all the tools to make our lives easier and with the right facility scheduling software, you can ease access to your facilities and improve the experience for your members. Today, facility scheduling systems come with easy options including online check-ins and contactless QR check-ins that allow members to check in and safer physical access on their own before using the facilities.
It would also help to switch to a mobile-first scheduling software where members can easily connect with your facilities, view available slots, and make bookings through a mobile app. This would help residents get the job done faster through a smart interface with much less effort at the same time!
It further helps HOA facility managers to easily track the schedule of each member who used the services.
4. Secure member data
In an increasingly data-heavy world, the security of your information gains all the more importance. It is essential to ensure that whatever data your members provide is safe and protected from any exposure. This is where the right technology can do a better job than anyone in keeping your member's information secure at all times.
Additionally, using a secure facility booking software would help you manage who has access to member data and to what extent they can access the data. It would be best for your HOA to look into solutions that offer greater security and access management features to protect your members and their information. An ideal member database would be easy to search, with filters that make it easy to organize value information, make reports as per your requirements, and would allow you to edit or update the data at any given time.
5. Attract millennial buyers
Today the market is shifting to accommodate an increasing number of millennial buyers. Yes, the generation that grew up alongside rapidly evolving technologies naturally tends to turn towards these solutions more than any generation before them. Today, more millennials are interested in buying their own property than ever before. More importantly, their entire process of looking for a new home begins with immediate access online- right from checking out the property value to available recreational facilities to the process of facility maintenance before they decide to physically visit the location.
It only makes sense for your HOA management to take millennial choices into account while making community management decisions. The biggest turn-off for a millennial buyer would be an HOA that is more dependent on paper than it is on technology. Increased use of technology and with it, improving accessibility for your residents in keeping with the latest facility management trends would make your property a lot more attractive to younger buyers today.
6. Protect against liability
When your members use facilities such as swimming pools or fitness centers, there is always a possible risk of injury. You may have taken all the precautions possible, adhered to local safety guidelines, and everything else you can think of to prevent anything untoward but not every situation can be controlled or prevented.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this into particular focus for all of us. Today, as more people continue to get vaccinated and step out of their homes, the threat of the virus is still around for those who haven't yet received their shots. A liability waiver will not only protect you in case of infections but also helps to easily track members coming to the facility and hence contact tracing. The job of a facility manager is made much easier as such and everyone is aware of their responsibility.
A facility scheduling software will help you share an online liability waiver with your members before they book a session, making it a paperless process that is also easy to manage accounts as such.
7. Communicate with a personal touch
We understand the hassle of sending out email after email to members every time you need to update them. It is a time-consuming task and calls for attention to detail. Besides, when you send the same email to your list of members, it can appear quite plain and impersonal on the other end.
What you need to improve their experience - and your own - is an automation fix. And a smart one at that! Create personalized announcements for events and holidays, send blast emails on the latest neighborhood news, and facilitate more engagement and discussion within the community. You can also arrange board meetings online via platforms like Zoom, which can then be integrated with facility booking software for easier organization and greater data security.
This may all seem like a lot to handle, but good facility booking software is designed to help you communicate and engage effectively, minimizing your time and effort in the process.
If you are looking to automate your community's facility management, Omnify provides an efficient platform that meets all your needs. With Omnify, you can manage your facility bookings and schedules, maintain member data with controlled team access and security, customize online liability waivers, and keep a warm, personal connection with your members through automated emails. All this and more from one easy-to-use dashboard. And if you face any difficulties? Our responsive customer service is always on hand to help you out round the clock!