This past week, Building Engines flew to Kansas City to attend the BOMA 2023 International Conference & Expo. Our team was joined by 300 other commercial real estate (CRE) experts from around the country. Most notably, Brynn Hogan, Director of Product Management, Building Engines, and Anastacia Anderson, VP Investor Partnerships, Flex by JLL.
The two hosted a panel discussion Sunday morning, “The Evolving Workplace Requires a Modern Tech Stack,” to highlight the influence CRE technology is having on the industry. In this second blog of the two-part series, we cover Anderson’s discussion on the importance of creating a better tenant experience.
Be sure to read the first blog in the series, “BOMA 2023: What the best tech stack can mean for CRE properties,” to catch up on Hogan’s insights.
Navigating the hybrid work era
Hogan and Anderson’s discussion kicked off by asking the crowd, “How has the shift to hybrid work affected your building operations?” An overwhelming majority said it has become quite difficult for them.
The crowd’s response came as no surprise, considering the impact the evolving CRE industry has had on property teams – take today’s new era of hybrid work as an example. In fact, hybrid work has impacted just about everything for property teams, including the way they operate.
Hogan said property teams have begun asking themselves:
- Is the lobby operating efficiently?
- Are the elevators well-maintained and safe?
- Can the security team deliver stellar visitor and employee service?
And with Hogan citing this stat: “89% of CRE teams in the commercial office sector say that at least some of their tenants have adopted a hybrid work model,” it truly shows how much tenants needs are changing.
However, this shouldn’t frighten property teams; instead, it should excite them. With this evolution of the working world comes new opportunities for property teams to connect with and foster better experiences for their tenants.
Continue reading for Anderson’s insights as she shares three ways property teams can improve the tenant experience at their buildings.
1. Provide the most you can for tenants
We’ve heard about tenant amenities as a way to improve the tenant experience, especially in the past few years as office occupancy rates have declined. However, amenities can get stale and tenants can get bored. It’s important to have a continuous pulse on amenities usage and insight into which amenities work best for your particular space.
Anderson said amenities can mean many things, such as:
- Activities. Floors dedicated to communal areas, with virtual golf, bowling, open window (via blinds), and shared spaces.
- Connection. Fostering spaces where employees can build friendships and relationships through work. Or, as a way to help bring in a new generation of workers.
- Incentives. Offerings that motivate tenants to come into the buildings.
“How do you incentivize tenants to come back in? To come back into your space? That’s not just for us in the commercial real estate industry; our tenants also want employees to come in. And we want to help them do that,” Anderson stated. So, as you continue to review the current tenant experience at your property, consider the power of amenities.
2. Everyone should know what’s going on
To make for a better tenant experience, property teams should have a constant line of communication open with their tenants. And this means keeping them informed of all building activity. Anderson suggested the following opportunities for property teams to communicate with their tenants:
- When entrances are closed for construction, promptly communicate updates to employees, vendors, and tenants
- Social gatherings to drive property occupancy can be communicated for tenants to congregate in the lobby
- Urgently message building emergencies by alerting through email, SMS/text, and the tenant portal
- Post alerts for easy visibility
“A way to communicate easily, whatever system you are using, you should have all your contacts in one place. Your management team, your vendors, your tenants. And you want to make it really easy and clear,” Anderson said.
For your hybrid workforce, building information should all be accessible as well. Anderson said, “You should be able to access your tenants at any point in time.” So, no matter where tenants are or what they are doing, communication needs to be paramount.
3. Tap into mobile app technology
Many attendees at the BOMA 2023 session said their properties are already using mobile app technology. And while this excited the panelists, it led them to discuss what it really means to offer a mobile app at CRE properties.
“We found that the average employee uses about 10 to 30 apps a day just for their work,” said Anderson. Adding another app needs to make sense for them, she added. Their phones are saturated with apps nowadays.
“Once you’re engaging tenants with an app with relevant and up-to-date information, that’s where you’re going to see that true investment. How are people using your space? Is there an expectation for more conferencing? Do they go into your app for food ordering? What capital investment projects should you be doing at your building just based off that data?”
It’s these mobile technology solutions that are separating good CRE properties from the excellent ones. Because insights and data collected from the mobile apps provide property teams with the information and understanding they need to be able to adjust and customize the tenant experience.
Anderson’s BOMA 2023 speaking session taught us that providing a better tenant experience needs to be top of mind for property teams.
Tenants’ expectations are higher now, and there’s a lot of added pressure being put on building management, Anderson concluded. She said, “With a capital investment in these amenities, it needs to have some sort of payoff.”
To summarize her points, Anderson said CRE properties, and their teams, must create a commute-worthy tenant experience. She named the top three challenges she is seeing right now:
- Uncertainty about the value of amenities
- Tenant attraction and retention
- Lessening brand awareness and loyalty
And how to solve them:
- Invest in what your tenants want
- Continuously engage with tenants
- Differentiate your asset
To learn more about the importance of tenant experience, for more information on mobile app technology, or additional industry insights, reach out to one of our experts today. We’d love to connect!