Last week we headed to the 2022 BOMA International Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tennessee to meet and hear from leaders in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. At the conference we found a community of professionals looking for ways to improve operations, maximize NOI, and stay on top of the latest trends and developments.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the 2022 BOMA International Conference & Expo.
1. Focus on Tenant Experience to Fill Vacancies
In the post-pandemic world, CRE owners and operators have had to find a balance between running a building comfortably and running it efficiently for tenants. However, what if tenants are not returning to buildings at all? Many national companies are the ones hanging back the most and leaving buildings unoccupied.
Experts speaking during the 2022 BOMA International Conference & Expo shared a couple of ways property teams can drive occupancy. And it’s all about the tenant experience.
- Close any communication gaps. Communication starts internally. Consider setting up weekly meetings to discuss what’s going on in buildings and establish a more cohesive property team. From there, management can create better relationships externally with tenants. Instances of positive communication between management and tenants include documenting preventative maintenance to reassure tenants that buildings are being taken care of.
- Provide incentives to tenants. Creative incentives may include providing higher security, offering trash pickup, or even landscaping services. With COVID regulations changing, the burden of financial hardship, and the fluctuation of tenants, incentives help to keep relations at bay.
“Flexible work practices, incredible innovation and new occupant expectations are changing the form (and function) of commercial properties — and for CRE pros ready to make a difference, the opportunities are endless.” — BOMA
2. It’s Not Time to Play it Safe
To compete today, CRE leaders will need creative solutions that help their properties and brand stand out. Bill Taylor, cofounder and founding editor of Fast Company, said at the 2022 BOMA International Conference & Expo, “The goal is not to be the best at what lot of others already do. It is to be the only one who does what you do.” Playing it safe is dangerous.
Taylor went on to say, “Change begins when people and organizations finally conclude that the risk of trying something new is lower than the cost of clinging to what’s worked in the past.” In other words, it’s time to move toward the future.
There are three driving elements that will make you a company of the future:
- Offer something that is hard to come by
- Make a commitment to the unprecedented
- Be intensely human
While pursuing change and striving for originality, it’s common to hit a few roadblocks. But in the long run, the success you will find will far surpass the challenges you are faced with. So, consider reflecting on your current business strategies and search for ways your business can leave a positive impact.
“We’re living in a time where ordinary is not an option.” — Bill Taylor, Fast Company.
3. Sustainability Solutions are a Differentiator
Are you familiar with a Sustainable Energy Services Agreement (SESA)? SESA acts as a climate-positive financing solution that allows companies to implement energy-efficient projects at no upfront capital expense. Simply put, a SESA is a flexible way to improve operations and save energy and money by consolidating projects into one contract.
What does this mean for the CRE industry? Well, a SESA is just one avenue companies can take to incorporate sustainable solutions into their business.
For CRE properties specifically, sustainable improvements can be made in a breadth of different areas, including:
- High-performance rooftop HVAC units
- LED lighting
- Battery storage
- High-efficiency boilers
- Solar panels
- Building management systems
- Data center cooling
- Clean room upgrades
- Water efficiency upgrades
For example, JLL benefited in many ways when it turned to sustainability as a solution. Most notably, JLL saved $100k in reduced work orders. By improving current systems with a more sustainable solution, the company saved time for property teams to focus on other issues at hand. In addition, JLL’s overall look and feel changed because happy clients = happy occupants. Not to mention they also reduced their scope by three carbon emissions!
Where is Your CRE Property Headed Next?
The 2022 BOMA International Conference & Expo offered many tactical solutions to challenges the CRE industry is facing while also acknowledging the positive impact the industry has the potential to make. One thing is for sure, the CRE industry has changed since the pandemic. And the industry will only continue to change as it adapts to a new world.
If you’re interested in learning more about impactful solutions you can incorporate at your CRE property to help you meet the goals outlined above, reach out to us! We can help.