Leveraging A Tenant Experience Platform: How to Differentiate Your Assets
Due to constantly developing tenant and office building needs, the adoption of proptech and technology partnerships has become a necessity in a world adjusting to rapidly evolving work models. Tenant engagement tools such as a tenant experience platform and other office space software not only help landlords and property teams bring new life to the overall building experience, but also reinforce a competitive advantage in a shifting industry. Additionally, many proptech companies are available in the market to help establish a more customer-centric model for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry.
Growing flexibility in working preferences means that the workplace and its community have now officially transcended the four walls of the office building — not only do landlords have to find ways to create great experiences for those who choose to come into the office, but also for those who follow a more hybrid work model approach. It’s also been an important time to focus on making time in the physical office valuable as a way to attract tenants to office spaces as a preferred work location. Thus, the industry has reached a point where technology is needed to bridge the gap between the physical office and the digital workplace to create omnichannel office experiences, while also connecting employees in a way that is both engaging and thoughtful.
What Exactly is a Tenant Experience Platform?
When thinking about a typical commercial real estate tenant, many overlook the small details of their day. From their morning commute coffee to post-work activities such as doctor’s appointments or fitness classes, tenant activities are more ingrained in your building community than you may think. Great tenant engagement even incorporates the actions that occur outside of your building, such as tenant commute and transportation needs. These workplace experiences all come together to create what we refer to as the tenant experience (TeX).
Cultivating this ecosystem is critical. Each tenant activity presents a new opportunity to improve the property experience with technology tailored to the individuals who are in the building every day. These opportunities harness the power of tenant experience: helping landlords put relevant technology into the hands of a building’s population that they don’t regularly connect with, and using that technology to improve tenant retention and attraction and to add value to their assets.
Thus, tenant experience platforms and related tenant experience technology have become the driving force behind bringing commercial real estate (CRE) leaders and property teams closer to their building occupants than ever before. Tenant experience software can not only be leveraged to create new and exciting engagement opportunities for tenants, but also to collect meaningful data on what building occupants really want, and how they really use a given space.
Creating a Digital Tenant Experience
Since the CRE industry has seen an influx of hybrid work models and technological innovation, it has reached a point where improvements to the physical office environment can no longer enhance the tenant experience on their own. Instead, technology is needed to bridge the gap between the physical office and the digital workplace, while also connecting dispersed employees in a way that is both engaging and thoughtful. This means that landlords need to establish a digital tenant experience to provide omnichannel office experiences.
Omnichannel office experiences are exactly that: integrated experiences that provide your building occupants with seamless transitions between digital and physical offerings. Signs of a good tenant experience include everything from plugging into your building’s various technology systems to ensure that the building occupant journey is tech-enabled, to increasing your digital programming through virtual amenities that all can partake in, no matter where they are.
In order to keep up with the rise of tenant experience and to achieve omnichannel office experiences, you will need to start looking into — at the very minimum — a tenant communication app. Tenant engagement apps not only ease modern-day concerns revolving around safety, communication, and engagement for your existing tenants but also help you strengthen your workplace culture to help attract new tenants.
To foster workplace culture and community, a large focus area of what makes a good tenant experience is the concept of flight to quality — or creating a digital tenant experience through activating building amenities. A 2019 Cushman & Wakefield study revealed that before the COVID-19 pandemic, highly amenitized buildings had an 18.3% rent premium compared to the surrounding submarket. This premium proved even more substantial at 21.6% in the central business districts (CBDs) of gateway markets. Amenities still play a role in overall office culture, and the concept of flight to quality — or digitally enhancing your building’s offerings — can prove to be a major differentiator for your portfolio. This also lends credence to the positive impact that technology can have on cap rates when focused on engaging people and strengthening connections.
Offering digital programming to complement your assets can re-shape antiquated engagement models by bringing your building’s amenities directly to the end-user, as opposed to having tenants seek them out on their own. Such modern tenant relations ideas not only strengthen workplace culture but also establish a brand value that extends beyond the office — both of which are especially valuable now since many tenants and employees are not physically in the building.
For many HqO clients, “going digital” has already led to unique and desirable workplace experiences for both current and prospective tenants. Each client can leverage HqO’s larger tenant engagement platform to customize in-app features to fit their specific needs, creating solutions that highlight their building’s individual communities and personalities. These tenant engagement ideas have spanned from offering virtual fitness classes and hosting building-wide events, to gift raffles that show tenant appreciation, to mobile ordering services that cut down on traffic and congestion in public common areas associated with popular on-site food and retail vendors.
Not only can such digital programming initiatives provide ways to show tenant appreciation, but they can also establish a sense of workplace normalcy during the rise of hybrid work models. Remember: what you do with your tenants now will create memorable, lasting impressions moving forward.
HqO: The Leaders in Tenant Experience Technology
At HqO, we’re working to build a substantial foundation for the long-term success of CRE through the tenant experience, which drives unparalleled insights, lasting value, and streamlined operations across assets, portfolios, and geographies.
As we work with best-in-class technologies and grow our partner ecosystem, we want all features — from smart lighting to space management strategies to access solutions — to be available at the click of a button, just like an app on your phone. Our vision opens up a whole world of functionalities and capabilities to landlords and property teams, who can now start differentiating assets by providing unique and memorable experiences to tenants by leveraging HqOS™ — the only end-to-end tenant experience operating system for CRE — to provide holistic office solutions.
We created an entire operating system because we know that the key to the successful implementation of tenant experience apps and technologies is managing the processes and complexity that come with new integrations. Whether it powers a mobile device, a laptop, or a server, the prime directive of any operating system is to abstract away the enormous complexities of the underlying system and to provide standard and streamlined methods of user security, user interface, data storage, communications, resource sharing, and most importantly, application execution.
The OS concept also means that the best property management apps aren’t apps at all, but rather a fully integrated platform. End-to-end solutions not only ensure easy processes for building occupants and tenants, but also give property teams access to more meaningful, actionable data that can help inform strategic decisions across entire assets or portfolios. However, adopting a data-driven decision-making mindset requires careful thought.
As part of our HqOS operating system, our growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners are aggregated within the HqO app for any building. Landlords and property teams can then choose to activate partners and features that meet any building’s specific needs. The HqOs platform can also use these new office activations to collect meaningful data on your building and its end-users through the Digital Grid™, our robust analytics offering. These meaningful insights can lend way to real-time feedback, benchmarking opportunities, and enhancements to building performance.
The Best Use-Cases of Tenant Apps
At HqO, our clients have already begun to implement creative tenant experience solutions through their respective tenant apps. An app for tenants, alongside an end-to-end tenant experience operating system to support it, can achieve many different results. Below are just a few examples of HqO success stories:
- In early 2018, Bulfinch launched HqO across three of their suburban assets in Needham, MA — 75 Second Avenue, 117 Kendrick Street, and 250 First Avenue — totaling nearly 400,000 sq ft. As a forward-thinking company that seeks to utilize technology for the next wave of great tenant experience, Bulfinch sought to attract and retain its tenants by providing the best workspace possible and ensuring an amenity-rich work environment. Through the HqO app, they connected tenants with retail building amenities like food vendors, fitness and recreational classes, and more. They also took advantage of its data collection capabilities, helping them curate what works and what doesn’t work for their tenant base and eliminating much of the guesswork normally associated with property management tasks.
- In February of 2018, National Development launched HqO at their 1.3 million sq ft business environment complete with office, retail, and restaurant space, nestled outside of the city in Burlington, MA. At the time, The District had already boasted a lively environment and several tenant-focused events, but the large nature of its campus meant that they needed a more streamlined way to reach and connect every tenant and employee. The HqO app provided The District technologies that were able to successfully disseminate information to everyone, spreading their workplace culture to people they were previously unable to reach.
- In July of 2020, JP Morgan launched HqO at Foundation Park, a 260,000 sq ft business park, just to the west of London, UK. Foundation Park’s management team needed to communicate important return-to-workplace information — such as updated health and safety protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic — in a quick and effective manner. They also sought to digitally translate the connected nature of the park through a mobile platform. To achieve this, HqO delivered notable custom solutions around transportation, including a real-time tracker of the shuttle bus that supports commuting to and from the property. Foundation Park also provides service and resource booking for on-site amenities, a neighborhood guide that aggregates key facilities and services available in the local towns, their own bike share scheme, and virtual workplace events for its active users.
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HqOS — the tenant experience operating system for commercial office buildings — enhances physical spaces with digital experiences, accelerates the implementation of innovative asset strategies, and enables data-driven decision making
- Create rich digital experiences for the people who occupy your buildings with the Tenant Experience Platform
- Find and manage apps in one place with the Marketplace
- Capture & structure all data on how people use your buildings with the Digital Grid™
- Deploy your tenant experience strategy with Headquarters