Tenant Engagement Manager
As a Tenant Engagement Manager for Lincoln Property Company, Alesia supports the leasing team; cultivates and sustains positive relationships with tenants; and develops and executes innovative data-driven initiatives at 25 Massachusetts Avenue located in Washington, D.C. The property, which is owned by global investment firm Nuveen Real Estate, boasts of a diverse building population, close proximity to the Capitol, and distinctive amenities and programming. Whether it’s promoting special services and events to tenants or increasing engagement with their amenity spaces, Alesia ensures that the 25 Massachusetts Avenue building community is receiving a world-class tenant experience.
25 Massachusetts Avenue seems like such an interesting property! Can you tell me a little more about it?
Of course! We’re located in Washington, D.C., and I think that’s really important when talking about the kinds of things that more high-profile city buildings need. We are right by the Capitol and have a variety of different tenants. For example, we have several lobbyist firms as well as big tech companies. That mix keeps things really interesting because it’s a completely unique population. It brings about a challenge when it comes to curating content and amenities that appeal to the masses.
On-site we have an amenity center, outdoor terrace, conference facilities, fitness center, yoga room, and common areas. These spaces can be used for meetings or smaller events and gatherings. We also have bike storage (which is popular for workers in the city), on-site fitness classes to complement the fitness center, full-service locker rooms, and a new Lavii contactless food delivery locker. The Lavii locker is a resource for companies like Caviar, Uber Eats, and Doordash. Food can be left in a sanitary space, and tenants can come down and pick it up at their convenience. We’re focusing on more offerings like that to give our tenants as many workplace experiences as possible.
I love the food locker concept! I noticed you have a very specific title: Tenant Engagement Manager. Is that similar to a Property Manager, or different?
No, not at all. I am purely tenant-focused. Each day is completely different. I’ll do everything from supporting the leasing team and managing the move-in process for new tenants, to providing tenants with personalized experiences that help them balance their work schedules with their everyday lives. I also plan events and board meetings that incorporate catering, floor plan arrangements, external vendors, attendance registration — you name it. We’ve successfully run programs like having an ice cream cart come on-site, a dog adoption day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day events, graduations, and so on. It’s a constantly rotating schedule of programming. This makes me particularly useful on leasing tours, because I have a lot of perspective on what tenants really like and what the space can be used for. We showcase these events and details through our building app, which has also been incredibly helpful.
And how do you get tenants to use your building app?
I’ve worked closely with the HqO team to make sure that our app completely aligns with our needs, such as our back-to-work incentives. They’ve also helped me with strategy and re-introducing the app to our tenants. I update the content regularly, and make sure everyone is set up and familiarized with it. We also leverage our integration with Datawatch Systems to enable keyless access into our building, and host the registration for a lot of events and programs through the app. These experiences transform it into a necessary workplace utility. It’s become such an important tool in keeping our tenants happy and creating convenience throughout their day.
I think we should just re-state that your company has a dedicated tenant representative. That is really cool.
Definitely. I’ve been focusing more and more on COVID-19 initiatives lately. Normally, that wouldn’t be the case. But I think that since we built out the amenity center here, we really needed someone in this position to help tenants understand how it can be used safely and in a meaningful way.
How is the relationship between Nuveen owning the building and Lincoln Property running the building?
Working with Nuveen and Lincoln Property has been both fulfilling and rewarding, and I see the tenants benefiting from the relationship daily. Any time two companies come together to collaborate, I’m excited to see how we can work together to successfully meet our goals. And we’ve been able to do just that through trust, confidence, and innovation. The events space is relatively new and requires hands-on management, so I’m proud to have been brought on with my events background to bring hospitality and programming into the workplace. It’s a perfect fit.
Let’s expand on the hospitality point. Why do you think Nuveen and Lincoln Property care so much about hospitality and the tenant experience?
I truly believe in any industry — not just real estate — when you satisfy your customer and build a relationship with them, you’re anchoring that customer and establishing trust. In my former world, if I could make a bride and groom happy, I could almost guarantee that they were going to come back to plan parties and other events throughout their entire life. Furthermore, they were going to tell 10 of their friends. In real estate, when you foster that kind of relationship with people and make them happy, they want to stay in your building. Most of us are with our co-workers or in our work environments more than we’re at home. It’s such a necessary approach to identify people’s needs while at work to make the biggest part of their lives as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Offering hospitality-first experiences means we also take a wellness approach, which can help create more productive environments. We focus a lot on wellness, health, and fitness. The events we put on are not just social in nature, they are based on the analytics and feedback we get from a diverse tenant base and include networking and knowledge sharing events as well as fitness and wellness classes. Currently, I’m working with our Portfolio Manager, Felicia, on a welcome back series titled “Preparing for the Best.” It focuses on managing stress, popular fitness classes, a trainer meet-and-greet, and a food prep pop-up from a Michelin Star restaurant. We listen to what our tenants want, and adjust our programming accordingly. That rapport is critical, both in and outside of work. We’re building a community and a family, not just a workspace.
You do so much. How has technology made your job easier?
I love that technology houses everything in one area. When we get questions about our back-to-work timeline, we direct tenants to use our building app. We can say, “Let me show you where you can find that information and the answers to other building-related questions that you may have.” We would have never been able to do that if it wasn’t for the app. The fact that we immediately started doing things virtually once we understood that COVID-19 was going to be a lot longer than we initially thought made communication and engagement with our tenants possible. Those two things would have been hard to do without technology.
We also have such a great relationship with Sarah and Jennifer from HqO’s team. They’re a great support and help me whenever I need anything. They add what I need to the app, and organize and manage things like gym waivers and reservations. It honestly would have been difficult and time-consuming to open up our gym and manage it without that kind of organization and service. We leverage our app for more than managing the visitors, but also for sharing our cleaning schedule and our policies. You can go on there, see building updates, schedule appointments, check cleaning schedules, view when locker rooms are open — everything. That level of communication and transparency with our customers is a key driver of the work we do.
Absolutely. The communication aspect has been so important to all of us during the pandemic.
It’s a huge reason why we were able to maintain a lot of our relationships with our tenants this past year or so. I started two weeks before everyone left their offices. Essentially, I’ve built relationships with everybody virtually through the app and other methods. I love that now, they can come back into the building and we already know each other. They thank us for hosting events for holidays and other things. They’re just so grateful that we didn’t forget about them and that we were able to stay connected during such difficult times. For example, we got the feedback that people were feeling down around the holidays, so we decided to host a giveaway series focused on lifting their spirits. Our tenants loved it!
Are there any other aspects of your building app that you guys use all the time?
The app became integral almost immediately after the pandemic up-ended our work culture. We began using the data and analytics features to come up with new ideas, and from that we were able to hold COVID-safe events to keep our tenants engaged — even while at home. It’s all based on people’s interests, whether they RSVP to an event, or are looking at a specific piece of content. As soon as people get back in the office and we’re able to do more in-person events, it’ll give us a much better read on what we should do moving forward, how successful our events are, and what kinds of fitness and wellness classes we should offer. I think that it’s the perfect and most successful way to get feedback without having to ask for it face-to-face.
How are capabilities like these shaping the commercial real estate industry as a whole?
I think that right now, even though we’re still recovering from COVID-19, people are going to be really conscious about who they’re around, what places they’re in, and how many people are in that space. I think that technology is going to play a big part in that, whether we start to see who’s accessing the space or use it for contact-tracing. Managing people in spaces together is going to be huge. I myself would love to see things like population density and space usage right from my phone.
I also think that as we move forward, things are going to become more contactless. Our work with Datawatch Systems is helping us with this. We anticipate that customers are going to want to be able to access everything through their phones, whether it’s building entry or parking payment methods. We’re seeing it more and more with food companies like Starbucks. My payment and preferred order are already saved through the Starbucks app. It has everything that I need. We need the same kind of convenience in the workplace. Anything I can think of that I need on my way to and from work — and while I’m at work — should be completely accessible in that way.
In order to remain competitive in this market, you’re going to have to have some kind of technology in your building. Especially after the pandemic. These features are all going to be amenities that prospective tenants will expect when touring a building. That’s going to be the new way of everything. I can’t believe that looking back at things, we used to just drop off orders at the front desk for anyone to touch! We’ve come a long way in terms of office safety and efficiency.
I completely agree! Is there anything else you’d like to mention about what you’re doing at 25 Mass Ave before we go?
I want to re-emphasize how much our property is driven by hospitality experiences. It plays into the personalities of all of our building team: Felicia, Cynthia, and myself. We go above and beyond to create meaningful tenant relationships and to manage those relationships. We truly care. We hardly ever run any event twice and we try to be as innovative as possible. We’re always researching. For those new to this industry, you can’t be married to one way of doing things. Your investment in innovation and trying new things will ultimately attract new tenants and build a loyal tenant base. Being willing to take on new responsibilities like tenant health or wellbeing is the foundation to a good workplace. There’s no way around it.
Conversations is a monthly blog series that features the managers and partners who use HqO at the property level — the things they see, the challenges they have, and how they think technology impacts them. For more information about Lincoln Property Company, click here. For more information about Nuveen, click here. To learn how HqO can elevate your tenant engagement strategies, schedule a free demo today.