Technology is impossible to avoid in the modern commercial real estate (CRE) landscape. Office tenants have spoken: According to a recent CBRE study, 62% of tenants seek connected technologies and building apps in their workplaces. An additional 51% of tenants are looking specifically for touchless technologies. Now it’s up to landlords to deliver.
Technology remains one of the most influential office space amenities. And according to the data, amenities are crucial in remaining successful in the market. Before the pandemic, highly amenitized office buildings commanded higher rents. Those with the best amenities generated rent premiums of 18% or more than neighboring buildings with fewer amenities. On the back-end of the pandemic, this trend is continuing in a slightly different way.
In a post-pandemic world, the most successful property teams channel their office experiences through a building amenity app, allowing those who work remotely to indulge in the same engaging experiences as the workers who come into the office. Not surprisingly, this digital-to-physical transition is quickly becoming the new standard for the future of the office.
But what exactly is an office amenities app? And how can this technology generate immense value for CRE teams?
Defining the Trends
Before we break down the technology, we first need to define CRE’s more traditional offerings.
The term “amenity” refers to a feature of a property that makes it more valuable to potential buyers or tenants. For CRE, office amenity trends are used to differentiate buildings from competitors and typically fall into the following categories:
- Fitness and health-related options such as gyms or on-site training facilities
- On-site food and retail facilities
- Distractions from everyday routines such as game rooms, rooftop lounges, or socializing space
- Flexible, comfortable workspaces such as open floor plans, noise control, or other technological infrastructure
- Natural environments like green terraces outside or walking paths
In recent years, amenities have expanded to incorporate any number of digital experiences in a building. These include building and systems automation, online community forums, virtual courses and classes, flexible workplace infrastructure, and more.
No matter which form they take, office building amenity trends are invaluable to the overall tenant experience. As Karen Whitt, President, U.S. Investor Services and Real Estate Management Services for Colliers has stated: “Though a unique set of amenities is just one factor in an extremely complex market, investment in amenities can make the difference between a vibrant, productive property and one facing vacancies.”
Using a Tenant Experience App
All of the digital amenities and experiences that tenants seek can be streamlined through a relatively new type of technology: a tenant engagement platform. More than just a building amenity app, tenant-focused software can achieve quite a few things for CRE teams. First, it can take a building’s existing amenities and give them a digital platform, such as complementing a building’s on-site fitness facilities with virtual classes for workers following a hybrid schedule. Secondly, it opens up a new world of opportunities when it comes to amenities and perks for the office.
This is because a good tenant experience platform will offer solutions in several key areas that create efficiencies and convenience for CRE tenants. For example, HqO’s end-to-end operating system has both built-in features and integrated technologies that meet needs across nine main categories: communications, access control, order ahead, resource booking, service booking, service requests, shuttle tracking, ticketing, and visitor registration.
For an even better experience leveraging this software, a holistic platform will give CRE teams the ability to have separate tenant-facing and landlord-facing features. This allows tenants to access all of the features they need to navigate their work day through a single “remote control” for their building: an easy-to-use tenant app. At the same time, a true platform will have an administrative control center for property teams to create content for their mobile app, activate their building features, and gather meaningful data and analytics to improve their portfolios.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a tenant experience app is its ability to empower CRE teams to remain agile. The more building activations owners and operators have, the more insights they can receive to paint an accurate picture of what is going on in their buildings. If collected and organized appropriately, aggregated and anonymized data can help teams see high-level trends across their properties.
Whether it’s learning that tenants do not engage with the on-site cafe — or that tenants desire helpful commuting tools such as shuttle-tracking, buses, and other public transportation resources — real-time information means that problems can be identified quickly. It also means that they can be addressed with the same urgency. Thus, tenants will feel heard and continue to engage with their office. CRE teams will continue to collect actionable data to inform their investments. And the virtuous feedback loop continues.
To learn more about how HqO’s building amenity app can help elevate your tenant experience, schedule a free demo today.