We've said it before... PropTech is having a moment. Everywhere you look – Twitter, conferences & events, real estate trade and business press, and in the offices of landlords, brokers, property managers, leasing managers, etc. – everyone in commercial real estate is talking about proptech. Of recent note, these conversations have revolved around how proptech can vastly improve the tenant experience, and therefore increase overall property value.
But there's a secret benefit that comes with proptech that is tenant-facing, the true end user in the real estate equation.
Implementing tenant-facing technology in your property equals access to extremely valuable data
There are a number of proptech solutions gaining traction in the market. Not only are they designed to improve the daily lives of tenants, they almost always deliver customer data that owners and operators had little access to in the past. Or, they make gathering and understanding that customer data much more automated and scalable for owners and operators, shifting away from reliance on manual spreadsheets and/or anecdotal assumptions.
The data landlords wish they had about their office tenants
As a commercial real estate landlord, if you've ever been in a meeting where you wondered, "Do our tenants like X, or will they like Y, or would they hate Z," you can get that much closer to actually knowing by looking at usage patterns of certain tenant-facing proptech.
There is certain information that landlords wish they had about their tenant body, and a number of questions that most landlords wish they could answer:
- Demographics – Most landlords know the name & industry of the businesses in their building, the names & contact info for a few C-level executives and the office manager. How great would it be to know the average age of your tenant base? The gender breakdown? Their titles? Their interests? Many types of proptech ask for such information upon implementation and tenants (willingly) give this information in order to make their workplace more personalized to them.
- Building usage – Landlords are often unaware of the tenant traffic patterns in their property. Are tenants using your common areas or would they use them more if you made design or furniture improvements? Do they go to the coffee shop on the third floor? Are they coming in on the weekends and should you make amenities available during off-hours?
- Facility satisfaction - Property managers are tasked with keeping the property running efficiently and tenants happy. But technology can make this job a lot easier. With tenant-facing proptech, property managers can better understand whether tenants are satisfied with HVAC, wireless internet, plumbing, the elevators, etc. And, your tenants (customers) expect to be able to easily reach their landlord similar to how they can easily reach their bank, their retailers, etc. – and easy access makes them happier customers.
- Amenity satisfaction - Are your amenities up to par with the office industry standard? Is there an amenity that is never being claimed or utilized? Are some amenities being used all the time and should you make them more widely available for increased tenant happiness? Understanding if your amenities are appreciated and maximizing the ones that are will make your tenants happier and your property more successful.
- Community engagement - Are your tenants interacting? Are they attending your weekly happy hours? Are they working in your coworking space or grabbing a chair in the lobby to get away from their desk? Are you making the environment conducive to collaboration and community? Tenant-facing proptech will give you a data-driven analysis of just that.
What proptech can tell you about customer happiness
Proptech can give your tenants a remote control to your property in a medium they are most familiar – their mobile device. They can enter the building and garage with their smartphone, they can access the amenities you spent time, money, and resources to provide, and they can interface with and support onsite retailers or the neighborhood around your property – local coffee shops, restaurants, bars, gyms, banks, hair salons, daycare providers, and so on.
But proptech also gives you a window into the satisfaction of your customers. In an age when long-term leases are falling to the wayside, you can not only get a better sense of your tenant happiness, but actually do something about tenant unhappiness. You can be more reactive, more defensive, to earn back the loyalty of your tenants. What's more? You can be proactive to earn their loyalty with amenities and experiences, and have an immediate understanding of the impact and ROI of those efforts.
The Connected Tenant, our term for the modern tenant focused on tech-enabled amenities, experiences, and community, presents an entirely new world for the modern owner and operator, but one that also presents a lot of opportunity for increased NOI, lifetime tenant value, and overall property value.
Speaking of data and the Connected Tenant.... we did some research on this allusive new tenant type. Check out the results of our survey of 300 workers in major US metros and what they are looking for in their office experience.