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Discover emerging trends and more in our 2021 industry outlook.
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A Guide to Commercial Real Estate Data

Commercial real estate data points to several new emerging trends that have painted a technology-driven forecast for the next several years. With a complete digital revolution underway, the office sector can expect an increase in the need for technology partnerships to successfully enhance communications with their end-users and create technology-driven experiences. This is further supported by recent data that suggests that on average, 58% of REIT respondents have increased their intent to partner with proptech companies to fulfill this very need. As the industry continues to become more digitized, commercial property data will follow suit and reflect more modern, tech-savvy office experiences.

Looking Back at the Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2020

The projected commercial real estate market trends in 2020 were much different than reality.  In The State of Tenant Experience in 2020 — HqO’s industry outlook for last year — we defined the tenant experience technologies that were just beginning to invade the market, alongside the core pillars of tenant experience that categorize what customers really care about. We also sought to prove why it was important for property teams to think of their building roadmap, and to prove the return on investment (ROI) for these new building innovations for any portfolio.

HqO’s previous report also touched upon how these technologies prompted a massive shift in the entire industry. Before the onset of the COVID-19 virus, the commercial real estate market was experiencing exponential growth and stability. Based on Deloitte’s 2019 Global Survey and Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2020, market fundamentals had boasted steady and significant increases across the board in the United States. Additionally, nearly three-fourths of the top CRE C-suite executives anticipated an increase in capital availability in 2020.

However, as the spread of COVID-19 reached global pandemic status, financial markets began to drastically decline. Developers, property owners, brokers, and tenants were all consequently forced to seek alternative solutions to not only stay afloat but to stay connected.

Without a clear direction, the commercial real estate market faced confusion. In May 2020, Facebook made initial decisions to go fully remote, only to backtrack in more recent months by signing a large lease with Vornado Realty Trust for office space in one of the country’s most desirable locations. Other major companies also adopted partial or indefinite remote work models early on, and currently are seeking ways to determine a return on investment (ROI) for physical office space. 

Until now, the industry has always relied on the mere assumption that you need an office building in order to do work. Now we’ve learned that people can to some extent work anywhere, requiring new tactics to keep them informed, engaged, and productive. With so many digital alternatives forced upon the commercial real estate industry in 2020, commercial real estate data analytics and trends have since completely transformed to keep up with its modernization.

The State of Tenant Experience in 2021: HqO’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2021

Deloitte’s commercial real estate market predictions for the year 2021 indicate that digital transformation and tenant experience are now a business imperative for owners and property teams. Their new commercial real estate market statistics reveal that most respondents (56%) believe the pandemic has uncovered shortcomings in their company’s digital capabilities. Therefore, companies are planning to ramp up their digital transformation initiatives, with 53% of respondents including digital tenant experience as a core competency in these efforts. 

The survey also suggests that “companies should increase investment in technologies that can serve as building blocks of their digital transformation efforts […] About one-half (48%) of respondents who said their company is using digital technologies, such as interactive mobile apps, to increase communication with tenants or end-users, plan to increase investment on digital channels over the next year.”

In our updated industry report, The State of Tenant Experience in 2021, we dive deeper into the new trends and happenings we expect for the new year, while also discussing how adopting a data-driven approach alongside end-to-end workplace solutions will guarantee success through the use of predictive analytics in real estate and access to granular knowledge on the end-user. Also in our commercial real estate outlook 2021 is a comprehensive description of the tenant experience and analytics tools property leaders and teams need to transform their portfolios.

These tools will contribute to several major emerging themes that came up with subject matter experts and nearly 300 HqO tenants for the future of commercial real estate in the United States and beyond. We foresee three major trends generating value for a tenant population that has already adjusted to more tech-enabled and diversified workplace experiences:

  1. Streamlining Communications: Tenants and their employees placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of communication for their return to office strategies, as well as the need for more content within their tenant engagement apps that support this. According to our tenant survey, direct landlord-tenant informative pieces of content — such as spotlight sections highlighting building protocols and local updates — stood out as being the most useful “feature” of our Tenant Experience Platform. Additionally, JLL reports that COVID-19 has driven employees to rethink their priorities in terms of quality of life, human interaction, and personal values. Companies that strengthen connections and provide communications to establish a clear purpose for the workplace will be well-positioned to retain and attract talent.
  1. More Touchless Experiences: Last year, we predicted the rise of IoT and touchless technologies for the office. This year, we can verify that tenants are still looking for these capabilities due to new health and safety protocols. These concerns are directly tied to a fear of the unknown: people are still questioning their comfort and safety in the aftermath of a pandemic. A large part of the solution for this issue is adapting your portfolio to accommodate additional, tech-enabled features that will allow them to steer clear of congested areas and communal surfaces, while also creating frictionless experiences that make the workplace easy and enjoyable.

  2. Flex Space and a Campus Feel: According to data collected by the CBRE Research Client Survey in June of 2020, 70% of respondents claimed that more flexible work is expected. This has led tenant companies to explore new, creative office space models that afford employees the ability to choose where and when they work based on personal preferences. This topic of conversation has also come up with HqO customers, who are looking for more ways to offer flexibility to tenants while also establishing a campus-like feel through offering shared amenities and office space across their assets.

Finding the Right Real Estate Data Providers

In order to stay on top of the latest commercial real estate data, owners and property teams need to know their options in terms of commercial real estate data providers. Below is a quick list, in no particular order, of companies and organizations that serve as reliable commercial real estate data sources:

  • LoopNet: LoopNet is the most heavily trafficked online commercial real estate marketplace. LoopNet offers detailed information about for-lease and for-sale commercial property listings, as well as businesses-for-sale listings in the United States and Canada. Check out HqO’s feature in one of their recent articles, entitled Proptech Aims to Help Manage Commercial Real Estate in Pandemic Era.
  • CoStar Group: CoStar Group is a provider of information, analytics, and marketing services to the commercial property industry in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain.
  • Kaggle: Kaggle is a subsidiary of Google LLC, and is an online community of data scientists and machine learning practitioners. Real estate data is just a fraction of the data sets they can provide.
  • Reonomy: Reonomy leverages big data, partnerships, and machine learning to connect the fragmented, disparate world of commercial real estate. By providing unparalleled access to property intelligence, Reonomy products empower individuals, teams, and companies to unlock insights and discover new opportunities.
  • CompStak: CompStak is the leading crowdsourced commercial real estate data platform. They handle millions of data points each week to create a comprehensive, robust CRE data set.

A CRE Operating System: Redefining the Commercial Real Estate Data Model

Though it’s possible to access third-party commercial real estate tools and resources to gain important property management insights and building data, we know it’s not always the more effective solution. Instead, placing commercial real estate market data directly into the hands of owners and property teams can streamline processes and create efficiencies in a given portfolio. Just imagine: You can have your very own commercial property owners database or commercial tenant database, without needing to outsource any information or process.

At HqO, we understand that digital transformation is fairly new to CRE, and that finding meaningful metrics about your building can be few and far between — and even more difficult to organize. Luckily, the HqOS™ end-to-end operating system provides CRE owners with a leap in the right direction. The three layers of HqOS — which include our Marketplace, Tenant Experience Platform, and the Digital Grid™ — work seamlessly together to produce compounding positive results for any portfolio. 

Our growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners — which can be accessed through the Tenant Experience Platform — enables landlords to activate more of their building features, while simultaneously providing tenants with a better experience and property managers with a higher volume of rich data. The Digital Grid then takes these activations a step further, serving as a connected and streamlined analytics offering that can collect tenant behavior, amenities, technologies, and building data all in a single location. By centralizing and structuring data within our CRE-specific data model, it helps owners and operators uncover insights, take action to differentiate their assets, and make intelligent decisions across their portfolio. It can also help benchmark your building’s performance against others to accelerate best-in-class experiences for any tenant.

Data and Technology’s Impact on Commercial Property Value

Once you begin to collect important commercial property information for your assets, you will be able to create the experiences that your tenants are asking for. This, in turn, elevates your commercial property value and can even be used as a differentiator when you place your commercial property for sale. At HqO, we’ve experienced this first-hand with several of our customers. Below is just one example of exceptional customer success: 

Back in 2018, Jamestown became HqO’s first CRE customer. Before this partnership, Jamestown invested heavily in amenities throughout their office portfolio to attract and retain highly-sought-after tenants. These investments included on-site retail, a fitness center, shuttles, and community events. However, Jamestown knew that they needed more than just amenities — they needed a way to track which ones were popular, to effectively communicate offerings to their tenants, and to incentivize and promote local retail to the tenant population. Ultimately, they wanted to create an office experience that extended beyond the four walls of their buildings; one that seamlessly incorporated digital experiences, easy commutes, and on-site activations. Thus, they leveraged HqO to transition their role as a landlord to a “creative partner.”

Now, Jamestown’s engagement has shifted from dealing with tenant intermediaries to direct interactions with the entire office community. Some significant improvements achieved through their new data-driven approach include:

  • Pre-pandemic, Jamestown identified a major need for commuting frustrations among its tenant base in its initial launch building. Therefore, they created a shuttle-specific feature within the app which was a tenant success — it garnered 54% of active monthly users after implementation.
  • Tenant surveys sent via the mobile app support Jamestown’s understanding of employee attitudes and needs by reaching thousands of users covering a variety of topics. This feedback has since helped implement current-day safe commute programs; direct communications on health and safety initiatives; virtual programming initiatives in the areas of health, wellness, and social responsibility; and more.
  • Jamestown has launched mobile food ordering through on-site vendors, providing additional revenue for ground-floor local businesses and convenience for tenants.

Currently, Jamestown is continuing to leverage their data-driven approach to critically re-assess the future of the office, and to design relevant experiences in a more nimble fashion than would be possible alone.

Such stories are proof that both small and big data in commercial real estate can have a huge impact on property value by enhancing the tenant experience. Such commercial real estate insights will create a competitive advantage for property teams, as well as bring office buildings up-to-speed with a modern world. For more information on the Digital Grid’s data capabilities and the HqOS end-to-end operating system, schedule a free demo today.

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