I’m Saul, HqO’s Tenant Experience (TeX) Analyst. I believe in gathering insights into the places where people spend half of their waking hours. In our burgeoning industry, PropTech Data is lacking, but it doesn’t have to be.
Offices are not places that have been extensively analyzed because, though there is value to be gained in actualizing tenants’ ideals of their office life, the technologies, tools, and approaches needed to do so are only now being developed. In order to help tenants on this journey, we have to understand what those ideals are and communicate that to their landlords, our customers. We have to understand what kind of people tenants are, and what kind of people they want to be.
In 2019, tenants in our customers’ buildings signed up for events, booked convenience services, ordered food, checked transportation schedules, and learned about local deals and events. They clicked on thousands of unique pieces of content, utilities, and events. During this time, we learned some encouraging things about our users.
Our Users Are Loyal to Value
In trying to build ongoing engagement with a TeX program, our users have taught us to lead with consistent, valuable programming. Before we learned that, we could only get about 20% of our users to do anything in their building app during any given week.
Investigating why, we found a couple trends. One was that high-performing assets tended to stay high-performing, and the converse was true for our low-performance assets. In other words, past engagement at buildings predicted future engagement. This allowed us to conclude that we were doing something right in planning the programming for the high-performing assets.
Second, we noticed that when we hosted a program that users got excited about, the in-app engagement numbers would not only be high the week we were marketing that content, but also in subsequent weeks. Here’s a graph of weekly active users at an asset (a building one of our clients owns or manages where we’ve launched our app) before and after they hosted a party at the end of January:
After the spike, the numbers tend to be four to five percentage points higher for a sustained period. We noticed the spike was higher, and the boost in business-as-usual use was more sustained when valuable content was hosted in the app multiple weeks in a row.
These two trends made sense together. High-performing assets were hosting engaging content in their building app more frequently, as well as more and more event programming for their residents. Users at these assets expected quality activity more regularly, they responded better to our marketing, they checked the app more often without us prompting them.
Armed with this knowledge, we were able to start digging into the specific experiences for which our users would show the most enthusiasm.
Our Users Are Aspirational
When most of us working at HqO try to explain TeX to those unfamiliar with the field, we are almost always asked, “You mean like the ice cream social my building hosts every July?” True to form, we helped to advertise about a dozen ice cream events this summer to the tenants in our clients’ assets.
However, ice cream socials are not what our users are interested in.
Invariably, the same month we hosted ice cream socials, something else would capture users’ attention more. Given the simple comparison of free smoothies in early July and free ice cream at the end of July, we saw more interest in the healthier program. We saw information about ice cream socials be beaten by an opportunity to fill out a waiver for new on-site fitness opportunities. People seemed more interested in local neighborhood events than ice cream socials. More people RSVP’d to attend a networking event for women in business and more people clicked on local outdoor screenings of classic movies than they did for two ice cream socials.
I don’t want to pick on ice cream socials. They actually were among a couple assets’ top 10 most engaged pieces of content in 2019. However, we noticed that when given the opportunity between a small sugary treat and the ability to grow personally and professionally, our users seemed to prefer the latter … then probably eventually rewarded themselves with a little ice cream afterwards.
Our Users Are Creative
Building off of their aspirations, our users showed enthusiasm for learning and self expression. We served as the platform for signup and planning of nearly 100 educational opportunities including lectures, craft classes, fitness classes, and professional education opportunities.
Users loved these, often signing up for recurring classes up to five weeks in advance. Though these programs are only available in a few of our assets, creative and educational opportunities accounted for about 15% of our most popular content.
As we search for sources of value to suggest to our clients, we feel fortunate that we are always able to point to ready feedback that says we should include more classes and more spaces in which our users feel they can grow.
Our Users Are Energized
Very little is more consistently climactic in our week as watching trivia answers pour in on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Our Tenant Experience team have almost all written an iteration of our weekly trivia, and take pride in bringing out the bottomless positive energy our users have.
Every one of us has gone to events and seen this in person. The same enthusiasm that brings in hundreds of responses within the first few minutes of trivia shines through in smiles and assurances that we help make peoples’ work days better. We deeply appreciate the enthusiasm we see from users and the hundreds of pieces of ready feedback they had for us in 2019. Our users appreciate what we try to do at HqO and whole-heartedly participate in the process through surveys, messages to us, working sessions, and personal interactions.
Our Users Have a Personal Stake in the Places They Work
Maybe the biggest surprise for us this year was the runaway winner for the most consistently popular activity:
We were shocked by how popular they were; we hit our max budget for the giveaway almost every time these little plants were offered. All told, we gave away over a thousand.
Our users repeated the same sentiment at each of these giveaway events: they were overjoyed to have something alive on their desk. Work can be an environment for nurturing, but often it isn’t. Nothing offers a convenient, non-stressful-but-fully-rewarding opportunity for tiny acts of caring like a small desk plant. I have my own succulent on my desk, and whenever I water or care for it, it’s a friendly reminder that my desk is my own space.
Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, work is an emotional home for us. Having a personal touch that reflects that emotional investment acknowledges the humanity of the places we work.
Beyond desk plants, we’ve seen this humanity in the community building efforts of our users. We have helped advertise tenant-organized Pokémon GO! clubs, running clubs, and ping-pong tournaments. At a couple of our buildings, feedback surveys were the most popular pieces of content for a given month. People care deeply about their office and seek to turn it into a home away from home.
What’s Next for PropTech Data Analysis?
Identifying and looking for patterns in how people use our apps is a full-time job. Often, getting the answers is not as difficult as arriving at the right questions. For 2020, I hope to continue to answer the questions: What makes our users good? What makes our users feel human? How can HqO use the tools our users give us to foster their loyalty, aspirations, creativity, energy, and personal investment to make their office a place they love?
We’ve only just scratched the surface.