In today’s highly competitive marketplace, acquiring and retaining commercial tenants is less about the building and more about its occupants. A dramatic shift has taken place, making building owners who were once selling physical assets into service providers who now need to find ways to create and sell an “experience”, not just a tangible asset.
So how can building owners increase their chances of retaining tenants? Here are four ways.
1. Ubiquitous connectivity
A lack of ubiquitous connectivity that enables building occupants to connect digitally using any device, in any location is the number one pain point expressed by occupants. Digital connectivity, commonly referred to as the fourth utility, is an essential component of the tenant experience. As more companies adopt cloud-based services and building occupants become untethered, landlords must provide robust cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity if they expect to attract quality tenants to their properties.
2. Align amenities with your tenants
Time after time, tenants choose buildings with amenities such as modern lobby areas, gyms, expansive indoor/ outdoor work areas and onsite services like dry cleaning. Amenities which were once considered “luxury” standards are becoming commonplace, as more Millennials are willing to pay higher rents to have easy access to a “lifestyle.” However, determining which amenities to add to win the amenities arms race will depend highly on the tenant base. While some building occupants may prefer one-on-one concierge services, others may desire a more casual and less intrusive approach.
3. Building owners increase focus on occupant comfort
As enterprise tenants increase focus on employee and workplace satisfaction, which plays a significant factor in attracting and retaining their employees, workplace comfort continues to become their utmost priority. The second most common complaint among employees and building occupants after digital connectivity is temperature control. Today, a large number of building owners are using IoT sensors to enable occupants to set temperature controls, improve air quality and offer green spaces in both residential and commercial buildings. Common areas, lobbies and workspaces being designed to promote collaboration and comfort.
4. Reduce friction in your user’s journey
Today, the most successful tenant experiences have emerged from focusing on reducing friction in the user’s journey. Gartner predicts that with ongoing competition there will be more rapid change and innovation in the “user experience” in the next five years than in the previous 25 years.
Mastering the art of reducing friction through a combination of smart building design and engineering creates a significant competitive advantage, especially when it comes to attracting high-paying tenants. Eliminating pain points or lows in the tenant’s journey originates with streamlining the leasing and move-in process and extends through the duration of their stay. Tenants today want access and convenience, and they want it fast.
Building owners who effectively use technology to create these frictionless experiences are dominating the tenant marketplace. Reducing friction can include simple changes such as eliminating turnstiles, long lines and even expediting elevator service time to streamlining the initial leasing documentation and move-in process.
5. Create belonging through community
The last, but perhaps most significant, factor in retaining tenants is creating a sense of community among a diverse group of tenants. While technology can certainly provide an edge, forming a strong sense of community is the best means of retaining tenants.
Today, more building owners are creating tenant-based communities by adding new roles to their assigning community or property managers or hiring a tenant engagement managers. In addition to facilitating tenant-to-management relations, the core role of a tenant engagement manager is to curate customized tenant experiences through events and programming focused community needs and interests such as book and travel clubs, tastings, and speakers on topics relevant to the tenant base.
Take a good look at these five elements in your commercial office building to assess where you can improve services to your tenant base. It’s likely that you will find improving in any one of these areas will help to attract and retain tenants in your commercial office building.