I was at a BOMA International conference at the beginning of February in Washington DC and I participated in a round-table discussion with a number of senior property managers about the latest trends in commercial real estate. As you can imagine, there was a lengthy discussion on a wide variety of topics, including security issues (this was the U.S. after all!), technology, maintenance and other more mundane topics that all PMs need to think about. But by far the most spirited – and for me, most interesting – part of the conversation centred on the PMs’ attempts to engage their tenants in meaningful ways. While some of the PMs seemed to have elements of what could be called tenant engagement strategies, most didn’t really know what to do to engage their tenants (especially the millennials) and were asking for ideas. I see that as a huge opportunity for corporate concierge companies like Eservus.
Corporate concierge services do a great job engaging tenants. Whenever tenants interact with Eservus, whether it’s a member reading an e-mail, browsing through our website or talking to a concierge on the phone, we are engaging the tenants on behalf of the property managers. And as more and more property managers look for meaningful ways to engage their tenants, concierge services can make an even more valuable contribution, especially if we leverage technology.
Website designers talk about creating websites that are “sticky” – that engage browsers, maintain their interest, keep them on the site and increase the chances of making a sale. I think a trend for property managers in the near future is going to be to do whatever they can to make their buildings “sticky” – to engage their tenants in meaningful ways so that they renew their leases. A lot of what tenants will be engaged with will be driven by technology, and I think concierge services like Eservus can have a hand in that. For example, the property manager can put in a running track around a suburban property as a tenant service, but to engage the tenants, wouldn’t it be cool to have an app that allows tenants to sign up for a running group? That’s something that concierge services can are poised to have a hand in, because we’re engaging with the tenants already.
So concierge services should be thought of as an integral part of property managers’ tenant engagement strategy … whether they have one or not! And proactive concierge service providers should work on developing strategies to provide property managers with tools to help them engage their tenants. Here’s to sticky buildings!
Kirk Layton is the president of Eservus, an online corporate concierge company servicing over 30 property management companies in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Boston.