The Evolution of Concierge Services

Prior to starting Eservus, I worked with a property management company that offered portfolio-wide in-lobby concierge services. The tenants LOVED the service – I knew that because part of my job was doing tenant satisfaction surveys! – and what they loved most was discounted ticket services. So when I launched Eservus in 1999, that’s what I wanted to focus on … offering discounted tickets online without the cost of an in-lobby concierge. Even though it was a disruptive idea, fortunately the property managers liked it, they replaced their in-lobby concierges with Eservus, and we were off and running!

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I find it interesting that over the years, some property managers have come full circle and are offering in-lobby concierge services again. Well, not exactly concierge services … now it’s less about offering traditional concierge services (including discounted tickets) and more about engaging tenants in meaningful ways in order to build a sense of community. With discounted tickets being made available through a number of channels, some property managers have the perception (and I emphasize perception, because I don’t necessarily agree 100%) that discounted tickets are becoming a commodity. So that means that Eservus needs to stay ahead of the curve, offering more than discounted tickets to meet the needs of our clients.

That’s the main reason behind our focus on providing a broader range of services to property managers, such as Tenant Engagement Services and our soon-to-launch Tenant Engagement Portal. That’s why we offer in-lobby concierge service to CBRE in Toronto, and Hines in Calgary … a service that we can only expect to grow. It’s all about understanding what the property managers value and giving them what they want.

Speaking of what property managers value, we’ve heard from a number of clients that they’re very interested in providing a mobile app to their tenants, and I’m pleased to announce that we’ve started working on one. We’re in the process of getting proposals from four different tech companies, and we’ll be in a position very soon to make a decision on our tech partner and begin development on an app. Our app will be another tool in our tenant engagement – and property manager retention – toolkit.

So as the needs of property managers has evolved, so has Eservus and the services we provide. I’m interested in hearing your observations on the evolution of concierge services, so please post them in the comments section.

Kirk Layton is the president and founder of Eservus, an online corporate concierge company servicing over 30 property management clients in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Boston and Houston.

Four Benefits of Digital Lobby Displays

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Back in the good ol’ days when I worked in property management, digital lobby displays didn’t exist … I think we chiseled tenant updates onto stone tablets back then! It’s amazing to think of the advancements in digital communications over the past decade or so, and how those advancements have enabled property managers to be more engaging and creative with their lobby displays. Eservus has recently partnered with a leading Canadian manufacturer of digital directory boards to explore the possibilities of digital lobby displays as yet another way for property managers to engage their tenants, and we’re looking forward to working with our clients to get the most out of the technology.

Here now are four benefits of using digital displays in your buildings lobbies:

1. Long-Term Cost Savings: Sure, digital displays have an up-front cost … a decent unit can easily cost a few thousand dollars. But how much are you currently spending on traditional print signage in your lobbies, not to mention those (sometimes) expensive sign holders? Do the math and you’ll likely find that digital displays are a cost-effective option over the long term.

2. Tenant Engagement Opportunities: Property managers have only scratched the sleek glossy surface of the potential of digital displays in their lobbies. Imagine using digital displays to get tenants to “check in” during an evacuation drill for a chance to win a prize. Or what about sharing discount codes on your display to promote and drive traffic to your retailers? If any of you are using your digital lobby displays in unique and creative ways, leave a reply below … I’d love to hear about it!

3. Integration with Social Media: More and more property managers are taking advantage of social media, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, to communicate the details of new projects, community involvement, job postings … you name it! So why not feature your Twitter feed or LinkedIn posts on your digital lobby displays? Using integration tools like Sprinklr, TINT and Screenfeed, your displays can be seamlessly integrated with your social media content, allowing both to serve double-duty and further engage your tenants.

4. Additional Revenue Generation: As most property managers know, there are a ton of companies that are willing to pay to get in front of tenants in office buildings … a 30-second ride in an elevator equipped with a Captivate screen will give you a ready-made list! Digital lobby displays represent another channel for advertisers to target office tenants, which represents a potential income stream for property managers. Done right, display ads can be fun, engaging and will actually reinforce a property manager’s tenant engagement strategy.

As mentioned, Eservus is exploring the possibilities of offering our property manager clients’ digital lobby display services, from sourcing the hardware to managing the software, messaging and advertising. Stay tuned for further updates in the Tenant Service in Action blog.

Kirk Layton is the president of Eservus, an online corporate concierge company servicing over 30 property management companies in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Boston.