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.

Eservus Introduces Tenant Engagement Services

slot_machine_1Back when I was a property manager, I used to love organizing events and activities that involved my tenants. Things like contests, lobby events, tenant giveaways, and even tenant surveys are great ways for property managers to engage their tenants and create a fun distraction from the day-to-day routine at the office. But there’s more than just fun and games behind what I call tenant engagement services … building relationships with your tenants year-round pays dividends when it comes time to renew the lease: Rather than it being a pure financial decision, tenants will also take into consideration the social element of their relationship with the property manager. From a behavioural economics perspective, it’s about shifting the tenants’ perspective of the renewal from market norms to social norms, which can be much more persuasive. (For more detail on social vs. market norms, check out this blog post.)

I know what the property managers out there are thinking: Who has time to organize tenant events? Today’s property managers have so much more on their plates – from environmental initiatives to regulatory issues – that it’s tougher than ever to find time to engage your tenants. That’s why Eservus recently launched Tenant Engagement Services (TES). In addition to offering our core concierge services, we can now serve as the property managers’ partner in tenant engagement, helping them to organize events, source suppliers and engage face-to-face with their tenants. Eservus even offers assistance with tenant surveys and BOMA Award applications, which many property managers agree are important but they just don’t have the time to make them happen.

Eservus’s new Manager of Tenant Engagement, Kristin Mackey-Bernatt, is responsible for overseeing our Tenant Engagement Services; the role was specifically created with an eye to helping property managers engage their tenants and strengthen the landlord/tenant relationship year-round.  Eservus wants to continue to add value to our core online concierge service offering, and through Tenant Engagement Services we feel that we have a winning formula to help property managers build stronger relationships with their tenants.

What are you doing to engage your tenants? Please leave a reply!

Three Tips for Creating Engaging Lobby Events

At the end of January, Eservus will be announcing a promotional partnership with a well-known Toronto company (hint: they’re in the transportation business). We’ll be promoting our partnership with this company through a number of channels, including special events in the lobbies of some of our property manager clients’ buildings. Lobby events create a unique opportunity to interact with tenants in a much more personal way than, say, a building newsletter or tweet, and it’s that face-to-face aspect of lobby events that makes them an indispensable part of a property manager’s tenant engagement strategy.

Eservus has been doing lobby events in cooperation with our property manager clients ever since we launched in November 1999. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about what makes for successful events … and by successful, of course I mean engaging. You only have a few seconds to grab people’s attention in the building lobby … after all, tenants in the lobby are always on their way to somewhere else – to work, to lunch or to a meeting – which makes it difficult to capture their attention. So how do you increase your chances of engaging your tenants as they stride through the lobby to somewhere else? Here are a few lessons that we’ve learned over the 17-plus years of doing lobby events:

Create a Visual Focal Point

Make sure you have a lobby display that’s big enough to grab people’s attention. There’s little use in simply positioning someone at the building entrance to hand out postcards – people will just walk by. Eservus uses a professionally designed 10’x10’ display and ancillary signage with two or three people to create a presence in the lobby that’s hard to miss. We work with our property manager clients to set up in a high-visibility, high-traffic location to maximize opportunities to interact with the tenants.

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Attract and Maintain a Crowd

We’ve all done it … you see a crowd of people and you want to know what’s attracting their attention, so you wander over. If you attract even a small crowd to your lobby event, you’ll observe first-hand the behavioural-economics principle known as social proof: People will be drawn to do what they see their peers doing. One way to attract visitors is to feed them: Eservus usually has cookies on hand to entice tenants to visit us in the lobby. But cookies are a short-term draw … people can just grab a cookie and walk away. What you want to do at this point is engage the tenants with something that’s fun and interactive, like a game, that gives you a chance to talk to them about why you’re there. Eservus has used iPad apps where the tenants have to enter a code to crack a virtual safe, or find the Eservus logo behind one of three doors à la Let’s Make a Deal. People don’t mind waiting a minute or two to play a game that they see as fun, helping to build the crowd and attract even more attention to your event.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

It doesn’t matter how big or small they are … tenants love prizes. Make sure your engaging game has some sort of prize attached to it, be it a random draw that tenants are entered into or an instant-win prize that they get on the spot. This adds to the element of fun and engagement that you’re trying to create, and the excitement shown by some of the prize winners draws an even bigger crowd!

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Eservus plans to use even bigger and better engagement tools in future lobby events, including interactive games on large touch-screen monitors to make playing the game more of a group experience. So if you see a crowd in a Toronto building lobby later this year, wander over (you know you’ll want to) … it might be Eservus’s new promo partner!

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

The Third Space Provides Tenants a Connection Between Work and Home

In a recent article on The Boston Business Journal’s website, there were details of Oxford Properties’ recent redevelopment of the building lobby at 125 Summer Street in Boston. By the looks of things the project was a MASSIVE undertaking … the $10 million redevelopment completely repositioned the building’s lobby and entrance, providing a more welcoming entry to the building and connecting the building’s interior with its vibrant surroundings. In the article, the head of Oxford’s Boston office, Chad Remis, explained that Oxford is “taking more of a hospitality approach to the lobby, in the sense that we want it to be a third space. We want our tenant base to feel comfortable and to want to use it, want to interact in it, and want to have meetings in it.”

Chad’s reference to “the third space” (also known as “the third place”) refers to a term first coined by Harvard academic Homi K. Bhabha to describe the area that develops when two or more people or cultures interact. (Don’t worry … this is the only time I will use the word “academic”!) Third spaces are outside of your home (the first space) and your work (the second space) … they’re a bridge or conduit between work and home where people engage with others in a dynamic and interactive way. The lobby redevelopment at 125 Summer Street appears to be Oxford’s attempt – seemingly successful! – to provide the tenants and visitors of the building with a third space in which to engage each other in the building lobby in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t. Sounds like a great arrangement for everyone!

We can expect to see more “third space” environments pop up in office buildings as more property managers look for ways to engage their tenants outside of the traditional tenant spaces. While some might describe the local Starbucks – with everyone tapping away on their devices while sipping a latte – as an example of a functional third space, it has its limitations (not the least of which are the massive lineups.) “We’re seeing that all this mobility is hitting a wall and that people will want to return to the office as firms get smarter and have amenities that coffee shops don’t have,” explains  Cherie Johnson, Director of Global Design at Steelcase, in an article in Steelcase’s online 360 magazine. “Creating a highly effective corporate third place involves more than access to good coffee and Wi-Fi—it’s about integrating work and life. It’s about creating an environment that supports the well-being of people physically, cognitively and emotionally.”

The message for property managers is that they can help their tenants integrate work and life, and support their well-being, by following Oxford’s lead to develop third spaces in their buildings. I’m interested in hearing your take on the concept of the third space and its impact on tenant interactions, so please post your comments!

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

Team Spirit Contest Engages Tenants

One of the things that Eservus tries to do as much as possible is engage the tenants in the buildings we serve. We think of ourselves as our property manager clients’ partner in tenant engagement; we have opportunities every day to connect with tenants and provide them with an engaging experience. And one of the most effective techniques to engage tenants is with contests.

Tenants LOVE contests, and they can be a very cost-effective way to interact with tenants and create a bit of fun and excitement in the building. Eservus recently organized a very successful contest called the Eservus Team Spirit Luxury Suite Giveaway. The Toronto Blue Jays were finishing off their regular season and we took advantage of the excitement surrounding the Jays with a contest that asked tenants to submit a video showing their team spirit. We received two dozen videos, many of which were of impressively high production value. The company whose video was deemed to show the most creativity, originality and team spirit was awarded a luxury suite for 16 to watch the Blue Jays take on the Yankees at the end of the regular season.

The contest was a success for several reasons. First, we capitalized on the excitement and enthusiasm already surrounding the Jays. Second, it was a really cool prize! (That said, you don’t have to pony up an expensive prize to engage tenants … when I worked at Cadillac Fairview, we had a contest where the prize was a jar of jelly beans, and we had hundreds of entries.) Third, we posted the videos on our YouTube channel while the contest was still running to create even more engagement (at last count, there were 4,300 views). Finally, after the contest was over, we shared each tenant’s videos with the property manager of the tenant’s building. The property managers were impressed to see how involved their tenants were in the contest. I also think they were impressed by how Eservus created such a high level of tenant engagement!

Check out the winning video by clicking here. And think of ways you can engage tenants through contests. If you’re an Eservus client, we’d love to help you with that!

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

Behavioural Economics: A Little Nudge Can Go a Long Way

A few months ago I came across this article in the Globe and Mail on behavioural economics. Now before you nod off, it’s more interesting than it sounds! Behavioural economics (BE) combines psychology and economics to show how people make decisions in real life. By using BE, companies can influence the way people make decisions and increase the likelihood of purchase.

Companies should keep BE in mind as they craft their e-mails and website content. As the article mentions, “marketers are using BE to examine how customers select products, how they consume them, and what features, prices and designs could be improved to enhance the way consumers make choices.” It’s all about “nudges” … subtle cues that coax people to, among other things, make purchase decisions that work in the retailer’s favour.

One simple example of BE: Since people tend to “follow the herd,” companies label products as “Most Popular” or “Top Seller” to nudge people to jump on the bandwagon and make a purchase. (This is an example of social proof, a popular element of BE.) In addition to trying some of the tactics in the article, companies should give some thought to what offers they can label as “most popular” or “top sellers” and put behavioural economics to the test!

The impact of BE is profound: According to the Globe article, “firms employing BE principles have outperformed their peers by 85 per cent in sales growth and by more than 25 per cent in gross profitability.” Clearly a little nudging can go a long way!

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Three Easy Ways to Help Your Tenants Succeed

A good property manager is readily available and responsive to tenant issues. A great one surpasses tenant expectations by being proactive and taking tenant goals and objectives into consideration. And the good news is, you don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out how to help your tenants succeed. Here are three easy ways to help your tenants succeed:

Feature building retailers in tenant newsletters

If you publish a tenant newsletter, write a short profile of a retailer or service provider in the building. You’ll bring them to the attention of your tenants, reminding them of the key services and amenities your building offers. At the same time, you’ll hopefully give your building retailer a boost in business.

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Support your tenants’ charitable causes

Recognizing your tenants’ charitable causes is a simple way to align with their goals and help them succeed. At your next building event, invite an anchor tenant to promote their charitable cause, either with signage, a booth or donation box. Another option is allowing a tenant to use communal space, such as the building lobby, for their fundraising. For example, you could invite a tenant raising money for a charity through the sale of art to display artwork for purchase in the lobby.

Promote building retailers in tenant welcome kits and manuals

When new tenants move into the building, provide them with a list of building retailers and services in a welcome kit. Ideally, the retailers and service providers – and nearby restaurants too – will provide coupons or discount codes for new tenants. If you’re planning to update your tenant manual, include a list of retailers within the building to raise tenant awareness.    

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