Tenant Experience

What is Tenant Experience?

Tenant experience relates to the experience of a tenant or user of a building, particularly in commercial real estate. The overall experience covers a wide number of things, from the amenities in the building to the community and wellbeing.

Today, the expectations of the modern tenant and trends in commercial real estate are driving an improved attitude towards tenant experience. The way people work, live and play is changing. Landlords have understood this and are adapting their offerings to reflect it.

The rise in flexible workspaces has grown significantly over the past few years, with the global market value of flexible workspace estimated at $26 billion. Now most companies are splitting their fixed lease liabilities into flexible arrangements to support their long term leases and reflect the changing nature of business. It also means that tenants are increasing their standards and can more easily than ever before move offices if they are no longer content with the service they are providing. Especially as new full service, community-focused campus and office towers are being developed to match the modern workforce expectations. Older buildings need to be updated and new buildings are setting the standard of smart building tech combined with community and wellbeing.

In a market report on the future of flexible work, Tim Rodber, CEO of The Instant Group, said: “People desire far more flexibility and choice nowadays over how and where they work.” So, in today’s competitive market, those in commercial real estate need to step up to attract and retain tenants.

What is the building layout like and how easy is it for tenants to navigate around the building? Is there an on-site gym and interesting events? Are they able to order lunch straight to their desk? Is there an ongoing office debate about the air-conditioning? Is it a nightmare trying to access the building out-of-hours? The answers to these types of questions will determine the experience the tenant has within the property. The leading players in the industry are now coming up with smart solutions to provide the very best experience for their building users in today’s competitive market.

Occupant Experience:Areas to consider

Amenities

The type of amenities your building offers will have a huge impact on the overall tenant experience and satisfaction. Consideration into the needs of your tenants such as kitchen facilities, car parking, and disabled access, plus any add-ons that provide a premium touch such as an on-site gym, restaurant, shop or rooftop garden will have a huge impact on the decision-making process for tenants. Don’t forget to consider digital amenities such as an online concierge service, WiFi or a workplace experience app, these are just as important.

Getting your amenities and features right will give you a competitive advantage. Happier tenants will stay for longer, and are more likely to pay a premium for a building that includes amenities they require, or that will make their lives easier. Reducing tenant churn and increasing occupancy rates will ultimately lead to a higher asset sale potential, let alone the cost-savings realised.

A young woman running on a treadmill in the gym of her new apartment - a positive tenant experience created by District.

Community engagement

Creating a sense of community and culture within your building or corporate company is key to tenant experience. A report by Deloitte discovered that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

Consider utilising a breakout area for weekly events, such as talks by interesting guest speakers, or wellness events such as yoga or tai chi. You could also hold regular networking events to connect tenants. It could even be open to the public, so potential future tenants can enjoy the space and get a taste for the sense of community within the building. You could provide this space for free to attract better tenants willing to pay more per sqft or you could even consider monetising it through a smart community app.

Traditional real estate providers are now offering flexible spaces and shared services alongside their traditional long lease terms to tap into new revenue opportunities. Providers can attract new tenants that require flexible terms such as freelancers and small businesses. through better amenities and services, that can even be connected through a tenant experience app that allows users to book events, spaces and even connect with other users, a premium price can be applied.

Smart technology in buildings

The rise of smart technology in buildings has upped the game in tenant experience, with solutions such as smart lighting control, occupancy sensors and building operations such as HVAC and security can now be automated and controlled digitally. Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems can also be controlled through smart building tech, creating optimal air quality and reducing inefficient and outdated processes. Tenants could even be able to access the building using their smartphone by connecting building access control to a dedicated building app.

Building emissions from gas, electric, water, waste can all be tracked and reduced through smart building solutions. Bearing in mind that buildings account for 40% of all energy consumption and 70% of all electricity consumption, there’s a huge opportunity for not only significant cost-savings, but for the impact on the environment if adopted on a mass scale. 42% of tenants consider the environmental impact of a building important when making a rental decision, so it’s fundamental to consider your building’s consumption to attract and retain new tenants.

Tenant experience app

Many commercial real estate firms are now looking to a digital layer for their buildings in the form of a tenant experience app to improve the overall user experience for their tenants. The app can pull together all of the above elements of tenant experience in this review allowing for a seamless and modern experience for users. Users can access the building through the app, locate and utilise amenities in the building such as book a meeting room, and you can build on the sense of community in the app through having bookable events and a social platform where tenants can connect.

Large corporations are also looking towards this type of software to engage and retain employees through corporate wellness apps.

As well as the obvious benefits that the technology offers to the tenant experience, an app will usually have an analytics section, with a wealth of data that can be tapped into. Tracking user activity through data insights, and access to data which will allow you to make quicker and smarter decisions based on facts rather than hunches. The large function room is only being booked 5% of the time? Consider making use of the unused space. The weekly yoga class is always full? Have a more frequent schedule.

District Tech is a leading provider in tenant experience software, offering both plug & play and completely white-labelled apps, providing a frictionless experience for tenants in leading commercial real estate buildings and corporations. Companies including Blackstone, LaSalle and JP Morgan Assets have partnered with District Tech in their efforts to provide what modern tenants desire.

Trends in tenant experience

With tenant retention being key to commercial building profitability, it’s no surprise that property teams in commercial real estate are spending as much as half of their time focused on improving tenant experience, according to Propmodo.

With today’s modern tenant having higher expectations than ever before, and fewer ties than ever before with the rise of flexible space, the competition is truly on for commercial real estate providers and corporate companies when it comes to attracting and retaining great tenants and talented employees.

Smart buildings the new norm

It’s no surprise that leading providers are now incorporating technology through the use of smart building technology and tenant experience software to ensure they can offer a premium experience and utilise their building more efficiently.

Smart building trends will continue to see a rise in the use of technology balanced with a thoughtful offline experience. Smart buildings will become the new norm, much like smartphones are smart TVs already are today. As digital natives become an increasing percentage of the workforce, smartphone-enabled features and amenities will become an intrinsic part of smart building infrastructure.

Buildings will be intuitive, such as lifts predicting the floor it’s needed to be on based on past behaviours, and energy management that adapts to the occupancy of the building. In an article by Raconteur, WeWork’s Andy Heath discusses data optimised workplaces: “Offices will become far more customisable based on people’s data,” he says. “An office will track my location and adjust preferences to suit me. After lunch, the temperature where I am sat might drop by a degree and the blinds may go up slightly to wake me up, creating my optimum work environment.”

Co-working experience

Today, you’ll struggle to hear the words ‘commercial real estate’ without hearing ‘coworking’. In the last few years, coworking and the rise of flexible space have redefined commercial real estate.

The number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach 25,968 by 2022 – that’s a 42% increase from 2019 alone. 96% of private sector companies in the UK are micro-businesses (have less than 10 employees). So it should come as no surprise that coworking continues to rise in popularity. But, coworking is no longer dominated by freelancers and startups. IBM, Amazon and Facebook are some of the large corporations with offices in flexible spaces such as WeWork.

The rise in co-working is testament to the importance of community in the workplace. Many people are turning to co-working facilities not only for flexibility but for the ability to collaborate with others. Plus, co-working operators like WeWork will typically make use of coworking software platforms, allowing users to book events, spaces and even connect with other users through an app.

Co-living experience

Another trend that’s emerged in tenant experience is co-living. Similar to co-working, co-living aims to connect people through shared amenities and shared spaces whilst offering the flexibility that traditional rented properties don’t.

You’ll find co-living locations in many cosmopolitan cities, The Collective has locations in London and New York, WeLive has locations in New York and Washington DC, and Quarters launched their first location in Berlin but can now be found in over 40 cities worldwide.

With more than half of the world’s population living in cities today and a projected two-thirds of the population by 2050, co-living will continue to grow and be a popular option for modern tenants and evolving consumer demands.

To find out more about how you can modernise your tenant experience click here.