The rapid transformation of commercial real estate — it’s all about the customer

Why a tenant-centric strategy is critical in this era of change

by Charlie Wade is the UK Managing Director for VTS,

Thanks to the explosion of technology, the commercial real estate industry is changing, fast. Discover why developing a customer-centric approach is one of the most important strategic shifts landlords need to make in order to survive this evolution and emerge successfully.

The rapid transformation of commercial real estate was the key theme at Future: Proptech this year. Every facet of the industry is experiencing change, and at unprecedented speed.

This change has been largely driven by new technologies coming into the industry, combined with the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of tenants. The threat of disruption has not only caused an influx of innovation, but perhaps most importantly, the rethinking of business models — propelled by these tech platforms.

Today’s tenants expect more

This changing landscape is powering the move to a tenant, or more aptly put, customer-centric approach to real estate, a shift that’s already happened in many other industries. Technology is powering every other aspect of tenants’ lives: they use Uber to call a car, AirBnB to rent a holiday home, and Spotify to listen to music on the go.

Thanks to these technologies, tenants have become used to processes and products that are easy to use, frictionless to access, and transparent about how much they cost. This has flowed into what they’re looking for in the commercial built environment – their expectations have changed and landlords need to keep up. The good news? Through the valuable insights gleaned from data and the use of technology, the commercial real estate industry is in a position to provide an enhanced offering that not only draws more tenants in, but retains them for the long term.

The key to success is creating a seamless customer experience, making it as intuitive and transparent as possible, and of course, powering it with effective technology.

The flex space providers are responding

One of the most powerful and impactful examples of this new approach can be seen in the evolution of the flex space providers. The flex space trend has been in direct response to customer demands.

Not only are tenants pushing back against long leases, they’re demanding more collaborative and stylish workspaces, specific information about how much space will cost and what options are available in the market, an easier, friction-free lease signature, as well as a focus on wellbeing, connectivity, and sustainability.

While these demands were initially driven by startups, and of course millennials, they’re now becoming an important part of the real estate strategy for all types and scales of businesses from insurance to finance to accountancy.

These flexspace offices are also increasingly able to prioritise the customer by providing amenities such as town hall or auditorium space, fitness and wellbeing zones, bike stores, and catering facilities for example. It’s owing to the very nature of flex space that they are successful when they respond to what the market wants. If they don’t take a customer-centric approach, tenants will quickly find another provider.

Technology plays a critical role in connecting you with your customers

A whole new wave of technology companies focused on delivering a great customer experience has quickly emerged to meet this need. Importantly, these companies enable landlords to deliver a catered experience not just to the CEOs of the companies in their buildings, but to every person who walks through the front door every day.

From managing tenant relationships across assets, to using tenant data to optimise onsite amenities and space offerings, landlords are exploring new technologies to create delightful experiences in their buildings, and ultimately attract and retain the next generation of tenants.

A customer-centric approach is key to transforming your business

A customer-centric approach is necessary for commercial property owners as they ride the wave of transformation underway in our industry and emerge successfully. At VTS, we take the same approach by putting our customers at the heart of everything we do. Over the past year, with the launch of VTS 3MarketView and now truva, our online marketplace (which will be live in our first market, NYC, in the autumn), you can see the culmination of our hard work and focus on our end users. As our clients change their business models to focus on the customer, we must be able to support that. By providing landlords with a holistic, real-time view of their tenants, assets, and deals, we arm them with clear, actionable insights that enable them to create tenant-centric leasing and asset management strategies.

Want to learn more about how you can use technology to build holistic customer retention strategies at the tenant, asset, and portfolio level? Get your free copy of our eBook, The Landlord’s Guide to Enhancing Tenant Relationships, now.

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