Do your internal communications consist of missed phone calls and misunderstandings? Are your lease books out of date and gathering dust on a shelf? Has your courier become part of your permanent staff? Is your marketing approach ineffective? If the answer to all of the above is yes, it may be time to put your building online.
The World Wide Web is home to virtually every type of enterprise. But many building owners and managers have lagged behind, preferring to do business instead with paper-based documentation or property management software. Yet it is undeniable that a website for your building can serve as an integrated source for marketing, lease administration, owner communications, and, most importantly, closing deals.
Consider the possibilities. Your site can be a powerful tool that provides real-time property status and availability. Lease books can be replaced with an easy-to-read cyber version that can be updated regularly and posted in password-protected areas that are available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. The same can be done with space plans, project status updates, building standards, rent rolls, exhibits, and any other type of internal communications. You can also use the Web for external communications and to ensure that timely marketing information is readily available to both brokers and prospective tenants. Property brochures can be posted online, and your prospects can take a virtual tour of the building, complete with attention-grabbing digital photos of the interior and exterior of your buildings.
A web presence provides an essential element that no building owner can do without: top-notch customer service. The Internet centralizes services that management teams have always provided. It makes them easy to access and time saving for both existing and prospective tenants. It also eliminates the need to invest - and reinvest - in costly software that inevitably has to be updated.
So, what is the best way to get online? Ideally, your planner of record should set up the site. That's because to be most effective, the same people who are processing and updating your building and architectural information should be serving as your web masters. Not only does this ensure accuracy, it eliminates the middle man so you can say goodbye to your courier and forget about relying on faxed documentation.
What if your planner of record lacks the technological savvy to tackle the task? Ask around and find out what others are doing. But keep in mind that you'll need to find someone with a thorough knowledge of both the real estate industry and technology.
Just a few short years ago, a web presence would have offered only limited advantages. Internet connections were simply not fast enough to allow easy access to reams of information. User friendliness was also a challenge since files were saved in low-quality formats that were slow to download and even harder to read.
Today, Internet connections are fast and getting faster, and Acrobat Readers are standard on most computers, meaning that documents can be downloaded quickly in easy-to-read formats.
The result is that a well-designed website can now quickly deliver the information you want, expedite internal and external communications, and help you efficiently manage your assets and close deals.
Katherine Berg is president and founder of Dallas-based Interprise Inc. (www.interprise-
design.com), the developer of iSpace, a web-based property marketing and management tool designed to put building information online.
Why Isn't Your Building Online?
Here are some advantages to having a presence on the World Wide Web:
- Keep track of property status and availability.
- Instantly view, download, or print critical data.
- Reduce faxing and courier expenses.
- Increase asset value with accurate documentation.
- Provide immediate information to brokers and prospects.
- Offer 24/7 access to anyone with an Internet connection.
- Streamline internal and external communications.