The world keeps changing, and the commercial real estate (CRE) industry has been forced to adapt several times in a short period of time. Just when you think you’ve got one thing figured out, something else changes. Now, commercial property teams are discovering they need to compete in new ways.
Fortunately, this year’s BOMA International Conference & Expo provided great insight into where the CRE industry is heading and how leaders can prepare. Read on for a roundup of the top expert insights we learned during the event.
1. Focus on Tenant Experience to Fill Vacancies
In the post-pandemic world, CRE owners and operators have had to maintain comfortable and efficient buildings for their tenants. However, what if tenants are not returning to buildings at all? We’ve seen many companies leaving buildings unoccupied since the pandemic.
There are several ways property teams can drive occupancy. And it’s all about making CRE buildings a destination for tenants.
First, communications start internally with property teams. Consider setting up weekly meetings to discuss what’s going on in buildings and establish a more cohesive property team. From there, management can create better relationships externally with tenants. Instances of positive communication between management and tenants include documenting preventative maintenance to reassure tenants that buildings are being taken care of.
Changing COVID regulations, increased financial hardship, and tenant fluctuation have strained tenant relationships. Offering creative incentives to tenants can help improve these relationships, includingincreasing security, and offering trash pickup and landscaping services.
2. It’s Not Time to Play it Safe
To compete today, CRE leaders need creative solutions that help their properties and brand stand out. Bill Taylor, cofounder and editor of Fast Company, said, “The goal is not to be the best at what a lot of others already do. It is to be the only one who does what you do.” Playing it safe is risky.
There are three driving elements that will ensure your company is future-proof:
- Offer something that is hard to come by
- Make a commitment to the unprecedented
- Be intensely human
While pursuing change and striving for originality, it’s common to hit a few roadblocks. However, in the long run, the success you find will far surpass the challenges you face. So, consider reflecting on your current business strategies and search for ways your business can leave a positive impact.
3. Sustainability Solutions are a Differentiator
Are you familiar with a Sustainable Energy Services Agreement (SESA)? SESA acts as a climate-positive financing solution that allows companies to implement energy-efficient projects at no upfront capital expense. Simply put, a SESA is a flexible way to improve operations and save energy and money by consolidating projects into one contract.
What does this mean for the CRE industry? A SESA is just one avenue companies can take to incorporate sustainable solutions into their business.
For CRE properties specifically, sustainable improvements can be made in a breadth of different areas, including:
- High-performance rooftop HVAC units
- LED lighting
- Battery storage
- High-efficiency boilers
- Solar panels
- Building management systems
- Data center cooling
- Clean room upgrades
- Water efficiency upgrades
For example, JLL benefited when it turned to sustainability as a solution. Most notably, JLL saved $100k in reduced work orders. By improving current systems with a more sustainable solution, the company saved time for property teams to focus on more pressing issues. In addition, JLL’s overall look and feel changed because happy clients translated to happy occupants. Not to mention they also reduced their scope by three carbon emissions!
Where is Your CRE Property Headed Next?
Experts from the conference offered tactical solutions to challenges the CRE industry is facing, while also acknowledging the positive impact the industry has the potential to make. One thing is for sure, the CRE industry has changed since the pandemic and will continue to as it adapts to an ever-changing world.
The Building Engines team looks forward to attending the 2023 BOMA International Conference next summer along with many of the world’s top CRE experts. To learn more about Building Engines, please visit our website at buildingengines.com.