Offices and proptech are deeply connected, writes Bogdan Nicoara of Bright Spaces. The latter can enhance the experience offered by a space. Offices are more than just working areas now, and actually, everything about them has changed starting with how they are being showcased and leased.
Proptech is booming across all real estate sectors, with $32bn invested in this industry last year alone. Technology in the commercial sector benefits both landlords and tenants, opening a wide range of new opportunities for each. And once such a shift is made, there’s no going back.
A different way of touring spaces
Virtual tours, for example, are not something new, but they are now reaching a state of art. Most tenants wish to see a building online before visiting it, for many reasons:
- It gives them a quick first understanding of how that property fits their needs
- It is faster; they are not required to travel to multiple locations anymore
- They can access it from anywhere, whenever they want
- They want a landlord focused on digitalisation and sustainability
The more advanced the tour, the better. We’ve dedicated ourselves to building an intuitive, web-based platform, that provides the most comprehensive image of a space to potential tenants: 3D replicas, dollhouse views, multiple fit-outs, tech specs, surrounding areas, sustainability features, photos, and videos. It is fully personalised and can be accessed from any device, using a shareable link – this is what creates a unique experience and actually turns prospects into qualified leads.
Automation and optimisation are key for leasing departments
How can landlords use technology to enhance their work? My personal take is that we’ll still have in-person tours, for aspects that cannot be – just yet – showcased digitally, such as the smell, the surrounding noise, the vibe of a place. So the work of leasing specialists and brokers remains vital, but it can be optimised through various automation features.
Let’s take a short look at how these leasing professionals used to work though: maybe they can conduct 10 tours per month (whereas a virtual tour can be accessed by thousands of potential clients monthly), with more or less qualified leads; those who are indeed qualified might request to see the space twice; negotiations would take a significant amount of time, as all processes are manual and all data is managed with Excel spreadsheets; information is usually scattered and the department might not always be aligned, not to mention the lack of alignment with marketing.
The sales cycle becomes too long and vacancy is reduced very slowly, not to mention human errors, wasted time and a non-intuitive way of putting people’s best skills to work.
There is a simple answer: an integrated management dashboard that offers complete control and transparency over data.
Software can provide leasing departments with a structured overview of their available spaces, client status, offer requests, a reporting feature, a digital offer-generation tool, and a broker-availability newsletter feature, to keep all their partners informed and connected. This means that the team will be permanently up-to-date with real-time information, allowing them to speed up the whole leasing, negotiation, and renewal processes.
ESG in the spotlight
Real estate is forced to take measures – both by regulators and by clients, who will look more and more for landlords who respect the environment.
This is yet another opportunity for proptech to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable approach in real estate. Going back to virtual tours, for example, these are a great way to reduce material printing – there are fewer on-paper brochures and traditional marketing materials..
Having a web-based digital brochure also means less traveling and less CO2 emissions. Generating digital offers and contracts also reduces the quantity of paper used. The examples of similar savings can continue.
Landlords can and should talk about the measurements they take in order to be ESG compliant – a feature we integrated into Bright Spaces. This contributes to their positioning, helps them attract more customers interested in the same environmental principles and it also inspires by example.
Offices are definitely here to stay, even if we look at them differently – we use them for work, to socialise, to be more productive, to connect. This means that landlords need the best-in-class tools to present, lease, and provide new experiences within their spaces.
The role of proptech, as we see it, is to streamline processes that no longer make sense, through a more innovative, modern and intuitive approach.
Bogdan Nicoara is CEO and co-founder of Bright Spaces
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