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Technology adoption in a real estate world - Avoid getting left behind

Why asset owners need to be utilising one of the most powerful tools at their disposal 

There’s no denying it, the world of property is a fast-paced one.

Although we’re not the only ones who say this about their industry (far from it), there’s one area certain segments of real estate have been fashionably late with, which many others adopted much earlier on: The rise of technology. 

Having built his career at online real estate platform VTS, Associate Director and one of the newest members of the Kontor team Sammy Kingston unpacks the ways in which asset owners can, and more importantly should be, utilising tech to its full potential across the board, from marketing strategies to tenant retention practices.

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Real estate & tech - What does the wider landscape look like?

I would argue the adoption in the real estate industry is still lacking in places, and on occasions I’ve witnessed an unwillingness to change from the processes people are accustomed to. Notably, this is despite the fact technology has transformed and will continue to transform the way we buy, lease, market and even occupy commercial property. 

The last 4 years of my career opened my eyes to many of the tired processes and systems people are familiar with using everyday. My journey was marked by a keen understanding of how tech can improve and enhance clients’ operational aspirations, the pivotal role of marketing in leasing vacant spaces, and of course the post-COVID tenant retention challenge, something which was clearly in action upon joining Kontor. 

Tech as an essential tool for complementing marketing strategies for asset owners across their entire portfolio…

In my previous role there was a huge focus on how clients ran their full portfolio of properties; some globally, and in many cases multi-sector. 

The ability to delve into each client and really understand their business provided me with a great understanding of the ins and outs of how their company is run. Ultimately it came down to income being of primary importance to them, and simply put… Vacancy can be a bit of a headache!

This knowledge has become a cornerstone in my approach to client interactions here at Kontor. Understanding business intricacies has enabled me to offer more personalised and bespoke leasing solutions which align to the wider company objectives of each asset owner. 

Now, let’s talk about tech specifically…

When reflecting on our purchase behaviour as consumers, we know the initial encounter almost always unfolds online. Whether it’s a T-shirt or even a house, chances are you’ve scoured the internet before deciding to check it out in person, or even make a purchase.

The online experience for property is no exception - acting as the key starting point, providing a sneak peek that either fuels your interest or leaves you uninterested altogether. 

This reality hit home hard for me, and I witnessed how crucial effective online marketing is when attracting potential tenants looking at vacant office spaces.

It’s not just a piece of the puzzle; it’s essential. 

By leveraging technology to our best advantage, we can craft compelling narratives around spaces, engage prospective tenants and drive interest, whilst also being able to retrieve data which enables us to learn and evolve. 

Upon arriving at Kontor, I was able to see the progressive ways tech is effectively weaved within the tenant advisory and asset owner service lines across the business, which has assisted myself and the wider team to continue championing innovative strategies to showcase properties in their best light.

After all, when marketing a property, the best way to get it onto someone’s radar and ideally their viewing shortlist, is to ensure they’re equipped with everything they need from that first touchpoint; seeing it online. 

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The impact on tenant retention in a post-COVID world.

The global pandemic reshaped the dynamics of the commercial real estate landscape, emphasising the importance of tenant retention as employers battled with return to work policies. 

Today the office can’t just be ‘an office’ – it needs to be so much more. The most attractive workspaces today are akin to the service on offer and design we see within hotels or private members clubs; On-site restaurants, gyms, yoga studios etc. 

The experience itself also needs to be seamless (and backed by tech, of course!) from entering the office to booking meeting rooms, people want to be able to complete menial tasks with ease.

Ultimately, if an office space is high quality, has easily bookable amenity space and quick and easy access to building information, it becomes easier to retain tenants at the end of the life cycle.

And how tech can be used as a catalyst for success to help revolutionise the industry. 

Technology is the common thread that weaves success, and when armed with this knowledge, we’re able to integrate cutting-edge tools and platforms within our own leasing strategies. 

From virtual property tours, data analytics for market insights and streamlined communications platforms, tech serves as the catalyst for efficiency and client satisfaction.

As the market continues to evolve and saturate even further, now’s not the time to get left behind - Tech has already revolutionised the way we live, and is set to do the same within commercial property, so long as we’re prepared to embrace it.

Finally, recapping the tech most beneficial to the industry:

  • Dedicated CMS platform - For checking leasing statuses, tracking progress, analysing data to inform future decisions and streamlining communications. 

  • Dedicated website development - To build a functional website for seamless information-sharing, property promotion and viewing experiences and contact options. The same can be applied to app development. 

  • Focus on mobile-optimisation - Ensuring all platforms are fully mobile-optimised to align with current user behaviour and how audiences are consuming information.

  • Video - Producing, editing and hosting capabilities to market properties effectively. 

  • Tenant engagement apps - Internal tech for building access, booking amenity space and tenant retention. 

Ensuring everyone embraces these tech solutions, including staff training for investing in and integrating solutions to streamline processes and enhance efficiency across the industry. 

Asset owner? Take a look at our latest available properties here.

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Want to know more?

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