9 February 2016

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12 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants in Tough Real Estate Markets

Fiber Connectivity by Tom Collins

Despite recent improvements in the U.S. economy and housing market, the real estate market isn't always easy for landlords. While many urban areas are booming, many commercial landlords are competing against soft markets; cities in which there are more empty spaces than prospective tenants. To avoid costly, long-term vacancies, many commercial landlords need to develop smart marketing and sales strategies for 2016

Ways To Attract Commercial Tenants

By understanding your ideal client's priorities, you can invest in smart improvements. The right marketing strategy for a commercial landlord may look much different in Omaha, Nebraska than it does in Rockville, Maryland. By offering the right on-site amenities and client engagement programs, landlords can gain an edge over their competition. In this blog, you'll learn 12 strategies to fill vacancies and maintain high tenant engagement.

1. Offer Building-Wide Fiber-Optic Internet Connectivity

Access to high-speed Internet is critical to your tenants' business operations. Fiber-optic Internet carries a significant advantage above regular high-speed broadband with increased consistency, speed, and bandwidth.

The best fiber-optic Internet vendors offer 24/7/365 domestic support and customer service. Performing a site-wide installation of fiber-optic Internet can be a powerful marketing tool. Your future tenants can save money on installation while appreciating the benefits of the fastest data service available. 2015 research by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas indicates a fiber connection adds an average of 3.1% to a property’s value. Your valuation will increase an additional 1.8% if your connectivity speed is 1Gb/s or more, as opposed to 100Mb/s or less.

2. Perform Energy-Efficient Improvements

In New York's commercial real estate market, some landlords are taking energy-efficient improvements to new heights -- literally! Rooftop wind turbines and organic gardens can illustrate commitment to "greening" workspaces, which attracts tenants who are committed to corporate social responsibility.

Other energy-conscious building improvements, such as HVAC system upgrades, the installation of double-paned windows or energy-saving window treatments, can offer the promise of cost savings on utility bills to prospective tenants. In some cases, landlords may be eligible for tax credits for certain improvements to commercial buildings. Contact your local energy company for more insight on specific programs and cost-savings available in your area.

3. Consider Offering Shared Amenities

Unusual vacant spaces in your building could be converted into shared conference or training rooms. Basements can be turned into shared exercise facilities for health-conscious employees or a childcare center for parents who work on-site.

If your tenants have requested on-site dining options, consider offering deals on rent to prospective coffee or food vendors. Access to reservable conference rooms and other shared building amenities can be a valuable service for prospective tenants in small or quickly growing organizations.

4. Ease Parking Access

If you live in an urban area with minimal parking access, creating professional relationships with parking vendors can be a valuable service to business tenants. If you are considering options to improve parking access, always keep tenant safety in mind. Prioritize relationships with parking vendors who offer well-lit spaces or security cameras, particularly for prospective tenants who have after-hours workers.

5. Facilitate Cost-Savings

In your marketing materials and sales meetings, emphasize the steps you've taken to save your clients money. Energy-efficient improvements, fiber-optic Internet, and on-site parking are three ways your commercial spaces could be more cost-efficient than your competitors' properties.

Additionally, every service offered on-site can maximize your tenants' employee productivity. If your building includes healthy dining options or a dry cleaner, emphasize these conveniences.

6. Perform Tenant Satisfaction Surveying

Your existing tenants likely have the best perspective on how you're doing at meeting their needs. By regularly surveying your tenants on your customer service and amenities, you can gain critical insight into what matters to your clients. By prioritizing the improvements that matter to your tenants, you can improve customer loyalty and increase your chances of winning tenant referrals.

7. Engage Tenants in Conservation Efforts

If your existing tenants tend to be conservation and sustainability-conscious, consider implementing building-wide sustainability efforts. Offering site-wide recycling or even composting service can facilitate high tenant engagement. Consider creating a conservation group with business representatives from your tenant's companies to suggest and implement improvements.

8. Understand Your Market

Performing market research can be among the most effective ways to fast track the right improvements in a soft real estate market. Client and prospective client priorities can vary according to city, neighborhood, and industry.
Tech-heavy areas could prioritize fiber-optic Internet and on-site workout facilities more than parking access. In contrast, if your market tends to employ quite a few parents, on-site childcare facilities could be sought-after.

By surveying your existing client's pain points and listening carefully to your prospective clients, you can understand your market's pain points and priorities.

9. Improve the Exterior

Small improvements to building exteriors and interiors can significantly elevate the appearance of your property. If you haven't hired a landscaping company, consider adding improvements to the green areas around your property.

Adding indoor plants and art to building lobbies and hallways can create a more aesthetically pleasing environment for tenants. Hiring an indoor plant maintenance company that specializes in commercial spaces can lend convenience to your building improvement initiative. Exterior and interior improvements don't need to be costly to significantly improve the appearance of your commercial space.

10. Increase Security

Offering secured facilities can greatly ease tenant peace-of-mind, particularly for companies who may have employees working overnight or at other "odd" hours. While your city or neighborhood might not necessitate a building security guard or card access, improving lighting and adding security cameras can make your facility significantly safer.

Be aware of existing security risks, such as dimly lit exits or overgrown shrubbery that could put tenants and their employees at risk. Most importantly, landlords should be proactive about responding to tenant security concerns or existing security issues such as a high rate of break-ins in the parking lot.

11. Offer Rewards for Referrals

Highly satisfied tenants can be your best marketing assets. If your existing tenants are thrilled with your facilities and customer service, they'll share with their friends.

Landlords should create a program to reward existing tenants for qualified referrals, which could include anything from rent discounts to gift cards. Advertise your loyalty program to your existing tenants, and continue to remind your renters periodically about your loyalty program.

12. Keep Track of Local Amenities

Create relationships with local vendors who offer amenities that could be beneficial your tenants, such as coffee shops, catering vendors, dry cleaners, or business data specialists.

Some landlords may be able to negotiate "first time client" discounts and coupons for their tenants from local vendors who are hoping to expand their business. Create a list of recommended local amenities with your prospective tenants and existing renters to let them know about local services.

Ready for Fiber Connectivity?

Competing for commercial clients in a soft or challenging real estate market doesn't mean that landlords need to make extremely expensive improvements to fill vacancies. By understanding the priorities of your prospective clients, you can implement budget-friendly improvements that benefit their businesses' need for productivity.

To learn more about a site-wide installation of fiber-optic connectivity for commercial landlords, contact Atlantech Online today to speak to a customer service representative about pricing, service, our process and more!





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.

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