Four ways hospitality is luring workers back to the office

Workers need reasons to leave the comforts of home and the hospitality industry may have a playbook to use

Historically, the word hospitality has conjured up images of concierge-style services at luxury hotels and unparalleled experiences that embody exclusivity: What can I get here that I can’t get anywhere else?

Since the early aughts, owners of office buildings have tried to emulate certain facets of the hospitality and retail sectors, choosing to focus on premium architectural and design finishes, adding food and beverage options inside the property, and incorporating solutions that make tenants’ lives easier (i.e., free Wi-Fi in common areas and complimentary dry cleaning).

But now that employees have more power and choice over what the workplace can offer them, the hallmarks of superior hospitality have changed.

Property management (PM) is faced with an incredible opportunity to use hospitality as the magnet that pulls workers back to the office. Property managers can improve tenant retention and acquisition efforts by focusing on the tenant experience and offering superior client services. In other words, office space is the new frontier when it comes to experience management.

Although turn-down service and pillow mints aren’t precisely what employees crave at the office, a similar, amenity- and experience-rich approach is a key part of making your building stand out. Landlords should take a page out of the hotel playbook, fusing the concepts of property management and hospitality to create a tenant-first approach to office buildings.

Here are four key steps an asset manager must consider when integrating hospitality into their PM strategy:

Understand existing and prospective tenants

The first step in creating a hospitality-rich experience for tenants is understanding existing and prospective tenants' needs, wants, and motivations.

Hospitality means different things to different people. Suppose your tenants are white-collar, suit and tie professionals. In that case, the amenities may trend toward traditional, concierge-style offerings like private events on rooftop lounges, on-site spa services, and access to community managers who can nab that hard-to-get reservation for an important work meeting.

For tenants that value placemaking over exclusivity, we recommend creating vibrant and healthy environments that make employees’ lives easier. QR-code-enabled grab-and-go cafes and on-site health clinics are great options to simplify their workdays, giving them more time to collaborate with peers and maintain productivity.

Once you recognize your tenants and their unique attributes, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on locations and specific features valuable to them.

Assess all the attributes of the building

What does the neighborhood offer tenants and what is missing? What unique features does the building itself have?

A solid pro/con list is an ideal starting point to understanding how you can leverage the strengths of your building and determine where areas for collaboration, private work and relaxation make the most sense.

JLL Experience Management, for example, takes a comprehensive look at an asset to understand what tenants might already have convenient access to, and what they may not—making recommendations on how to solve for any gaps. Consider the design of tenant spaces. Some office spaces may be very densely designed and lack collaboration areas, which presents an opportunity for a landlord to provide a much-needed alternative workspace for employees that can be managed and activated with unique, high-touch services and features.

Identify ‘places of impact’

In hospitality, we look at every interaction as an opportunity for a ‘moment of impact.’ Ensuring every interaction is positive and makes workers and guests feel cared for is a top priority. Part of this strategy involves determining the areas of the property to emphasize--typically areas with high foot traffic or special features like a tenant lounge, café, or conference and event centers.

By infusing these areas with hospitality experts such as guest service representatives or community managers instead of security, you can ensure a positive experience in these places of impact.

Remember, the benefits of an office building and its amenities are only effective if they inspire meaningful relationships between people and places.

Bring in an expert to manage ‘moments of impact’

Experience management requires a unique skill set that encompasses everything from hospitality to marketing, including creativity, awareness and activation. To help ensure your tenants get the most out of the building’s amenity spaces, consider hiring specialists to transform spaces into activated environments where tenants can relax, re-energize, brainstorm, or break their daily routines.

Forty-nine percent of employees expect social spaces to boost their experience in the office, JLL found.

In addition to staff, technology can be helpful to better customize and improve the tenant experience.

Tenant experience apps like HqO provide opportunities to expedite the visitor registration process, offer on-demand services like wellness services or dry cleaning, and instantly connect tenants to a concierge team member for support with anything else.

Experienced PMs and innovative technology will ensure continuity in the building and ensure tenants have a seamless experience as they navigate the different areas and phases of hospitality in your building.

Want to learn more about how JLL’s Experience Management experts can bring added impact to your property? Click here.