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“Checking In?” Office Landlords Take Cues From High-End Hotels To Thrive In The Era Of Hybrid Work – Forbes

The finest and most successful hoteliers understand they can’t survive without impeccable customer service. In those environments, the bar is set at concierge-level professionalism, exclusive and personalized experiences and top-notch amenities. For office building owners looking to increase occupancy, the hospitality industry is full of inspiration.
In an office building, stand-out hospitality is achieved with a seamless crossover of people, amenities and technology. It should start immediately upon entry into the building lobby and never stop, as both tenants and guests alike move throughout and interact with the property.
People and ambience set the tone
Remember the days of the surly security officer who couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge you when signing the building’s paper (gasp!) registry? No more. The lobby is a tremendous “moment of impact,” and every interaction there needs to be positive. Office building landlords and owners are more frequently seeking general managers from a hospitality background. Traditional security and property coordinator roles are being replaced with hospitality directors, guest services representatives and experience managers to achieve a much more welcoming and inclusive vibe.
Many properties— like 22 Bishopsgate in London—are already successfully achieving the high-end hotel sense of arrival. While being greeted by a lobby host, visitors will also notice air infused with a signature scent of sage and mandarin, ambient music curated by London-based NTS radio and plants and greenery that purify the air.
Technology adds modern convenience
In addition to staff, technology can customize and improve tenant experience. Apps like HqO provide opportunities to digitally expedite the visitor registration process and so much more. The tenant experience app can offer on-demand wellness services, arrange dry cleaning, summon an elevator, book a conference room or instantly connect tenants to a concierge team member for anything else they may need to support their professional or personal life.
Experienced property managers and innovative technology will ensure continuity in the building and give tenants a seamless experience as they navigate the different areas and phases of hospitality.
Spaces offer wellness-driven respite
Landlords know that they have to entice tenants to prefer the office experience to their work-from-home comforts. Wellness and leisure amenities that might be encountered while on vacation are the ticket. As visitors move beyond the lobby, these high-quality amenities will make them want to stay.
According to JLL research, by 2025, properties that incorporate a diverse roster of amenities will experience 12 percent higher demand from tenants versus their plain commodity counterparts. But who’s doing it right?
What was once the largest post office in the world is a shining example of the impact amenities can have on the success of an office property. Now aptly named The Old Post Office, this 2.5 million-square-foot building in Chicago was abandoned for decades but has become one of the most significant adaptive reuse projects in the country. The real star of this $800MM redevelopment is “The Meadow”— a 3.5-acre rooftop featuring a quarter-mile track; three-season heated bar and pavilion; full basketball court; heated paddle tennis courts; and landscaping that includes more than 40,000 plants and trees of 58 varieties. But the offering doesn’t end there. An enormous fitness center with a boxing ring, a ten-restaurant food hall, luxurious cocktail reception room and massive patio fronting the Chicago River add to the building’s unique experience.
Since opening its doors in 2021, the property is nearly 98 percent leased to many blue-chip tenants like Walgreens, Ferrara Candy Company, PepsiCo and Uber.
Stock traders or startups? Audience matters.
When looking to add or adapt building amenities, the types of amenities offered requires a look at current or prospective tenant composition and preferences.
If tenants are white collar, suit and tie-type professionals, amenities may trend toward traditional, concierge-style offerings like private events on rooftop lounges, on-site spa services or assistance with nabbing that elusive restaurant reservation. A new trend garnering attention is providing access to a private, fee-based total wellness offering that includes high-end medical, fitness, beauty and nutrition needs on site. Want to see a chiropractor, get Botox from a renowned plastic surgeon, take a Pilates class or try a world-class meal whipped up by a chef? It’s all possible at the office with your membership.
For tenants that value placemaking over exclusivity, vibrant and healthy environments that make employees’ lives easier may be in order. 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.
Relationships reign
Not long ago, experiential initiatives would have been unheard of in commercial real estate. A “B-” cafeteria and basic fitness room would be about as amenity-rich of an experience a tenant could hope for. However, as the workplace continues to adapt to the demands of a more experience-seeking generation, property managers will continue to be on the front lines of driving tenant engagement. Those who can effectively provide on-demand spaces and services like a five-star hotel will increase tenant satisfaction and occupancy. But remember, the benefits of an office building and its amenities are only effective if they inspire meaningful relationships between people and places.


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