The UK Real Estate sector has not been as quick as other industries to deploy digital platforms. But that is changing. Asset managers, property managers and operators are becoming much more receptive to the use of digital platforms and are alert to the potential they have to improve the Tenant Experience and to heighten operational efficiencies, improve retention and optimise yield.
A recent UK study we conducted in conjunction with Remit Consulting, surveying Build to Rent (BTR) and Private Rental Sector (PRS) investors, operators and property managers, clearly demonstrated this fact.
The study revealed that 100% of respondents were interested in a specialist system to collect information on buildings and tenants. 84% of participants were interested in collecting data on tenant interaction and relationships with their buildings, and how to use this to improve the Tenant Experience.
How can digital platforms address UK BTR and PRS challenges and why are so many asset managers predominantly struggling with their current digital platform?
UK challenges in BTR and PRS
As a company headquartered in Europe but with a strong presence in the UK (and indeed many countries all over the world), the differences in each market are always of interest. Yet some things are constant across geographies.
Vacant assets are a big problem irrespective of territory and addressing this via enhancement of the Tenant Experience while also improving operational efficiencies is a priority for almost every asset manager. That’s certainly what the Remit Consulting research results suggest.
While one can infer from this that the Tenant Experience is hugely important in the UK, data relating to tenant engagement is not collected as much as data on building management and operations is. Although 79% of respondents have already adopted some form of Tenant Experience tool, 38% are unhappy with the solution they have.
Such levels of awareness of the need for a Tenant Experience solution far exceeds what we’ve seen in Mainland Europe. Overall, the Remit Consulting research clearly shows the UK market’s appetite for a smart digital platform that really delivers.
The digital disconnect
But despite this appetite, there appears to be a digital disconnect taking place. A large majority (79%) of survey respondents said they were using stand-alone systems for capturing tenant and operations data. While there is intent and desire to better utilize digital technology, these standalone platforms are mostly unable to talk to existing systems, which has a drastic impact on their effectiveness.
Beyond this lack of an integrated view, other complaints about current digital platforms included a lack of an all-in-one solution providing real-time and flexible reporting options. Respondents also cited a desire for systems with improved communication and shortened response times.
While you cannot understate the importance of the Tenant Experience, building operational efficiency is also significant. For many in the industry these are distinct from eachother, but the right digital platform can address both of these and allow an asset manager to achieve tenant-focussed Operational Excellence.
Achieving tenant-focused Operational Excellence
This should be the ultimate goal for asset managers in the UK. Keeping tenants happy and anticipating their needs or concerns is pivotal for increasing retention, while improving operational efficiency is also a major priority.
Using the right digital platform, such as Allthings, asset managers can collect data on tenants and buildings, and do so unobtrusively. It’s a platform made and designed to extract insight, which can then be used to improve Tenant Experience, continuously and without residents even necessarily registering the fact.
The same is true for operational efficiencies, which with Allthings go hand-in-hand with the Tenant Experience. The Remit research showed that in the UK only 21% of respondents wanted to use operational efficiency savings to cut costs. 32% wanted to use the efficiency gains to increase services and just less than half (47%) wanted to ‘split the pie’ between cutting costs and increasing value enhancing services.
Independent Deloitte analysis of Allthings revealed that tenant interaction time could be reduced by up to 70% using the Allthings platform. This frees up enormous amounts of human resource that can be deployed in improving the Tenant Experience. How would your organization use the additional human capital and other operational efficiency savings?
For a more detailed look at digital platforms, our new whitepaper, which outlines the Allthings response to the UK BTR and PRS challenges identified by Remit Consulting’s research, is available here (Whitepaper No 5).