New tenant apps bring occupier client-centric approach

New tenant apps bring occupier client-centric approach

Hines raised the bar with Südkreuz. Our first premium multifamily project in Germany is a 42,511-square-meter residential-led mixed-use development that includes 11 buildings, 664 apartment units, co-working space, a gym, laundromat and 9,000 square meters of retail and office space. Fully let within six months and recipient of several industry awards, the property provided the team with quite a few challenges—but also incredible success.

When the team first began the project, they wanted to offer a high-quality asset that would feature digital technology and innovation around tenant engagement and space utilization. When existing research proved insufficient in helping them achieve their objectives, the team began their own research, taking one year to fully understand the market, investor needs and tenant expectations. At the end of the journey, one desire was to digitalize all services at the property—amenities, room booking and online leasing—contained within the ecosystem of a single app. Partnering with Reos Software to develop a full-service app, we started an experiment: would the app be successful in improving tenant engagement and satisfaction?

Within the first few months, the facilities management team received a whopping 40,000 tickets via the app, though many were simple, asking where something was in the building. After the initial deluge of requests, though, they slowed down to a below-average frequency, indicating tenants were familiar and happy with the property and its offerings. In six months, 1,200 new people were moved in, at an average age of 33 years old, and those tenants can contact property support teams 24/7 through the app. The app is also used for communications that provide community updates and incentive tenants to support certain initiatives, like reducing energy consumption. If someone needs to get in an apartment, a digital doorbell rings in the app, and the door can be unlocked remotely.

One lesson learned was how to more effectively partner with tech companies and other service providers. Understanding the complicated interface between the app's various components and the manys functions it monitored and/or controlled was challenging, though to tenants, everything is seamless. Another lesson was to integrate the service providers earlier, and to think digitally from the start of any project, to avoid delays and having to stop construction to lay new wiring and cabling for the digital elements throughout the facility.

In the future, the team hopes to combine office and residential apps. For instance, direct contact from a tenant is even rarer in the office environment than it is in residential. They also want to explore more low-tech buildings, using the best digitalized solutions to reduce the overall amount of tech needed while continuing to raise the bar on design quality, space layout and tenant interaction.

Since completion, the development has received two platinum certifications for its digital infrastructure and connectivity by WiredScore. Südkreuz was also named winner of the immobilienmanager award 2021 in the “Digitization” category.Innovations will continuously be developed with new trends driven forward.