Do your office workers feel like hotel guests?

The welcome factor: Boosting hospitality at the office

609 Main - Houston, Texas
Caption 609 Main - Houston, Texas

What’s the Point?

The world’s finest hoteliers could not survive without flawless customer service. Now, with a seismic shift in worker preferences, it’s just as important to incorporate hospitality standards in office settings. When it comes to real estate, infusing five-star customer hospitality practices can increase a return on investment by providing a unique and memorable experience for tenants and visitors that leaves them feeling emotionally satisfied. Proven approaches that boost convenience and personalization can lead to higher occupancy rates, more favorable leases and increased customer loyalty.

Prioritizing People and Places

Employees want greater control over their day, and a compelling place to work that justifies the personal time investment and inherent lack of control that commuting imposes. Today’s new standard? A frictionless, curated property experience that begins at the front door and continues across every corner of the property. To do it right takes a seemingly effortless connection of people, perks, and technology.

Let’s start with people. The lobby—and the lobby staff positioned there—serves as a tremendous point of impact, with every interaction translating to critical first impressions. The security and property management staff of old—who were there primarily to check a driver’s license or answer a question about parking— now are increasingly hired with hotel and restaurant backgrounds. Hospitality directors, guest services representatives and experience managers are offering a much more welcoming and inclusive vibe in the office setting, and their roles have evolved to be more concierge, less traffic cop. The result? All visitors are treated like valued guests.

The best properties support this capable staff with a physical setting that looks, smells, and feels amazing. Plants, curated custom scents and inviting furniture will make your tenants and visitors yearn to linger. Signage and wayfinding shouldn’t be an afterthought – a visitor who is confused or uncertain about where they are going and how to get there will not leave the property feeling emotionally connected.

Perks make the lives of tenants easier and more exciting. But it’s important to understand the tenant composition – or a property amenity overhaul could fall flat. If the well-heeled, white-collar set runs deep at a property, it may be wise to steer perks in the direction of concierge-style offerings and fee-based total wellness. Assistance with reservations to coveted restaurants, spa appointments or high-end medical services could be just the thing a tenant never knew they needed until now.

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Perhaps an office building counts start-ups and nonprofits as a large part of its tenant composition. Those tenants may value placemaking over exclusivity. In that case, things like on-site health clinics, healthy grab-and-go food options and welcoming outdoor space could be the ticket.

Technology is the critical piece that ties a holistic property experience together. Property apps add tremendous value and convenience and deliver the control that today’s tenants are seeking to restore in their lives. The ability to expedite security registration, book conference rooms, summon an elevator or arrange for dry-cleaning pick up are just a few examples of the ways office workers can support their professional and personal lives with a tap of their smartphone.

Experience Investments Pay Off

Experiential investments have come a long way in commercial real estate. Not long ago, basic fitness centers and cafeteria-style food typically defined most buildings’ amenity experience, eliciting a shrug and a “meh” from the tenants who interacted with them. Now, bold action and the “Wow Factor” is rewarded. Buildings that can effectively provide on-demand spaces, concierge support and five-star hotel-level services will increase tenant satisfaction and occupancy.

According to JLL’s Global Flex Report, tenant retention rates can increase by up to 20% in buildings that offer an exceptional workplace experience, and property management service was stated as one of the top renewal decisions for office tenants. It’s clear that office environments that feel more like a thriving, supportive community become an incubator for life’s memorable moments. They not only make our lives easier— they inspire meaningful connections between people and places.