Paving the way for the property management practices of the future
Head of International Property Management at BNP Paribas Real Estate, Csongor Csukás explains, “We are positioning our services to align with client’s needs and technology in Property Management. This enables us to be much more transparent in the remuneration of our services. It is all about the growing importance of the individual, whether it is an employee in an office or a consumer of a retail scheme”.
Meeting the changing needs of building tenants and occupants, while continuing to attract investors and partners is a challenge that we are committed to rising to. Of course, meeting the new market needs has its costs, but they need to be weighed against the benefits they bring to all involved: enhanced value for the property investor, greater performance and increased comfort and commitment among employees. Well-being and employee productivity are the glue holding together the common interests that all recognise.
Surveying the market to understand the challenges
Knowing that needs and expectations of our business were changing, we wanted to stay ahead of the curve and gain a deep understanding of the Property Management industry landscape. This led us to conduct a thorough market investigation, which allowed us to identify different trends influencing our business.
First, at the macro level, we are witnessing a general digital transformation: economies and markets are changing, reinventing the way business is done in all industries including real estate and Property Management. Additionally, there are now new players disrupting the industry and encouraging established players like BNP Paribas Real Estate to revise their strategy. This increased competition also creates pressure on prices, as staffing cost continue to increase. Furthermore, this opens the way for a new wave of expertise and specialised roles, such as Data, UX, Hospitality and Community Managers
On the investor side, we noticed that current global market conditions are encouraging pan-European investors to diversify their portfolio. This creates a need for investors to find a trusted, reactive, business partner, expert in their field, who can provide quick and valuable advice. In other words, investors are now buying more than just a service, there are looking for a partnership.
At a more micro level, individual practices and expectations are changing, becoming far more agile. People don’t use office buildings like they used to and in retail people don’t consume or buy in the way they used to. Non-traditional office habits like co-working, flex office, or working remotely have changed the way people use offices, and therefore their expectations of what a great office building offers. This, in turn is creating a shift from a tenant market to a user market, with a stronger focus on corporate social responsibility initiatives such as well-being, green energy, etc. Digitalisation also plays a part, as the desire to connect occupiers to a building becomes a priority.
Honing in on four strategic levers
Our investigation of the market has allowed us to identify four priorities to focus on, which we believe will help BNP Paribas Real Estate remain on the cutting edge of the Property Management market. We first identified that our overall goal was to, as Csongor Csukás puts it, “make real estate smart, and guarantee close relationship with occupiers, working through Property Management solutions and advice, to improve performance of European assets”. More specifically, our four objectives are:
- To be more tenant and user centric
A key issue in Property Management is providing high quality services to the tenants and end-users of the properties. Additionally, considering the increased importance of well-being at work, we know that our success in this industry relies on our ability to adequately meet the needs of the users. Indeed, according to Csongor Csukás: “The idea of workplace well-being is central, because companies can see the relationship between the perceived well-being, motivation and commitment of their employees. Improving well-being, and the things that go with it, such as the capacity to collaborate, innovate and be open to change, are ways to increase productivity. That’s why our trade, property management, must reinvent itself to cater to these new company strategies. For companies, ensuring employee well-being is an important way to reduce costs arising from absenteeism and staff turn-over, and a valuable tool for attracting talent.” Therefore, we will work to gain a better understanding of the tenants’ needs and develop adequate services within the building.
- To develop Data Intelligence through SMART building
BNP Paribas Real Estate Property Management commits to furthering its understanding of building usage and improve its service offering by leveraging data collection in the properties we manage. This data collection is carried out in three ways; firstly by collecting Property Management data, secondly building data and thirdly user data. BNP Paribas Real Estate is leading the way in being more conscious in the collection of data, adhering to a carefully structured approach of this data which is now much more exploitable than it was previously. Our aim is to collect and use assets’ data to provide investors with insights on users and end-users’ behaviours and needs, while also sharing the data with clients.
- To meet the changing needs of investors
Investors are now looking for more than just a service provider when calling on a Property Manager. Therefore, BNP Paribas Real Estate Property Management is committed to going beyond the traditional Property Manager role to become more of an advisor, using such assets as the collection of data to further their expertise and solutions for clients. As such, we will identify growth drivers, and features that can add value to the investor’s current property, and we will strive to improve asset performance.
- To continue developing a pan-European service offer
The work we are doing is carried out on a pan-European level, allowing BNP Paribas Real Estate to be a true leader in the Property Management industry. In order to continuing working at this level, we’ll continue defining and communicating on our pan-European offer and complete our geographic coverage where needed.
Implementing our objectives through strategic projects
Between now and 2020, BNP Paribas Real Estate plans on implementing a set of projects allowing the company to reach its objectives and meet market needs. We want to strengthen our business offer by building an ambitious yet achievable plan. We work intensively in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, thereby creating an effective strategy safeguarding us against disruptors. We will achieve this by increasing the value of our current services as well as launching new services adapted to client needs.
More specifically, we will focus on improving our hospitality features, and on constantly reassessing our offer with feedback and measurements of user productivity. This project will be developed in close coordination with the evolution of our IT tools and processes in all asset types (retail, residential and offices).
Additionally, to address client’s needs, we will work on a pan-European account management system, coupled with focusing on sustainability, aiming to optimise both project management and rental space use.