For many commercial landlords making their first foray into tenant experience, a platform RFP (Request for Proposal) is an essential aid to discovery. Our experience with RFPs has shown that landlord requirements have changed drastically in recent months.
Over the last 18 months, Equiem has participated in dozens of RFPs. While the process compiles all necessary platform and partner due diligence for our prospective customers — and those of other players in the proptech space — the process is seldom simple or efficient for anyone involved.
It's a game of sprawling spreadsheets and multi-part questions that require several meetings and email threads to maintain. Landlord teams must invest a significant amount of time and effort to verify, scrutinise and compare the information that tenant experience firms supply.
In aims to simplify the process for those shopping for a tenant experience platform — and lift the standard of veracity seen in the average RFP response, market-wide — we analysed two years of RFPs in which we participated. From there, we reverse engineered an ideal RFP template based on the most requested platform features and tenant experience partner requirements.
If you're interested in a tenant experience platform, or want a better understanding of the basic features and functionalities you want, head over to our Easy RFP questionnaire. In just seven minutes, you'll have built a tenant experience solution based on your needs.
In the process of analysing our RFP record, we uncovered some interesting insights that may point to larger-scale global and regional trends. Simply put, what landlords want from a tenant experience platform has changed drastically over the last 18 months. But first, let's examine the general numbers and associated trends.
Across all RFPs, we encountered a total of 182 unique feature requests. The average RFP contains 54 feature requests, which are pulled from that total pool.
8 requested tenant experience platform features:
- Availability as a web app and a native app
- Ability to integrate with third-party platforms
- Events management
- Booking system for services and amenities (restaurants, yoga, lockers, bike racks)
- Support for multiple content types
- Push and in-app notifications, emails, SMS alerts
- Deals and offers
- Customisable content pages (e.g. for building information)
8 least requested tenant experience features:
- 1:1 functionality across native app and web platform
- Car park management
- Virtual concierge/message security functionality
- Food delivery integration
- Taxi/rideshare service integration
- End-user SSO across all platforms and integrations
- Integrate with BMS systems (Schneider, StruxureWare, Mixed - BACNetIP/Lonworks)
What did we learn from this? Primarily, that tenant experience and building operations are the dominant categories of interest for landlords. They want the tools to engage with tenants and build communities first; second, they want to improve their back-of-house processes, particularly those that existed before the advent of end-to-end tenant experience tech (work request management, say.)
Some landlords vary drastically in what they want, even in the same region: One wants a good CMS and an in-built e-commerce solution, while their neighbour wants only a Frankenplatform built from countless integrations stitched together.
Changes from 2018 to now
Since 2018, landlords have surfaced 61 new unique requests. In 2020, the emergent areas are flexible space solutions (10 new requests since 2018) and smart building operations (7 new requests).
Unsurprisingly, integrations (+11) have also grown in interest and scope. In particular, landlords want their existing building management systems (such as Building Engines, Yardi, Salesforce, and others) to dovetail with the back-end of the tenant experience platform they choose.
When the market ponders what a tenant experience platform should be able to do, the answer is broad and varied. Our analysis uncovered requests across 13 categories, including Access Management; Retail; News and Content; Data, Analytics, and Reporting; and others. Some landlords vary drastically in what they want, even in the same region: One wants a good CMS and an in-built e-commerce solution, while their neighbour wants only a Frankenplatform built from countless integrations stitched together.
This is where Equiem's veteran experience in proptech is of singular benefit to landlords: We can meet, out of the box, 76% of feature requests as described in RFPs (factoring in, also, that each RFP describes its use cases differently). For the remaining 24% of feature requests, we either have a solution already in development; or, in the case of integrations, can build a bespoke solution based on further discovery with the client.
A proptech prediction for 2021 and beyond
Much has been said about the imminent surge in flexible space solutions as an alternative to traditional leasing arrangements in the wake of COVID. The narrative of our RFP analysis suggests that even before the pandemic hit, flex space platform solutions were burgeoning in the minds of more prescient landlords.
Just look at some of the RFP feature requests under the category of flex space in 2020:
- Ability to book flex space (meeting rooms, etc.)
- Browsing feature for flex space platform (location, date/time, capacity, equipment, etc)
- Integration of F&B with flex space system
- Integration of flex space with third-party system to manage invoicing, resourcing, booking notifications, etc
- Ability to add/sync flex space booking to personal calendar
- Ability to pay for flex spaces using 'credits'
Even though these requests did not commonly arise, they do show a night-day increase in sophistication and understanding. In 2018, just 18 months ago, RFPs included only the top two feature requests in that list. As tenant experience technology matures, so the commercial real estate market sharpens its innovative mindset.
Which is why we created Easy RFP
We want to help landlords separate factual wheat from marketing chaff when going to tender. Easy RFP collates the ideal features a real tenant experience platform should have — with substantiation, sans vaporware — so landlords can build their solution and have a template to scrutinise those who say they can provide it. You can even use Easy RFP to put us to the test!
Get started with Easy RFP today — it takes just seven minutes. Or, if you want to see what Equiem's market-leading tech can do, book a demo.