The lobby of an office building is some of the busiest floorspace in commercial real estate. It’s also where your building – and the companies within – make their first impression. And as we all know… first impressions matter.
Simple, seamless, straightforward. These three words describe the way a great Visitor Management System should feel. When visitors arrive in your building, you don’t want them running headfirst into a manual process that causes nothing but confusion and delays.
Instead, you want the process to feel intuitive and natural for everyone involved – the visitor, the host, and building management.
What is a Visitor Management System?
If you’ve never heard the term ‘Visitor Management System’ – or VMS – before, you might be wondering what we’re talking about. But there’s no need to overcomplicate things. A Visitor Management System is simply any system that a building uses to manage and keep track of the people who visit their buildings.
In the old days, these systems were extremely manual – picture receptionists and sign-in books and queues in the lobby. These days, many Visitor Management Systems are digital and can significantly hasten the process of checking visitors into your building and getting them where they need to be.
So, while the term technically applies to everything from manual processes to digital systems, these days you’ll mostly hear the term applied to digital systems that allow you to manage the people who visit your building.
Why do you need a Visitor Management System?
There are many benefits to having an integrated Visitor Management Solution, but they all fall under a few basic categories: providing a smoother experience for visitors; empowering hosts; and gaining a better understanding of your tenants’ needs.
1. Smoother experience for guests
Many buildings still rely on physical passes to give visitors access to their premises. The problem with using an antiquated, physical process is that problems take a long time to fix. Has somebody lost their pass? Then building management has to cancel the misplaced pass, program a new one, then physically get it to the user or visitor in question.
With a digital system, this process is far smoother. For visitors, building management simply generates a QR code that is sent directly to the visitor’s email. For users, a dedicated tab in the app allows them to quickly access their digital pass.
2. Empower host companies
A good Visitor Management System also empowers host companies with added information, control, and flexibility.
Equiem’s VMS will automatically notify hosts when their visitors check into the building, allowing the host to roll out the red carpet for important guests while they’re still in the elevator.
3. Understand how tenants use your asset
Hard data about the traffic running through your building can give you important information about the way your tenants use the premises day to day. We’ll talk about that more in a moment, but to put it simply – understanding the traffic patterns in your building allows you to optimize the way space is utilized in the building while also learning what your tenants value about those spaces.
What to look for in a VMS?
Okay, so now that you know what a VMS is and why you need one, how should you go about choosing the right one for your building? Well, there are a few key features that can make your VMS as powerful as possible.
1. Digital and integrated
An online VMS integrated with your tenant app offers a number of benefits you can’t get any other way. For instance, you’ll be able to offer your guests digital passes that can be accessed within the app and scanned with a simple tap of a smartphone. Meanwhile, visitors can gain access with a QR code generated seamlessly and sent to their email.
In addition to the added convenience, you also have an extra layer of security. A digital VMS allows you to provide custom access to every individual user and visitor, ensuring they only have access to the parts of the building they’re supposed to. That access can also be amended and revoked with a click of a mouse, making it simple to adjust permissions based on shifting circumstances and priorities.
2. Robust Analytics
Your visitor management system should be paired with robust analytics capabilities, giving you the ability to glean insights from the traffic that flows through your building every day.
By having a VMS that’s integrated with a Tenant Experience App like Equiem, you can break down data regarding visitors by building, level, or even individual company. Or if you need a birds’ eye view, you can look at visitor data across an entire portfolio. This will help you identify trends that can influence strategies around everything from leasing to space optimization.
For instance, if you see a particular tenant is regularly receiving large numbers of visitors, you can offer them access to bookable flex space where they can conduct meetings or collaboration sessions as needed.
3. Versatile Functionality
It’s important to ensure that your visitor management system works for everyone, no matter what sort of device they’re using. For instance, Equiem’s integrated VMS is compatible with almost every kind of smartphone and tablet.
This versatility is especially important when it comes to visitor management, because you never know what kind of devices your Tenant’s visitors will be using when they come to your asset. But with a simple QR code in their email address, those visitors will get the access they need, their hosts will be notified of their onsite arrival onsite, and building management will glean valuable information about space utilization and tenant activity.