Since the invention of the computer and the world wide web, technology has rapidly grown to dominate all aspects of modern society. Traditional industries on-board increasingly more technology – communications, shopping, information sharing, data management, finance, property, and so forth have digitised and therefore revolutionised the way their industry operates.
When it comes to commercial property, the industry has traditionally been dominated by multinational property giants such as JLL and CBRE. Such corporations set the foundation for how property is built, acquired, managed, and maintained today. With billions in revenue, assets, and equity, and tremendous annual growth, these property giants stand to continue their dominance of the sector.
However, as the world becomes increasingly more digitised and more sectors continue to be disrupted by technology, the commercial property industry is poised to welcome new, tech-powered ways of business.
Meeting the increasing demand for flexible office space
As the way business is conducted is modernised, the demands for office space have also changed. The commercial property market is shifting away from lengthy, multi-year leases in favour of shorter term rentals that come with a variety of amenities.
This shift is particularly spurred by startup culture. Startups are, by nature, fluid in terms of staff count and longevity, and as such require flexibility when it comes to office space. This is a change that traditional commercial property agents aren’t well-positioned to cope with. Flexible working space is hard to scale using traditional methods due to a larger number of transactions at an often lower price.
Furthermore, larger or multinational corporations are finding that, because of the continually faster-moving world of business and economic uncertainty such as with Brexit, it’s worth exploring options for shorter term or flexible leases. As a result, companies dealing in PropTech have been founded to fill the gaps that the traditional property business model cannot.
PropTech companies such as Hubble have built an online platform with the largest inventory of office space in London, is preparing to build the world’s first property broker AI, and planning to expand services to international markets in the near future.
Technology can help corporations find commercial property by:
Offering an online platform that is accessible 24/7
While a traditional broker, regardless of experience and extent of workaholic tendencies, is limited to waking and sometimes working hours, an office search engine is accessible around the clock. Those building a business, regardless of where they are on their journey from idea to IPO, often simply don’t have the time to talk to a broker – especially when limitations such as waking hours, weekends, and holidays come into play.
A simple query in an office search engine is considerably less time-consuming, displays all properties on the platform suitable to your needs, and is available to browse on your schedule.
Creating transparency and convenience in the office leasing process
Commercial property has traditionally been a rather closed-off world. Corporate spaces in desirable locations are often managed by large property companies. In order to review details of and view these spaces, interested parties must first call the management company, speak with a receptionist, wait for the broker in charge of the listing to pick up the line, and speak with and meet the broker. If a company is interested in viewing more than one space, and these spaces are managed by different companies, the process of finding a suitable office becomes extremely time-consuming.
Therefore, the PropTech industry aims to drastically reduce the time it takes to find a suitable office. It is faster and more convenient to use an office search engine instead of calling a traditional broker. Such platforms display all details of a space upon request within seconds, providing both transparency and convenience.
Providing an unbiased list of the most suitable office spaces
We all know of the term “pushy-salesperson” and unfortunately, many traditional brokers can be just that. With sales quotas and targets to meet each month, quarter, and annum, and commission every time a deal is closed, the attitude of brokers toward dealing with clients is understandable.
With such targets and certain spaces that offer higher commission, brokers may suggest one office over another, even if it is not the most suitable for your business. A search engine does not have such human motivations and as such is able to provide the most adequate list of suitable offices without the pressure of quotas.
Giving tenants the flexibility to choose their own perfect office
Corporations looking for office space can gain the power to choose the most suitable office for their business by using an office search engine, which displays and compares details of all available office space in the city on the platform. This puts control in the hands of the tenants rather than the brokers, and allows the tenants to personally choose the best space in which to continue their business growth.
PropTech, whether for startups or multinational corporations, fills the gaps in human limitation when it comes to filling the right spaces with the right companies, and puts control of office space search in the hands of those that are most affected – the tenants.