Eye of the beholder: Tapping into the art of CRE photography

Commercial real estate (CRE) comes alive with compelling photography, and this has never been truer than in this age where most prospective tenants and clients begin and end their search for property online.

Of course, there are some things a great photo can’t do: it can’t negotiate rates, or check leases, and it certainly doesn’t have the connections that a broker has. Thankfully, they are not competing. In CRE, a great photograph (several actually) and a great broker are a killer combo.

Here’s how to get the best visuals of your listings:

  1. Work with the professionals: If you are selling your own home, you might – we repeat, MIGHT – just get away with taking your own pictures. For a serious CRE listing, however, you need seriously great photographs that can capture a sense of place and project the potential of a site.
  • Collaborate with creative: A CRE broker may want to identify a small pool of tried-and-trusted photographers and freelancers who they can turn to as listings come up. Then they know the quality they can expect, and the photographers know the kind of photos a broker is after. Look for photographers specializing in real estate and architectural photography specifically; they come with a wealth of insight and tricks up their sleeves.

Also on this point, one must give clear briefs to the photographer, especially if there is a particular market or prospective client they want the photos to appeal to – such as startups or ‘blue chips’, niche or volume audiences, and so on.

  • Look local (and timing is critical): Knowing the area – its rhythms and moods – can mitigate some of the challenges an outsider might be faced with when capturing an office space or retail park. A local photographer can advise on what time is best for the lighting you need and want, which is one of the most critical decisions that you will make before a shoot.

A golden reflection, deep color saturation, or the sparkling backdrop of a city at night can all make the difference between a photo that shouts out to a viewer and a site that looks lifeless and cold.

  • Landscape, landscape, landscape… except when not: Almost exclusively, the landscape orientation lends itself best to CRE photography, and it is the most versatile for listings online and the types of standard content management systems many listing sites use.

There are, however, a handful of excellent reasons to break from this, such as drawing attention to an architectural feature or making a splash with printed peripherals. This “standard” operating procedure is shifting, especially as more listings are being viewed on mobile sites and apps (more directly below) in square and portrait form.

  • Tech-led: Fancy a 3D rendering or a sweeping drone shot? These kinds of photography are becoming cheaper and more accessible every day, and a professional CRE photographer will likely offer these extras or be able to recommend another service provider. Not every listing needs this, so be discerning.

Got a photography tip to share with your colleagues or an example of great real estate photography, from your listings or archives? Share this article, with your photography tip, and be sure to tag us on social media!

These Perks are Getting Employees Back into the Office

Over the past few months, office owners and team leaders have been doing everything they can to make their workspaces safe and healthy. Office buildings have undergone massive alterations to prepare for the full-scale return to the workspace… but when will that happen?

Changes to the Office Space

Today’s offices are contactless, tech-powered, and socially distant. Commercial property owners and residing tenants have teamed up to build an office space that does not put occupants at risk.

This required immense investment on the part of CRE and individual companies, but the result is an office that can accommodate workers safely. In these times, health and wellness are priceless.

Even though COVID-combatting protocols are being adopted across the sector, most workers are still yet to return to work. WFH remains as the primary professional landscape since COVID-combatting efforts did not convince workers to come back to the office.

If All Else Fails, Incentivize It

There’s something about amenities that wins people over.

Office tenants have taken this route to convince their teams to return to their workspaces. This new incentive-driven company culture trend is giving workers a reason to come back. But, beyond the attraction, office perks are also solving some of the key issues that today’s workforce has been dealing with since the pandemic.

For example, offices and schools closed at the same time earlier this year. Even though offices are slowly reopening, not all schools have welcomed students back again. As a result, workers with children cannot return to the office without paying for babysitters – which isn’t always feasible in these challenging financial times. Allowing team members to bring their children to the office with them is enough to solve one barrier keeping people away from the commercial workplace.

This is one example of how offices are adding perks to draw people back to work – but there’s more. Let’s look at 3 other benefits that are gaining momentum within the office scene as companies try to win back their teams:

Free Lunch

Free, pre-packed lunches are also becoming a norm for in-office employees. Companies are providing free meals for their workers who have come back to the office. Not only does this financially benefit team members, but it also mitigates the risks of having to enter and exit the office building to get lunch from external restaurants.

Learning Pods for Children

With workers bringing their children to the office, many companies are creating positive educational environments for the little ones. Companies are setting up learning pods for children – and they’re even hiring professional tutors to teach them.

Discounts on Parking

Parking at home is free, so offices needed to compete if they wanted to win workers back. Free or discounted parking is becoming another industry standard within the office sector as companies want to make the transition back to the office as smooth as possible.

Companies are heavily investing in their commercial operations to get their workers to return. Will these efforts introduce new amenities that expand the current workspace model?

Hotels Offering Day Rates to Lure the WFH Crowd

As the old saying goes, hard times foster growth.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the hospitality sector is changing so rapidly. Hotels have had a tough year.

2020 introduced challenges for every facet of commercial real estate – but travel-based industries saw unparalleled disruption. For the first time, travel bans and market closures put all tourism on hold. Whether for work or play, there were no guests to be found in vacant hotels for months.

Reopening markets brought reprieve for many CRE sectors, but hotels still had a lot of work to do. The lifting of official travel restrictions simply was not enough to attract guests back into hotels. Social distancing concerns for health and safety kept guests at bay, preventing hotels from seeing any relief.

The Hotel Space is Reasserting its Value

As a result of the unsatisfactory market climate and negative sentiments from the public, the hotel space has been forced to reassert its value. Over the last few months, hotels have been working to change up their gameplans and re-calibrate their models.

Since these efforts have kicked off, we’re seeing hotel robots, tech-powered sanitation, and effortless social distancing dominate the hotel scene. These developments have made hotels cleaner, safer, and healthier than ever.

But, with tourism remaining notably low, hotels needed to further their efforts and find a new target demographic.

The New Strategy: WFH Professionals

Instead of jet setting leisure-lovers, hotels have shifted their focus to the world of business.

Right now, hotels are offering their rooms as personal office spaces to attract business crowds. It’s been months since offices have been closed, leaving a massive population of workers without an official place to work.

The WFH trend has been difficult to adapt to, forcing households to try and fit everything into a single space. At this point, many professionals are tired of working from home – but they’re also not ready to go back to bustling office spaces.

As a solution, hotels have introduced the solo office space.

Hotels across the country have begun offering daily rates for out-of-office professionals looking for a peaceful place to do their work. Of course, they’ll also gain the added bonus of access to all of the amenities the hotel has to offer. Dining, fitness, pools, and other luxury options are attracting business people to give the daily hotel workspace a whirl.

Blending Hospitality with Office Needs

This isn’t the first time that hotels have considered adopting professionally-focused strategies to enhance their business models. Even before the pandemic, when remote working was becoming an increasingly popular trend, hotels were dipping their toes into a flex-space system.

The contemporary hotel model has been seeking to create a place that perfectly adapts to a guest’s evolving needs. Whether it be work, play, or relaxation, the future of hotels continues to point towards flexibility.

Looking ahead, commercial real estate professionals should be considering how this innovative hotel model will adjust when offices finally do re-open and welcome their teams back again. Keep your eyes on the rapidly-changing market to see what happens next.

What’s Happening in the 5G World in 2021

The 5G revolution is unfolding before our very eyes – but if you don’t look closely, you’ll miss it.

5G, or fifth-generation of cellular technology, has been promising lightning fast speeds and incredible bandwidths since its initial announcement in 2019.

However, it was still a far-off reality at the time. 5G’s intensity requires a substantial technological infrastructure to actually deliver on those wow-factor promises. At the time, the network lacked the foundation for 5G to become the national standard of connectivity.

Since then, leaders in tech and communications have been working ardently to build the network to host 5G – and they’re not doing it alone.

Commercial real estate plays a significant role in preparing for the full-bodied launch of 5G. Being at the forefront of the commercial scene, CRE’s network of buildings will be primary homes to 5G tools and apps. This is creating a substantial link between this new technology and commercial real estate.

CRE pros need to keep their eyes on 5G’s progress. Here’s what we need to be watching in the 5G space for the new year:

Tracking 2020’s Progress

2020 was expected to be the year that 5G took off. This prediction only came true to a certain degree. In 2020, 5G has been slowly rolling out. The transition from 4G to 5G is proving to be a slower process than initially expected.

4G LTE remains the bulk processor for mobile network connections. Meanwhile, 5G’s infrastructure is gradually being built. Today, the primary goal of cellular companies is focused on development. Setting up, perfecting the tools, and working on facilitating a seamless transition remains top of mind for 5G in 2020.

The jump to 5G is immense. When 5G becomes the standard, running at its full potential, the world will see the tech boost we’ve all been waiting for.

What’s To Come in 2021

Announcements have already been made that 5G will be coming into tangible effect in the new year. Apple has already claimed that 60% of its new phones will be running on 5G in 2021. AT&T is also planning to scale its 5G network in the new year.

When this happens, the world’s latent tech capacity will finally be able to come into play. Right now, we have many technologies, such as smart cities and IoT buildings, that aren’t yet at their fullest potentials. 5G will provide the necessary power and speed to give the world a demonstration of the heights of modern tech.

In 2021, 5G will continue to be more active in the mainstream. By the time we’re approaching 2022, it’s possible that we’ll be on the precipice of a full 5G activation.

Impacts on the Commercial Space

In the coming years, expect PropTech to erupt across all sectors. Commercial real estate will be at the forefront of 5G’s transition – and professionals in this industry need to be ready to carry the weight. As we prepare to welcome 2021, now is a good time to strengthen the tech infrastructures of commercial portfolios.