Everywhere you look these days, you can’t miss the dramatic changes happening in the real estate industry. There’s a “for sale” on a building one day. The next, it’s “just sold” and off the market.
This rapid change extends to all areas of the country and is especially seen among real estate investment trusts (REIT) that own or finance income-producing real estate across a range of property sectors, such as office buildings, hotels, or shopping centers.
Let’s dive into the latest industry trends we’re seeing with REITs and how the Salesforce platform is helping address the needs of this fast-changing industry.
The REIT industry is transforming
Last year was one of the best for REITs. The FTSE Nareit Composite, a free-float adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index of U.S. Equity and Mortgage REITs, delivered a total return of slightly more than 40% for 2021, its best performance since 1976.
The REIT property types that drove the biggest returns were self-storage, due to the pandemic influence on decluttering and relocation, followed by industrial, residential, and retail. Office REITs have delivered fewer returns due to the remote work trend, but should see stronger demand in the future as employees start going back to the office.
Some of the significant REIT trends driving the transformation of retail, commercial, and industrial real estate include:
- More buildings converting to mixed-use: This conversion could be from commercial to industrial or residential to retail. It is moving towards a “live, work, and play” concept. For example, throughout 2020 and 2021, 41% of apartment conversions resulted from former office buildings.
- The rise of value-added and bundled business services: Companies are bringing in business models adjacent to their traditional operational services, such as partnerships with other providers that could deliver moving or appraisal services.
- Hotels expanding with flexible services: Hotels are catering to all kinds of customers due to remote work, whether that be with special rates for a work-cation or renting hotel rooms to locals to be used as offices for a day.
- Improved last-mile customer experiences: Curbside pickup at retail stores and restaurants surged with the pandemic and is expected to continue. According to Shopify, 41% of merchants plan to invest further in “buy online, pick up in-store” options like curbside pickup and click and collect.
How Salesforce is addressing the REIT tenant lifecycle
Many of our Silverline REIT clients are focused on using Salesforce’s marketing automation tools to create incredible experiences upfront for prospective tenants and then continuing that experience with their middle- and back-office operations. They are making sure their technology stack aligns with the tenant’s needs, from the application process to lease renewals to moving in.
There has been a demand in the market for tenant services supported by out-of-the-box thinking, such as leveraging chatbots, omni-channel experiences, or using analytics for predictive intelligence to anticipate what tenants need. REIT companies are relying on Slack to connect the ecosystem of brokers, agents, property managers, and external consultants and bring them into the tenant fold.
Salesforce takes a real estate 360 approach to track the entire tenant experience and meet tenants where they are at in that life cycle. These are the technology trends we are seeing in the hot real estate market and how companies are staying competitive by using Salesforce to capitalize on the momentum:
- Client and tenant acquisition: Many real estate clients want to centralize lead capture, including multi-channel activities like property walk-ins, referrals, and ads. Salesforce works to manage listings, automate lead capture, and set appointments to measure campaign ROI better.
- Lease application and onboarding: As tenants show interest in a property, many aspects of Salesforce workflow management are effective for portals, mobile apps, and automation and collaboration tools. Salesforce helps manage end-to-end lease applications, capture documents, action plans, and tenant move-in.
- Tenant service excellence: A great client/tenant experience is critical for maximizing property ROI, and scaling and automating white glove service is imperative for operations. Salesforce solutions personalize communications, highlight key dates like move-in and move-out, manage lease renewals, and provide valuable services.
Maximizing the REIT data exhaust
It is hard to say at this point whether 2022 will be as successful of a year for REITs as 2021 was. But looking to the future of property technology, there is an expectation that growth will lie in the innovation around data.
REITs are capitalizing on so-called data exhaust, which refers to the data generated as trails from digital or online activities, behaviors, and transactions. For REIT properties, this could include data from cell phones and credit cards, or location-based such as foot traffic to a building.
Data exhaust provides an accurate source of demographic information that can then be tapped into for forming business intelligence. Predictive analytics can be used to identify the trends and patterns in the real estate market that you can leverage to build a case for an investment or development opportunity, or to develop new products that could be potential revenue-producing centers.
Salesforce streamlines and optimizes your entire data process. It provides a single, unified view of all your siloed data sources and platforms. Salesforce dashboards replace the intensely manual processes of spreadsheets to visually showcase data and allow you to easily derive insights.
REIT solutions with Silverline
At Silverline, we have deep experience in both Salesforce and the real estate industry. We’ve worked with commercial and residential REITs to streamline their property and lease management lifecycle and create a central hub for all their property information. As the REIT market continues to grow and evolve, let Silverline be your partner to scale ahead with it. Find out how Silverline can help you stay ahead of industry shifts.