Traditional property management can be costly and wasteful. A popular study estimated the cost of adding a tenant’s name to a traditional directory to be roughly $400.
Such a project would require about 2 technicians and can take up to 3 weeks. Furthermore, the listing does nothing for an elevated visitor and tenant experience.
That’s pretty unremarkable return on investment (ROI) for a traditional building directory.
Digital building directories, on the other hand, do wonders for long term cost savings and customer experience.
What is a Digital Building Directory?
For those new to the technology, a digital building directory comprises a large panel display (it can be touchscreen/interactive or non-touch) that is powered by a media player and content management software to show a list of tenants or office locations, a map of the building and other information like news, leasing contacts, weather and more.
At the core of great customer experience is proper communication and this is where a building directory signage excels. Regular and relevant communication with building tenants creates well-informed customers. It is important to realize, well informed customers are happy customers. Happy customers lead to high occupancy and retention.
Such qualitative benefits are the real ROI of a digital building directory.
Digital directories provide tenants and visitors with the information they need where and when they need it most. Property management companies and facilities managers who can’t appreciate that benefit are missing out.
1. Better Tenant and Visitor Experiences
A crisp, HD digital display provides more digital real estate, will stand out, draw more eyeballs and most important, provide more information than a steel plate.
Tenants can be listed using their company logos for brand reinforcement, post office hours, and even include information about scheduled or unscheduled closings.
The digital directory can also display weather, traffic, news, etc. alongside tenant information.
This adds value to the directory and can condition tenants to look at the displays at specific times.
For example, displaying traffic in the evening or during lunch hours will get tenants in the habit of looking at the directory to plan their journey home.
Managers can take advantage of this by simultaneously displaying content such as promotions and important announcements.
A digital building directory can also personalize experiences.
Managers can add a general welcome message that will impress and orient visitors. Tenants can also display specific welcome messages for clients or guests to company events.
Such personalization creates memorable and emotional experiences which are huge drivers for customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Interactive directories drive even deeper and more meaningful engagement.
The always-connected status of today’s customers and their ability to find information in seconds puts them in control of their own experience. Customers are forever yearning for this control and interactive directories give it to them.
Visitors can get a lot more information from interactive directories which will empower them to prepare for their visit. Such information includes wayfinding maps, floor plans, area amenities, transportation resources, enhanced landing pages for tenants, etc.
Building directory signage also adds visual appeal and modernizes the building.
Digital lobby directories lend to the overall perception of a technology-savvy organization, providing a unified high-tech appearance. They help create a modern ambiance that’s fresh and exciting.
A growing number of organizations are displaying their energy consumption numbers, water use, indoor environmental quality, etc., on building directories.
By doing so, property and facilities managers can align the brand with the concept of conservation, and tenants and guests will associate the organization with that lifestyle. This is a great opportunity to develop depth.
2. Long-term Cost Savings
The cost savings from a digital building directory are a product of improved operational efficiency.
Sharing energy consumption numbers with building occupants will lead to behavioral changes and energy savings. Utility consumption will reduce, which in turn reduces utility costs. Tenants will also be able to easily identify opportunities for greater efficiency even when systems are operating as intended.
Digital tenant directories allows property and facilities managers to be very nimble.
Updates can be made in real-time. For example, updates to the tenant list can be instantaneously from any internet-enabled computer. This requires very little effort since there is no need for expensive parts or specialized training like with traditional directories.
Managers can also generate revenue through advertising opportunities.
They can post leasing information to attract new tenants.
Tenants can advertise their services to other tenants and guests.
Local businesses can advertise their services/products to tenants and guests.
Major advertisers can advertise their services in buildings with high amounts of traffic.
A great example of this advertising potential is the purchase of Captivate Network by Gannett. Captivate is the leading provider of elevator news/media screens. Gannett, home of USA Today, is a leading media and marketing company. This partnership is a testimony to the business opportunity created by incorporating an advertising strategy into building signage.
3. Emergency Messaging Solution
Building directory signage can also be used as a highly visual emergency messaging solution in a crisis.
Digital directories as emergency messaging solutions address the visual component of mass notification by using graphics to increase comprehension, recollection, and retention of emergency communications.
Because of their strategic placement, they tend to be intrusive and reach recipients quickly, making them great for crowd control. Also, no sign-up is required.
To close, the value of a digital building directory cannot be emphasized enough, especially in this digital age where experiences, and not price, define value.