As the holiday spending returns to the prependemic norms, commercial properties from retail shops to warehouses, restaurants, and offices, are expected to experience a spike in foot traffic and sales. With this, comes the responsibility to effectively manage the increase in demand by promptly addressing tenant’s needs.
It is important to note that such properties are not just a place for making money.
This means you need to prepare in advance to provide shoppers with an enjoyable holiday experience. This ensures tenants can efficiently carry out their business activities without a hitch.
This article will explore the multitude of ways you can do so. From physical preparations to strategies to streamline operations, leveraging technology for efficiency, ensuring compliance, and elevating the customer experience, we’ll cover it all.
With less than a month before the holidays begin, let’s dive straight in.
Getting your property physically ready for the holiday rush
The holiday season is a great time to enhance the property’s appeal and ensure it’s safe and functional.
Aesthetic enhancements: You just can’t pass this season without the lights and festive decorations on your property. Consider going with a theme that complements your tenant’s business. Invest in energy-efficient and eco-friendly lighting and decorating options that not just look good but are also practical. Last but not least, be mindful of what impact your chosen theme or decorations can have on people belonging to various religions and cultures during this time of the year.
Safety protocols: Ensure your properties are safe inside and out. In the days leading to the holiday rush and once it has begun, schedule regular inspections on the property. Make sure it’s free of potential hazards such as chances of slipping on snowy pathways. Get all lighting checked to prevent accidents due to low visibility.
Also, put a plan in place in case there are emergencies such as power outages or pipe bursts.
Essential maintenance: Get your commercial property ready for increased use. More foot traffic means, more stress on restrooms, EV charging stations, HVAC systems, lighting load, and outdoor maintenance. To prepare for this influx, schedule an inspection of your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. This will ensure they are not just working efficiently, but are ready to take on the extra load the season will bring.
Also consider setting up additional facilities such as extra parking, signage, and rest areas.
Operational strategies to undertake before the holiday rush
It is good to plan ahead of the seasonal influx. When the season begins, you are ready to tackle any challenge, with minimum disruption for your tenants.
Schedule maintenance activities: Rather than scrambling for resources at the eleventh hour, let your field service suppliers know about the maintenance issues you are expecting to show up once the foot traffic increases. This will help them to check their availability and provide you with a maintenance schedule beforehand. Your commercial tenants can rearrange their business activities accordingly.
Communicate office closure: Year-end is holiday time for everyone. Nonetheless, your tenants might still expect you to be available when they need you. Rather than keeping them waiting to get a maintenance issue resolved, it’s a good idea to let them know what’s the best time to reach out. You might also want to tell them who to reach out to, in case you are not available.
Develop an emergency plan: Assess potential risks, set aside a budget, put a rapid response strategy in place, prioritize tasks, and keep your suppliers on standby in case of an unexpected event. Have a foolproof plan should something go wrong. Also, let your residents know what role they play when faced with an emergency.
Leveraging technology for efficiency
The fast-paced nature of commercial property management requires maintenance managers to efficiently address issues for a better tenant experience. Implementing the right technology for the right purpose can help streamline maintenance operations during the holiday rush.
Property maintenance management software: A robust property maintenance solution ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. You can quickly create work orders and assign them to suppliers. You can track progress, and ensure SLAs are met and payments are timely released to the suppliers.
In addition, a cloud-based solution lets you access every piece of information on your property. Whether you decide to stay back to manage work or are running operations from your holiday destination, you are always in a loop. With data-driven insights into your commercial property’s operations, you are in a better position to quickly make strategic decisions.
Dedicated tenant app: You can also leverage technology to provide your tenants with a better experience when placing service requests during the holiday rush. A dedicated tenant app is the best way to do so.
To begin with, it will reduce your load of phone calls and piles of emails to handle. More importantly, it will help tenants to get their emergency requests addressed swiftly. They can choose the supplier who will serve them, get real-time notifications on work progress, and rate their service. This enhances transparency and tenant engagement.
Integrated supplier network: When the going gets tough, it’s your network of trusted service suppliers that will save the day. However, with the holiday rush, they may also be busy or not available to attend to your quote requests.
You can use technology to search and find certified local suppliers. You can also send them work invites to collaborate with you as you handle an influx of maintenance requests. Moreover, you can track their performance in real time and release payments as soon as the work is completed.
Ensuring regulatory compliance
Keeping up with the changing regulatory compliance during this peak time of the year can be a real challenge for commercial property managers. You will need to update your compliance management system. Additionally, you’ll have to ensure that industry-related, state-wise, and business-specific laws are being enforced.
Implement and update safety protocols: With the increase in foot traffic, you might want to increase the frequency of safety inspections being carried out during the holiday season. The purpose is to ensure compliance with fire codes, building codes, and other safety regulations. You might also need to step up your emergency preparedness and put a better response plan in place.
Manage tenant activities: This is also a good time to share holiday safety guidelines with your tenants to ensure they comply with the regulations. Also, provide alternate lines of communication so they can always reach you through one means or another.
Address environmental and health standards: More traffic means additional waste generated. It also means a greater need for cleanliness. Ensure you are timely and correctly addressing waste management and sanitation protocols. Get in touch with service providers who can help you with these added seasonal maintenance challenges.
Keep everything well documented: Keep monitoring all maintenance activities in real time. This will ensure compliance with the regulations and help you catch and address non-compliance issues quickly. Maintain thorough and organized records of all the compliance measures you have taken. Ensure any non-compliance incidents are reported and documented for audit purposes.
Addressing challenges of the post-pandemic landscape
While most people are shopping like it’s 2019 again, consumer behavior, health concerns, and safety expectations have evolved considerably.
From flexible use of space to adopting touchless technologies, enhanced cleaning measures, making use of outdoor spaces, and ensuring all staff is well trained on the protocols being implemented, maintenance managers need to make their commercial properties a safe and inviting place during the holiday rush.
Collect feedback from the tenants and learn from past trends
Tenant feedback is a good starting point. Look at maintenance records from the past. Analyze previous years’ data, identify patterns, most frequent issues, and areas that require more attention.
Also, look at supplier’s performance to make more informed decisions when renewing contracts. Practice better contingency planning. Make collaborations with other departments to work more effectively. Do better resource management and focus on a more customer-centric approach.
As the festive season approaches, it presents new opportunities to deliver exceptional experiences to property owners and occupants. This is your time to boost the reputation of your property.
The key is to start planning early. Handle maintenance requests proactively and ensure staff readiness. Last but not least, leverage technology to make your operations more efficient, processes more transparent, procedures more compliant, and users feel safer.
i4T Maintenance is one such commercial property maintenance management platform. It allows you to effectively manage work orders, obtain multiple quotes from certified suppliers, ensure company compliance, and offer tenants a dedicated service request app.
Key areas include ensuring safety and meeting legal standards. You should also enhance the experience for shoppers and visitors, maintain smooth operations, and prepare your staff for the busy period.
Begin your preparations a few months ahead, ideally as fall starts. This gives enough time to address all necessary details.
Your checklist should cover thorough safety inspections, plans for emergencies, ensuring decorations are fire-safe, and adhering to health and cleanliness guidelines.
Decorate to create a festive feel, manage the flow of people and vehicles efficiently, and keep high standards for both cleanliness and customer service.
These include adjusting to how consumer habits have changed. Implement health and safety measures for ongoing health concerns, and use technology to manage crowds and provide online experiences.
Hot off the press!
With our cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of how the Field Service Management sector operates, the i4TGlobal Team loves to share industry insights to help streamline your business processes and generate new leads. We are driven by innovation and are passionate about delivering solutions that are transparent, compliant, efficient and safe for all stakeholders and across all touch points.