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April 6, 2016

4 Tips and Tricks for Your Next Broker Open House

RealMassive | Commercial Real Estate

What do you think of when you hear the words “open house”? Until I began working in commercial real estate, I thought of touring perfectly-staged homes and hoping to find fresh-baked cookies in the kitchens. However, CRE open houses are much more elaborate – though food is still a central theme! During my time as the marketing manager at Lincoln Property Company in Denver, I planned my fair share of these events, and I found that there are four essential components to hosting a killer open house.

         1. Schedule it around a meal –  Through trial and error, I discovered that events around breakfast or lunch time have the best turnout. According to Mark Hernandez, Marketing Manager at HPI and avid RealMassive user, “Hosting a lunch works really well. Since everyone has to eat, most brokers are inclined to attend the event if they know they are going to get a good meal out of it.” You want people to come for the food and stay long enough to take a look at your space. It’s even fun to serve food from local restaurants to highlight the surrounding amenities.

Image Courtesy of HPI Real Estate Services & Investments

2. Incorporate the building’s personality/have a memorable theme – You want to create an event that is memorable so that when brokers get a new client, your building is the first one that comes to mind. When I planned an event at a downtown property in Denver, we had a Cinco de Mayo celebration and included food from a nearby restaurant. When asked about successful themes at HPI events, Hernandez said, “I believe themes that play off the building’s personality have the greatest impact. Or a theme that is able relate to the personality of the type of tenants the landlord is seeking. I think the key is to create an experience that relates to what the building offers.” You want tenant rep brokers to immediately have clients come to mind who would fit perfectly in your space.

3. Don’t underestimate giveaways – Another no-brainer, but still important. Your space can be absolutely amazing, but people usually need a more compelling reason to walk through the door. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but definitely enough to get them there. For one of our events, we gave away tickets to a Rockie’s game at Coors field, which was within walking distance of the property. I’ve seen everything from GoPros to iPads and TVs. This could also be a good time/place to announce broker incentives for the property. You could even give the brokers who show up for the event an exclusive incentive offer for bringing tenants to the space.

4. Give them a reason to walk through the space – Before your guests leave, make sure they have seen what they came to see! It usually helps to give the guests a reason to walk around. I heard about one event where the brokers participated in a disc golf course that was spread out throughout the property. We usually placed our giveaway drawing entry table at the back of the space, which required the brokers to walk the length of the space to enter to win a GoPro. It also helps to have architectural plans hanging around if it’s a shell, so the brokers can picture what the space might look like once it’s built out.

Image Courtesy of HPI Real Estate Services & Investments

Although broker open houses are a traditional form of marketing, they are essential to assist brokers and future-tenants in visualizing the space as their own. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, the networking advantage gained by attending these events is of huge value to participants. You may not always get immediate interest in your property, but if you make a lasting impression on the minds of brokers, they will be thinking of you weeks or months later when they do get that client that is a perfect fit for your property.

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