It turns out the Willis Tower is the largest in HqO’s portfolio. This is understandable since it has around 3.8 million square feet of rentable space and houses over 15,000 tenants. But what is more interesting than the building’s size is how fast it has been able to onboard a new technology like a tenant experience app. I spoke with Mark Rosenthal, VP of Marketing, Sales and Success at HqO (personally that seems like a lot to put on one person but, hey, what do I know). He told me that, “We’re seeing incredible adoption as of day one alone at Willis Tower. We typically aim to get fifteen percent of the population onboarded within the first two-three weeks of launch. In our first five hours, more than ten percent of Willis Tower tenants have downloaded the app. We expect this to snowball rapidly as tenant activations ramp up and word of mouth takes off.”
To get ten percent of such a large and diverse group of workers to adopt an unfamiliar technology in only five hours is quite a feat. When I asked Mark what he attributed this to he said, ”EQ Office and Blackstone are some of the top office landlords in the world for a reason. They understand the value and the power of providing tenants with a premium experience day-in and day-out at their property. EQ Office strives to create great experiences that allow its tenants to thrive, and pays such close attention to the big and small details that make a huge difference for those who work at Willis Tower.”
Interestingly, a large part of this premium experience is created by good communication strategies. Mark explained, “EQ Office has always been very communicative with its tenants. They’ve mastered a style and cadence for traditional communication strategies, including newsletters, emails to tenant businesses, onsite signage, etc., which gives us a great jumping off point to enhance communication with in-app messaging, push notifications, concierge functionality, and more.”
Another possible reason behind the amount of early adopters in the building might have to do with all of the different things that the building has to offer. Willis Tower is incredibly well amenitized, which makes the app even more valuable to tenants. The building has Tone, a state of the art fitness facility, beautifully designed, inviting cafés, lounges and workspaces like Tower House and Altitude, and the Steel Room, a private event space and bar for tenant use. Mark told me that, “Occupants can now book and view fitness class schedules, learn more about all amenities and events available to them, and order ahead and purchase coffee, breakfast, and lunch from the various food and beverage offerings in the tower, all through the app.”
One of the great things about early adoption of a product, besides proof of concept, is that it creates feedback that can be used to make the offering even better. “We’ve heard from multiple people that they want their specific bus or train lines added to the transit schedule section of the app,” Mark said. “By doing that, we’re able to immediately impact their workday by making it more convenient, productive, and ultimately, enjoyable.”
I want to say congrats to everyone at HqO, EQ Office and Blackstone for this accomplishment. I also want to say thanks to the HqO team for being so forthcoming with their journey. Helping the property community understand the speed at which these new technologies can be adopted with the right strategy can help speed up the advancement of the way our buildings run and are run.