Getting brokers out to your property can seem nearly impossible in today’s fast-paced and competitive industry.
There are countless events and obligations competing for everyone’s attention. Having a broker event can be a great way to incentivize the brokers to get out to your property and create some buzz around it.
In this article, we’ll explain the types of broker events we typically see in the market and the pros and cons of hosting these events.
What Is a Broker Event?
A broker event is an event typically planned and executed by the leasing team to incentivize tenant rep brokers to visit a property or generate buzz around a project or new development.
Events may also be held for existing buildings, especially when:
- A large block of space comes onto the market
- A property has recently been renovated
- A property is off the beaten path
- A property has an existing stigma in the market that no longer applies
Events can be as simple as a happy hour, lunch, or dinner at the property, which typically require top-notch door prizes to draw broker attention. For new developments, it often makes sense to host “milestone” events (groundbreakings, topping out parties, etc.) to bring brokers out to the site to see the progress on the site.
In other cases, you may play off of a larger event. For example, during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, AQUILA hosted a brunch at Lakewood Center and provided tickets and a shuttle to the golf tournament after the event.
In other cases, especially if a property doesn’t exist yet, it may make sense to host an event in a popular central location. AQUILA recently hosted an event at the world-famous Franklin Barbecue to promote the Four Points IV development, rather than asking the brokers to visit the northwest location.
Hosting an event helps inform the brokers about the property (or if hosted at the property, to actually see the space or activity on the site) and get them excited about it so that they can better market the property to their clients, the prospective tenants.
These are typically planned by the brokerage firm and paid for by the property owner or developer.
Get Brokers to the Property
If your goal is to get brokers to your property, it can be beneficial to host an event at or around your property. Once you get brokers to the property, they will actually get to see the space and may be more likely to bring their clients back to the property after they see it – especially if major improvements have been made. It can often take incentives to get the brokers out to the property. We’ve seen everything from gift cards to surrounding restaurants for the first 50 brokers to a trip to Cancun for two, and everything in between, including cash prizes.
Groundbreaking events or topping-out celebrations are often held when a new property construction commences or maximum height is achieved. They are a great way to show the real estate community, the press, and everyone else involved that the property is making progress and to keep the project top of mind.
Brokers also like games and competitions. Activities that anyone can do like cornhole or a putting green with a prize for the winner will also encourage people to attend an event.
Getting tenant rep brokers from various companies together in one space is one of the biggest advantages of these types of events. This allows the landlord brokers and owners to network with the tenant rep brokers and form relationships that lead to a signed lease.
Marketing your property can get expensive, especially when you include events in the mix, but the events can also generate free marketing in the form of earned media. This earned media can vary depending on how large your event is.
For example, when you have a groundbreaking event, if you invite the press, it is very likely that they will write about the event – helping your property gain attention. For smaller events, by hiring a photographer, you can gain attention by uploading photos from the event to social media and tagging people and places in them. This will encourage others to share these on their own profiles – increasing your reach.
Additionally, getting brokers out to the property is more likely to get them talking about the project – both amongst themselves and to your clients.
With this busy industry, it can be hard to guarantee attendance. While you can typically ensure junior broker attendance with a good giveaway, if you’re targeting larger tenants (and therefore senior brokers) it can be hard to get their attention amongst the numerous family, philanthropic, industry, and client engagements already on their calendars.
If an event is successful and has a large turnout, it may actually be difficult to have quality conversations with all of the brokers in attendance.
You never want the event itself to outshine the point of the event. You want people to learn about the project and come away excited about the building, not just about the free swag they got or the fun game they played.
Broker events can get very expensive, and they can typically require a large budget to put on a quality event. And to make an impression on the brokers and actually get them to RSVP, you have to offer an enticing event.
As a part of this budget, you need to account for giveaways, door prizes, and/or SWAG. With brokers, the old adage “time is money” couldn’t be more true, and as a result, it can require an enticing giveaway to catch their attention and get them to the event. Giveaway budgets can often be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some events have drawings for large giveaways with things like a Big Green Egg or vacations for two, while others offer a smaller door prize to each person who attends (or at least the first 50 or so to arrive).
Additionally, broker events can also be time-consuming to plan. Before you begin planning an event you should make sure that you have a team in place to handle all the detailed planning such as venue, catering, invites, and all the other details that will make the event run smoothly.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts that must be considered and it takes a lot of time and multiple people to work out all of the details.
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Ultimately, you can weigh the pros and cons in the context of your budget, your property, and your target audience to decide if it makes sense for your property.
Bottom Line: No matter how much you spend or how much time you put into it, if a deal comes out of it, it will be worth it.
If you are having trouble getting tenants into your property, consider hiring a project leasing broker. They can help you find your perfect tenant and can even help you leverage broker events to find them.