Office Building Owners & Occupiers Co-Creating New Experiences

May 10, 2024



Office Building Owners & Occupiers Co-Creating New Experiences

Office Building Owners & Occupiers Co-Creating New Experiences

David Abrams is the co-founder and CEO of HILO, a platform that is digitizing customer experience to create connected communities of people in buildings. David is also host of TEN, the Tenant Experience Network. David brings his entrepreneurial and marketing background and context to explore commercial real estate landlords’, owners’, and occupiers’ evolving circumstances. He explains why they need to be collaborating to create hospitality-driven, new tech-enhanced environments and programmed experiences for tenants—for each individually and together as a community.


[02:29] David takes a while to sort out what he wants to study at college ending up focusing on marketing and accounting.

[03:01] David enjoys the ability accounting gives him to explore how businesses operate.

[03:49] As a first entrepreneurial opportunity, David gets involved in repositioning a struggling agency.

[04:58] Early agency clients span commercial real estate and nonprofit, the latter which David finds especially satisfying.

[05:45] Raw Society is launched to focus on critical strategic work before the creative process begins.

[07:15] The ESG movement makes building operators start to think about environmental impact.

[07:52] What is the effect of the densification of people living and working in central business districts?

[09:13] New thinking is first driven by occupants, relating to basic ESG initiatives like recycling.

[10:14] Operators go paperless, initiating digital communications their tenants’ employees.

[11:32] David loves the opportunity to start creating environments that people enjoyed being in.

[12:16] The smartest operators recognized they could develop better relationships and community by connecting their tenants.

[12:55] The ultimate goal is to improve tenant retention through better customer service and experiences.

[14:09] Every building has constant turnover—both tenants and tenants’ employees.

[14:51] David launches his new company in 2019, gets financing and is in full growth mode when the pandemic hits.

[15:37] As an entrepreneur, David recognizes his two choices - give up or dig in.

[17:38] With little clarity about the future, they tried to be pragmatic about future technology needs.

[21:30] New realizations emerge after a difficult period that extended operators’ boundaries.

[23:09] Operators realize their responsibility to be involved in spaces beyond their buildings.

[24:24] Extra costs can be covered by charging premium rent or sharing new community spaces.

[26:20] Connectivity is a huge driver of experience when it is pervasive and consistent.

[27:18] Investments go into programming, content, services and staff to offer white glove experiences.

[28:51] Office and multifamily categories are all hiring people from the hospitality industry.

[29:37] Programming, services, and staffing are becoming integral and significant to buildings’ offerings.

[31:00] The key factor is not the size of the building, but the commitment of its ownership.

[31:49] Across building classes, technology can be an equalizer to provide higher levels of service.

[34:05] Technology delivers better experiences and reduces friction when people choose to enter the built world.

[35:27] How can we put the power of personalization into the hands of the individual?

[36:29] David imagines we are between first and second base in the evolution of office buildings.

[37:15] People need to congregate for the right reasons in the right environments to do the right kind of work.

[39:49] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Occupiers and landlords need to think beyond the work that needs to get done in an office and co-create experiences that support good work. Consider all the various touchpoints for each person across technology, programming, content, services and staffing.


“Buildings are not silos. They're part of a neighborhood, they're part of a city and they create community.”

“It's a conversation around where should I work on any given day where can great work happen?”

“How can we put the power of personalization into the hands of the individual. How can they use technology to better connect and engage with all the various spaces and places in their lives and have it not be top down driven.”

“People need to come together for the right reasons in the right environments with the right people to do the right kind of work.”

“The occupier and the landlord need to be open minded. They need to think beyond just the work that needs to get done and start to think about creating an experience that will support great work.”