Real estate management companies have faced an unprecedented challenge in the wake of the pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of workers switching to teleworking, offices being vacated and companies having to consider whether they need to lease office space on a similar scale as before. Although the situation has changed since 2020, companies leasing out offices have had to adopt a forward-looking strategy to survive. So did CPI, whose parent company is the market leader in real estate management in Central and Eastern Europe, with an income-generating portfolio worth more than €20 billion. The Hungarian CPI currently manages 701 thousand square metres of real estate, where around 80 thousand people work. In addition to sustainability and energy improvements, the company considers operating high-quality in-house services as a key to its development. Their motto is to stay one step ahead of the competition, and they have escaped forward from the economic impact of the negative events of recent years: CPI has acquired a majority stake in two real estate management companies, Immofinanz and S Immo. The acquisition has not only doubled the size of the portfolio under management and the number of employees but has also vastly increased the size of CPI’s substantial knowledge capital.
Zita Kovács Bertók says that there are mergers where different experience and professional knowledge can be ideally combined, and this is exactly the case with this acquisition. “In a turbulent market environment, where trends and tendencies that have been established in the past seem to be unstable, at CPI we are fundamentally changing our approach to offices after a series of acquisitions, daring and able to offer something new, synthesising knowledge and experience. The accumulation of different types of knowledge is a huge advantage for the company, which we want to further strengthen with the renewed structure." Of course, strengthened market leadership is worthless without a long-term strategy. CPI tailors its plans to changing tenant needs. “We are aware of the fact that office life has long been more than just people going to a modern building to do their work and going home at the end of the day. The pandemic, the energy crisis have changed habits, needs and therefore the relationship between tenants and landlords in recent years. Anyone who has not noticed this as real estate manager and landlord is now in big trouble,” says Bea Déri.
CPI had to dream a new vision to meet current tenant expectations. The company focuses on people, spaces, functions, experiences and safety. Wellbeing services were tailored to the new needs of people working in offices, and the redesign of public spaces and their functions were reimagined to provide new experiences, a diverse working environment and a sense of security for employees. “Many of our tenants complained that the pandemic and telework had left many of their workers socially isolated, so we needed to offer them an experience in the office buildings that would lure them back into the community. A place where they can feel safe. The war in Ukraine and the economic difficulties have brought us a period of uncertainty. If people are mentally and physically comfortable at work, they will be happy to come to this environment. The need to create a safe bubble for them has visibly increased,” explains Bea Déri.
According to Zita Kovács-Bertók, the acquisition of Immofinanz and S Immo has brought and consolidated several tenant wellbeing services, including the HIP (Human Innovation Programme) created at CPI and the myhive brand knowledge base from Immofinanz, which has been a huge competitive advantage. “Thanks to the acquisition, we are able to combine and further develop the somewhat different but equally value-creating ways of thinking, and incorporate best practices into our sales strategy. With our products, we were the first in the real estate market to develop comprehensive and creative systems that were not just about business conditions and square metres, but about people. For the first time in history, we raised the office worker into the centre of attention, trying to understand and serve their needs.”
CPI launched the Human Innovation Programme to make it possible for employees to use services in the office building providing sporting and convenience amenities, focusing on health, and to manage their day-to-day affairs locally, saving a lot of time for tenants. The myhive brand is focusing on flexible office solutions, functionality and community building, as well as providing a space for professional events and after-work recreation for office workers. The company felt this was important because it wants to build a long-term relationship with its tenants, and the best way to do this is to make the everyday lives of its employees more comfortable and enjoyable. For CPI it is a key consideration to create the office of the future with changing tenant needs in mind, and to support the leasing process and tenant retention by repositioning buildings, aligning new and existing amenities and products, and adopting a renewed sales approach. That is why the company wanted to change the corporate structure and set up the business development department.
“With the change in organisational structure, CPI sought to develop a new vision for leasing and to further improve the benefits of wellbeing brands, in addition to more effective collaboration between partner departments. The company is now able to react faster to market trends, changes and new tenant needs“, explained the Business Development Director. By supporting the renewed leasing processes, CPI is building on a combination of individual services provided by brands unique in the market, to create a competitive advantage and remain differentiated in the market.