Experience Makers Talk with Luke Barker – Client and Communications Manager at Northwood Regional UK’s Broad Gate in Leeds.
What role does experience making have to play in the property industry?
In my view, the property industry is catching up with retail and hospitality to understand the importance of creating moments which ‘surprise and delight’ end users. As property professionals, we must never underplay the importance of individuals who bring life and soul to buildings through added value experiences. These don’t always have to be on a grand scale; simple attention to detail can make all the difference – one of my favourite examples that demonstrates this principle is encouraging our Front of House teams to get out from behind the reception desk, thus removing the physical barrier between occupier and landlord and encouraging interaction.
What’s the favourite experience you have been part of making?
My role at Broad Gate (Northwood Regional UK’s flagship building in Leeds) allows me to work with local businesses and national brands to bring collaborative pop-up experiences into the building. We recently worked with Harvey Nichols in Leeds to create a Wine and Gift shop within the main lobby – this created a great amount of Social Media buzz and added value to our occupiers’ daily experience and use of the building. It’s rewarding to see an event through from an idea to reality and the feedback we received from tenants was really positive.
What’s the best experience you have experienced and why?
This example comes from the luxury sector, but the principles can be transferred. I stayed at the Palazzo Fendi Hotel in Rome where the staff, knowing I had a keen interest in fashion but wasn’t necessarily typical of their ‘high-end’ customer, took such pleasure in making my experience memorable and special. I was given a private tour of the houses’ fur atelier and spoke with artisans – seeing them select and prepare mink pelts in the process of creating a classic Fendi fur coat. It was an experience not many others will ever have and something that cost them nothing to provide other than their time – knowing that the chances of making a sale at the end were virtually non-existent. However, the experience has ensured that I’ll be a lifelong fan of the brand.
What’s the future of experience making?
I think technology will play an increasingly bigger role in our sector. For example, at Broad Gate we’ve just launched a digital concierge platform which has had a dramatic impact on the way we deliver client service in all areas. Systems that save people time and automate mundane daily tasks, whilst embedding a sense of community and connectedness, will be the future of experience making. That said, at the heart of any experience there must be a human touch.
Why have you joined Experience Makers and what do you expect from it?
We think that the best ideas come from sharing and collaborating. I hope to be able to meet and network with people who share my passion for this industry as well as furthering my development as someone who brings life and soul to property.