There has been a lot of buzz about the drone service industry and the many applications of drone technology in business. Perhaps more than any other industry, commercial real estate professionals have embraced drones as a regular part of their business.
Aerial imagery isn't brand new in CRE, but it is not uncommon for real estate professionals to adopt and institute practices simply because they are deemed best or the market standard.
Certainly, there is something to be said for the hype about drones. If many of the big commercial real estate players in your region are working with drone service providers, then you can be fairly certain that the ROI is there, right?
Sure, but rather than blindly deploying what is still a fairly new and ever-changing technology, it is good to understand the various use cases for drones in commercial real estate. When you do, you can begin to consider how each can be adapted to fit your business in a way that drives growth and longevity.
Location, Location, Location
One of the most classic applications of drone technology, regardless of industry, is for content creation. In commercial real estate, location, size, and scale are hugely commoditized, and it is important to be able to highlight these things in marketing materials.
Drone aerial imagery can answer pertinent questions for prospective buyers and tenants regarding highway access, parking, and more. The vantage and quality of footage provided by drone imaging is so valuable for this ability to reveal nuance.
With still-photography and ground-level video, it is just not possible to show off the businesses nearby that are not competitors, but allies for the heavy foot traffic they draw.
For Retail Especially
Neighborhoods are important, but not as important as neighbors. Consider Hotelling's model of spatial competition. The law states that when two similar businesses exist within one geographic region, specific location becomes much more important than product.
This is why we often find competing businesses on main junctions in the centers of towns. For at least one half of the town, each store is the closest option. If your commercial property is near to that central point, your potential tenants know they can mitigate the risk of a competitor becoming the choice for more shoppers in that region. This is something you definitely want to put on display and there is no better way to do that than with the scope drone imagery provides.
Even if your location isn’t the best part about your property, it is not necessarily a bad idea to reveal this up front. If you or your broker are doing your part, interested parties are eventually going to see that property and analyze its potential regardless of whether or not you make that information initially available to them.
Why waste anyone’s time, especially your own? When you let inquiring minds know exactly what they are getting into, you begin to narrow the field in terms of the types of businesses to which you should be marketing.
In other words, if you are finding that many leads with retail stores fall through, it is a good sign the future of your property is in another industry. With drone footage that puts location on display at the front end, you are actively systemizing the process by which you fill property and the types of companies with which you do business.
Aerial Imagery is As Old as the Industry
With commercial real estate, owners task brokers to market their properties. Brokers pushing brick and mortar stores, offices, or other commercial or industrial spaces on companies have determined aerial imagery a tried-and-true means by which to do so.
But only recently does there exist an option equally as effective as ordering a plane or helicopter shoot that is also accessible to commercial real estate pros at every phase of their careers.
Certainly, you could contract drone imaging services to a freelancer, or even purchase a drone yourself and keep the work in-house. But these will pale in comparison to the speed, efficiency, and quality of mission deliverables when flight is conducted by a network of professional pilots backed by a company of drone tech experts.