Operating a small to midsize enterprise (SME) in a physical location, whether in a shared coworking space or a dedicated location, can require facility managers to monitor usage and provide secure entry access to guests. Visitor management for real estate, therefore, is a primary concern of any onsite manager or building administrator.
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Managed properties, such as government buildings, care homes, education facilities and health centres, need to have systems in place to allow people to enter with relative simplicity whilst confirming their identity securely. Also, in offices, since many workplaces became hybridised in the pandemic, visibility over how a location is used has become ever more important.
Visitor management systems are a solution to these concerns. This traditionally was a manual process involving paperwork and sign-in registers, but now can be handled with the help of software platforms and apps.
In this article, we’ll explore how visitor management for real estate takes responsibility for authorising and vetting the guests to a company-managed site. We also look at how visitor management systems can make this task much simpler.
What is visitor management for real estate?
Visitor management for real estate involves practices and processes that monitor and track guests visiting a location run by a business or organisation. This ensures that security is properly maintained at the site during visitor arrival and people are properly identified before entering. It also gives companies transparency over their property usage and the level of occupancy at specific times.
Depending on the type of real estate, there could be different levels of access control required. For example, strict facility management is vital on industrial sites where personal safety measures must be enforced. Alternatively, at an office where sensitive information is handled, having a clear way to restrict access to unauthorised individuals and allow easy entry for those who do is highly practical.
What is a visitor management system?
A visitor management system is a process by which companies can monitor the guests that may visit their premises.
In the past, this was managed via paperwork such as registers and ledgers when guests arrived or left. However, today these systems will often take the form of software programs which bundle together the functions needed to manage visiting guests.
Today’s software options for visitor management provide computer and app-based tools that can streamline the ability of security personnel and property managers to analyse and track the arrival of authorised visitors. They digitise the formally manual process of managing an access control system. They also allow companies a single point of reference to track information on the number of people on-site at a time and confirm their identity details.
How many types of visitor management are there?
There are many individual visitor management solutions for properties that a company could use for visiting guests. Yet, broadly speaking, there are three ways that businesses can approach this:
Pen and paper - The traditional system of guest management where visitors sign in and out of a building using a physical paper register.
On-premise software platforms - These comprise electronic platforms that are stored on company servers that regulate the records of visitors in a company-managed location.
Cloud systems - Cloud-based visitor management systems have many of the same functions as on-premises software platforms but are distinct as they store data and operate in the cloud, giving users more flexible options for visitor access via apps and other digital tools.
What are the features of visitor management software?
Visitor management software for real estate comes with a number of important features for organising workplace people management and access. These give businesses the options they need to securely screen people and allow them in and out of a site whilst collecting data to verify identities.
Users will normally find that visitor management solutions for real estate feature the following functions essential for registering, granting access and monitoring guests at a managed location:
- Activity dashboards - A frontend dashboard to visualise visitor activity data
- Badge management - For creating and administering visitor passes and badges for authorised guests
- Contact management - A database to store contact information about guests
- Digital signatures - To encrypt, secure, and authenticate the data of signed records
- Pre-registration - So that guests can register before arrival via electronic means
- Self-check-in/check-out - To allow guests to enter and exit a location via a visitor kiosk or mobile device
- Visitor tracking - For monitoring a guest’s arrival and departure time as well as their purpose of a visit
What are the main benefits of visitor management software?
There are many benefits of using a visitor management system in a business. First, it helps ensure security in your organisation by only granting access to authorised individuals at your operational locations.
Another major advantage of these tools is that they cut down the time and effort needed for both your business and your invited guests to register for entry and to exit your site. As visitor management software usually uses standard interfaces and cloud technology, it is much easier to design a registration process and grant access remotely to a visiting guest. This can, in turn, cut down operational costs too.
Additionally, the security of visitor data has become even more important in recent years, and companies must store and process it following GDPR compliance. Using a visitor management system can provide more security over data collection and help keep everything organised.
Lastly, a big plus to these tools is that they give firms much better visibility over who is using their premises and whether it meets capacity or not. This can be especially important where security measures or visibility on office headcounts are needed.
Tips for SMEs
Since many businesses have pivoted to hybrid workplace models following the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that want to focus on creating a positive workplace culture can use visitor management software to identify the days when people are most likely to be on-site and plan meaningful events accordingly.
How does visitor management for real estate work?
In real estate management, controlling access is an essential task. This makes a good access control system especially important to improve the visitor experience.
Owners and operators of multiple occupancy residential buildings, care homes, hotels, and public facilities, such as schools, need to ensure that they keep their premises secure whilst making it possible for guests to visit should the need arise.
This could be to allow a building contractor to access the site to make repairs or perform maintenance. Alternatively, real estate guest management could require granting permission to enter for a person known to a current tenant either in a managed office or residential property.
Visitor management in a real estate setting, therefore, creates points where data is collected from guests so they can be correctly verified before entering the site. Once the authentication is created, either as a physical badge or a digital pass, it should allow them to enter secure doors and barriers to access appropriate areas on that site for their needs.
Guest management is especially important for hospitality businesses. This process requires careful planning to monitor the comings and goings of guests, allowing easy access to specific areas while still keeping some areas off-limits to the public. Visitor management systems can help control this task.
Many features can be found in some hotel management software suites. Alternatively, some of these tasks might be managed independently by a visitor management system.
How to choose the right visitor management system for a small business
If a visitor management system provides a useful solution for your SME, it is important to have a good idea of the specific functions you will need from a platform. Not all systems are the same, and some may work better for companies at different stages of their development.
For companies with greater security needs, having more robust badge management and visitor tracking could prove important. Whereas for other companies, where lots of people need to be able to enter and exit a site easily, using tools with faster app-based badge creation and sign-in tools might prove more practical.
However, this is a decision that will vary from business to business. It is worth first considering how the process will work on an individual basis and creating a shopping list of necessities before browsing the available options.
Tips for SMEs
There are many software solutions available for small companies looking to introduce visitor administration technology. To narrow down the options, explore our guide to the best-ranking visitor management systems according to UK users.
Visitor management system costs to consider
Visitor management system costs depend on the level of security needed and the complexity of the approach chosen by an SME. It is, of course, much cheaper to run a manual pen-and-paper procedure, but this can be slower, more insecure and can make data management more difficult.
In the case of software systems, prices usually depend on the scale of the business you operate and the level of security and functions needed. Individual software packages are normally offered on a subscription basis at different levels of membership so that smaller businesses can find a budget-appropriate option for their requirements. This also makes it more flexible should upgrades be necessary.
Key takeaways for visitor management systems
Visitor management can be vitally important for firms running physical premises. When guests need to be registered before arrival, visitor management techniques and software are helpful solutions to making sure a location can securely welcome visitors whilst making the process easy to control.
Some key points to consider when approaching visitor management:
- Visitor management is applied to keep working premises secure whilst setting in place a framework to allow guests to visit should the need arise and register their attendance.
- Visitor management software can be used to run this process electronically, giving firms tools such as digital registers for guests signing in and out as well as contact management of arrivals.
- Using a visitor management system or process is important to keep workplaces secure whilst making it easy for important or essential individuals to gain access to a place of business.