Next week is ALIS Conference in Los Angeles, a best-in-class industry conference for hospitality investment professionals. We have had a chance to attend a few times and have really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we won’t be participating this year. Instead, we decided to put together a 2014 year-in-review update for the U.S. hotel industry. We thought it would be a good material to prepare you for the conference or give you some topics to discuss.
We are very excited to announce today the launch of the brand new OpenComps 3. It is a product of over half a year of hard work as well as collaborative thinking and “dreaming” over the last few years. We have continuously talked about the OpenComps’ future we see – personal and social – and we are happy to unveil the final result. The main theme for OpenComps 3 is the further opening of the community that is building around the site. It is a community made of active industry professionals who come to OpenComps to study and understand the commercial real estate market. As our new slogan proclaims, we would like to give you two more reasons to keep visiting: to engage with the market and to connect with other like-minded industry professionals. We really hope you like it and we would love to hear from you. Here are the four major tentpoles we built OpenComps 3 upon.
Personal and Social
To open up the community and, at the same time, to give you a way to personalize your experience on OpenComps, we have enabled a search across the community. When you find a community member that is of interest to you, you can choose to follow their OpenComps activity by “subscribing” to their activity feed. By following other users, you can then build a personal Newsfeed that brings to your attention transactions of interest to you. The Newsfeed currently aggregates users’ activities such as adding a transaction (comp or on-the-market), user tagging on transactions (as a broker, owner or property manager), and, finally, personal messages in the form of Newsfeed posts.
Our vision for the Newsfeed posts is that they bring relevant information to the site’s mission: exchanging information about past transactions and future opportunities in the commercial real estate world. The Newsfeed posts are text messages (up to 255 characters), but we’ve also built some interactive functionality such as hot-linking/referencing an OpenComps’ transaction via a shorthand (enclosed by # on each end, e.g. #123#).
If you are an active participant in the real estate marketplace on the sell side, we hope that the Newsfeed, together with the public posts, will allow you to build a targeted audience with whom you can share your industry activity and insight. Our main goal is to create an OpenComps that is more personal and relevant.
Another new way to personalize your OpenComps experience is by quickly and easily selecting transactions as favorites. On any transaction screen, you can now select a transaction as a favorite by starring it. The list of your Favorites can be found in the MyOC section.
Points – Contribute and Receive
OpenComps is a community of users looking to exchange information about real estate transactions. It is not a research company that “sells” such information. We strongly believe in a future where each participant contributes to the volume or quality of the information available within the community. To further encourage the contribution of information, we have created a points system to reward users for contributing new or enhancing existing transactions. Every time you contribute a transaction, we will credit you with points based on the quality/completeness of the information provided. You can then use these points to unlock other transactions. You can go to your Points section in your Profile to monitor your points activity and learn more.
The Market… the Entire Market
OpenComps aims to encompass not only what just happened in the market (i.e. comps) but also what is happening now (on-the-market transactions). As we started with our “Related” tab in each transaction, we would like to build a continuous list of the major milestones of an asset – as it is offered for sale, refinanced or sold. And we would like these milestones to be permanent markers so that one can study the evolution of each property. While we had started on that path previously, we believe that with the new Newsfeed feature, the on-the-market transactions will have a more conducive environment to be presented and promoted to a targeted and engaged audience.
To enable the quick and efficient establishment of a connection and communication between offering and seeking parties for on-the-market transactions, we have created a Request Materials process. With two clicks, an interested party can electronically execute a confidentiality agreement, which can then be reviewed by the offering party. You can monitor the transactions for which you have executed confidentiality agreements in the MyOC section.
Social Networks Sign Up and Sign In
To enhance and improve the process of joining the community, we created a one-click sign up process by inviting you to sign up via your LinkedIn or Google accounts. No need to remember another password for another site. If you already have an OpenComps account, you can connect your LinkedIn or Google accounts by going to your Profile and Edit profile/networks link. Again, that can significantly enhance your ability to quickly sign in to OpenComps.