The world of commercial real estate is vast, encompassing many sectors from retail to industrial. However, in the heart of this industry lies a niche that uniquely combines commercial space with lifestyle experiences: Lifestyle Centers. At Fort Lauderdale- and Aspen-based public relations firm Durée & Company, we’ve honed our expertise in representing these vibrant centers, including esteemed names such as CityPlace Doral and Gulfstream Park Village. While there has been a lot of speculation in this real estate sector since the pandemic, according to Coresight Research, physical retail has bounced back, with 2022 seeing more store openings than closures for the first time since 2016, and retail sales at malls grew more than 11% in 2022 to nearly $819 billion.
As the dynamics of commercial real estate and consumer behavior continue to evolve, recent data provides compelling insights into where consumers are choosing to spend their time and money. According to placer.ai, June 2023 brought marked improvement to the visitation trends of all mall categories analyzed, including the resilience of open-air lifestyle centers. While 2023 visits to indoor and outlet malls dropped slightly relative to the same period in 2022, traffic to open-air lifestyle centers increased 2.7 percent in the same period. Looking into this trend, an analysis of visitor demographics for leading open-air lifestyle centers across the U.S. reveals a significant draw from affluent shoppers, emphasizing the upscale appeal and premium experience these centers offer.
The Essence of Lifestyle Centers
Unlike traditional shopping malls, lifestyle centers offer a unique blend of retail shops, dining experiences, entertainment, and often, residential spaces. They are designed to mimic the ambiance of a town square or main street, offering a community-driven experience. This format has emerged as a game-changer in the commercial real estate sector.
The post-pandemic era has introduced new dynamics, reshaping the landscape of many sectors, including lifestyle centers. Emerging trends show that the integration of technology is playing a pivotal role in their evolution. Features such as augmented reality zones, touchless shopping experiences, and app-driven events are spearheading a new era of consumer engagement within these spaces. As consumers seek more immersive and interactive experiences, lifestyle centers that adopt and effectively communicate these innovations will set themselves apart.
Just as in other sectors of the commercial real estate industry, public relations plays a crucial role in the success of these centers. It not only helps in showcasing these modern integrations but also in emphasizing the unique offerings and community-centric approach of lifestyle centers.
Connecting the Dots: The Role of Public Relations in Lifestyle Centers and Commercial Real Estate
Our experience with CityPlace Doral and Gulfstream Park Village has allowed us to grasp the essence of what makes lifestyle centers stand out, and how to communicate this to the public. Let’s explore how public relations ties into representing lifestyle centers and how it parallels with the broader commercial real estate industry:
- Brand Messaging & Awareness: The role of public relations in crafting narratives is multifaceted. Whether it’s for commercial real estate professionals or lifestyle centers, a compelling story is essential. For lifestyle centers like CityPlace Doral, it’s crucial to define what unique experiences await visitors. What sets it apart from other destinations? These are the narratives our public relations campaigns diligently construct, ensuring each lifestyle center not only has a memorable identity but also reaches the target audience. Leveraging media coverage is instrumental in highlighting attributes such as new store openings, special events, and the unique offerings that make locations like Gulfstream Park Village the acclaimed destinations they are today.
- Special Events: Lifestyle centers are pivotal within the local communities they serve. By organizing events and partnering with local organizations, including nonprofits and charities, these centers reinforce their community ties. Such collaborations highlight the center’s commitment to community welfare and development. Year-round programming, from cultural festivals to workshops and local art showcases, ensures the center remains connected with diverse community groups while increasing foot traffic. This strategy not only strengthens its relationship with residents but also attracts wider audiences.
- Social Media Presence: Just as commercial real estate professionals need a robust social media presence, lifestyle centers thrive when their events, shops, and experiences are highlighted online. These digital platforms are invaluable in creating a buzz and drawing crowds.
- Positioning as an Expert Source: Lifestyle centers often house industry leaders, be it in retail, hospitality, or entertainment. Through PR, we ensure these experts are recognized in media outlets, providing insights and perspectives that enrich the overall industry narrative. Tenants are vital stakeholders in a lifestyle center’s success and should be engaged through joint marketing and public relations efforts.
- Business Growth through PR: Our public relations initiatives don’t just create awareness; they can be instrumental in drawing potential clients or tenants to lifestyle centers. Recognizing the distinct offerings of each center, whether it’s the ambiance of CityPlace Doral or the events at Gulfstream Park Village, can be a game-changer for potential tenants seeking ideal locations. Public relations can also harness data-driven insights on consumer preferences and behavior that can help shape public relations strategies that move the needle.
In the ever-evolving world of commercial real estate, lifestyle centers emerge as a unique blend of commerce and experience. At Durée & Company, we pride ourselves on understanding this niche and tailoring our public relations strategies to elevate their stature.
As we advance into the next decade, the role of lifestyle centers will inevitably be influenced by technological innovations and changing consumer preferences. With these shifts, the need for effective public relations becomes even more pronounced. To stay ahead, lifestyle centers must not only adapt technologically but also ensure their narratives evolve. Effective communication about new integrations, community initiatives, and the latest offerings will be crucial. In this rapidly changing landscape, public relations will be the bridge that connects these centers to their evolving audience, ensuring they remain relevant and central to community experiences.
Just as with any commercial property, lifestyle centers need a voice, a distinct identity, and a story that resonates. And this is precisely what we offer. After all, if you have a great commercial property and location to market, but nobody knows about it ― what good is it doing you? Whether you’re in commercial real estate or have a lifestyle center awaiting its spotlight moment, Durée & Company is here to guide you.
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Founded in 1999, Durée & Company is a full-service, well-respected and highly creative public relations and marketing agency serving a diverse client base of local, national and international consumer brands, landmark industries, business leaders and philanthropists from its offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Aspen, Colorado. Practice areas include real estate, nonprofit, hospitality, business, lifestyle, health and wellness, legal, yacht and marine as well as cannabis, psychedelics, and other emerging industries. Durée & Company is the proud recipient of four notable 2023 awards: Bulldog PR Bronze Level for “Best Crisis Management,” Cannabis Marketing Association Seven Award for “Best Use of PR,” Fort Lauderdale magazine “Best of Fort Lauderdale Top PR Agency” and PR News’ People of the Year Award. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an elite organization of global public relations professionals. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; cannabismarketingpr.com; or psychedelicpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, X (Formerly Twitter), YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.