Looking for easy ways to increase your business revenue? Getting enquiries about using your buildings for film and photography shoots, but don’t have the time or industry know-how to handle them? Then you might want to consider becoming a commercial location partner. Jordan Musker is Head of Asset Management at Bruntwood, one of our commercial location partners. Here, he tells us about the benefits of the partnership and what’s involved…
How did you end up working with UK Locations?
I was introduced to Lauren, the MD, by someone in my professional network. We met up in Manchester for a coffee and straightaway I knew that the partnership would be a great one.
Originally, I’d been dealing with all of the filming enquiries that were coming in – and due to the size of our portfolio and the reach that we have around the country, that was quite a significant amount. UK Locations put me at ease, saying “We’ll take the pressure off you” and I trusted them straight away. I don’t know whether it was just a feeling or something a bit more than that, but the proof has been in the pudding – they’ve been absolutely superb since day one.
How did things develop after that initial meeting?
Very quickly we began to build up a relationship. Following our initial meeting, I put them in touch with all of our on-site teams, and then they went out and photographed and filmed all of our locations and checked that they’d all work for their clients. They were then put on the UK Locations website and that’s when the enquiries started trickling through. The relationship’s been solid for a year or so now.
What kind of buildings do you have in your portfolio, which UK locations are now managing as film and photo locations?
Our core business is corporate office space, but we’ve also got retail, so we can provide UK Locations’ clients with a variety of places, whether that’s a pedestrianised shopping area, a rooftop garden, office space with conventional fit-out – standard desks and chairs, or a really stylish workspace with a fantastic reception area.
And so how does the partnership with the UK locations benefit your business?
UK Locations allow us as a business to focus on our core day-to-day activities; so that’s creating thriving cities, delivering best-in-class service for our customers and pursuing our net zero carbon programme. And as I say, UK Locations allows us to do that. They take the pressure off, they liaise directly with our on-site teams, taking the pressure off all sorts of heads, office teams and on-site teams by organising everything from securing shoots to collection of payments.
And then, of course, there’s the ancillary revenue the arrangement brings us. As I mentioned, our core business is leasing office and retail space. Ancillary revenue is anything that falls outside of rent collection and hiring out our buildings as filming locations just wasn’t a revenue stream that we were able to take advantage of, or even knew the extent of. We had plenty of approaches from the industry, but we weren’t able to deal with them until UK Locations came on board, bringing their knowledge of the film and TV industry with them.
How does the partnership work in practical terms?
UK Locations has an intimate knowledge of our entire portfolio. They’ve totally integrated themselves within our on-site teams – they know the opening hours, the delivery services of our customer-facing people on-site, and our own customers’ working hours – so they can work around it all and there’s never any disruption to any of our customers.
They only contact us a key points in the process – for example, “We’ve had this enquiry, we’ve vetted the company, they look great, and they’re proposing to use your space in this way. Are you happy for us to discuss fees?” etc. Following that, the next point of contact I have with them is when I sign the contract. And then we’re good to go!
We also have regular catch-ups where I update them on the availability of the buildings, as well as new acquisitions that are coming up, so we can meet there and they can photograph the space. Aside from that, I happily leave UK Locations to get on with representing us as a business within the UK’s TV and film industry.
Tell us about some of the shoots you’ve hosted…
So we get all different types of enquiries – adverts, documentaries, dramas… If the enquiries come direct to me or any members of the team, then we pass them straight onto UK Locations and they do all of their magic in the background. If they come straight through to UK Locations, they won’t even contact us until they’ve vetted them and made sure they’ve got the correct credentials and align with us as a business – and we trust them 100% to do that.
You recently hosted a shoot for Disney+, didn’t you?
Yes, that came through UK Locations. They wanted to use one of our buildings – what you might call a standard office space – as a Chinese restaurant for a series called Wedding Season, which I couldn’t see in my mind’s eye, but that’s why I do asset management, not TV! And they totally transformed it – it looked absolutely superb.
It was quite a big shoot and UK Locations handled everything. There were last-minute changes on site, which they dealt with really well. There were security upgrades. And UK Locations were able to liaise with our own security teams to provide Disney+ with what they needed and everything went without a hitch.
Do you enjoy having a role to play in an industry that’s seen by many to be very exciting and creative?
Yes, it’s really exciting. UK Locations have brought us into contact with a totally different industry and it’s one that brings us a stream of ancillary revenue. We hope that we can grow our involvement in the film & TV industry massively – and we hope UK Locations are going to be part of that.
How important is that yours and UK Locations’ values are aligned?
It’s paramount that we align ourselves with brands that match our own ethos and UK Locations do just that. It is a true partnership. Their whole identity is based on sustainability and delivering great service, and that’s exactly what we do. To have that ingrained in a partnership where they’re essentially selling us as a business into an industry we know nothing about is absolutely superb.
Would you recommend UK Locations to other businesses?
I’d recommend UK Locations to absolutely anyone – commercial or not. They’ve been absolutely brilliant since the word go. In this partnership, they take away the headaches of the day-to-day activity that goes into arranging shoots and following up afterwards, which allows us to focus on our core business priorities. What more could you ask for?
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