Coworking is gaining ground in the hospitality industry too
In the era of the collaborative economy, flexibility and nomadism, coworking is emerging as one of the responses to these changing needs.
In response to this trend, coworking spaces are springing up almost everywhere in large cities, and the phenomenon hasn’t spared the hospitality sector either.
Coworking in hotels – which services are being offered?
Let’s first look at what hotels are providing in terms of coworking services. Generally-speaking, hotels offer a more or less formal, connected space dedicated to working, where printers, efficient Wi-Fi connection, hot drinks, water, pastries, snacks, etc. are available in exchange for an hourly, half-day or full-day rate. Other hotels elect to charge only for drinks and snacks. However, the fundamentals remain the same – in addition to high-speed Wi-Fi, a sufficient number of plug sockets and even smartphone chargers should be available.
Coworking areas in hotels are found in locations conducive to such – close to stations, airports or business zones, for example. While waiting for a train, between two meetings, travellers can now maximise their time by working in a functional space, thus getting the most out of their business trips.
A revolutionary concept ?
Yet the concept is not especially ground-breaking. Which business guest hasn’t sat down in a hotel lobby or bar to work? Which business guest hasn’t preferred to work in the livelier lobby or bar, rather than shutting themselves up in their room, no matter how nice the décor? Coworking areas are simply better adapted, more functional, and in particular, better advertised. The market is even tending to structure itself around dedicated platforms, such as AirOffice or the business section of Dayuse.com.
It therefore, makes a lot of sense for hotels to offer this type of service – the majority of facilities and services required are already to hand, as are the staff. And the business segment is one that most hoteliers know well. Industry professionals are getting involved in a more or less structured way, and concepts oriented exclusively towards “business” are emerging – concepts such as the Hôtel BOB (Business on Board) in Paris, developed by Elegancia Hotels, for example. With its very concept, this hotel goes even further, by offering a range of office spaces, including the lobby, patio or more traditional meeting rooms. Indeed, they’ve thought of everything – if clients require more privacy, they can use the small alcoves, specially created for this purpose.
SO WHAT DOES COWORKING OFFER USERS ?
As well as notions of “freedom” and “flexibility”, users can enjoy working in a pleasant environment and can even take advantage of the hotel’s facilities (spa, fitness). Some even see coworking as a means of conveying a more attractive image, by organising client meetings in a less formal environment than the traditional seminar room, for example, and in an environment that may be more in line with their business sector. Users can also select their workplace in accordance with the image they want to project.
The only drawback of coworking for the hotel is when users start to make themselves a little too much at home – they can tend to take up too much room, to the detriment of traditional hotel guests. The flipside of this success thus entails having to anticipate how potential conflicts of use between various client segments should be managed.
The hotel industry – which blends real estate and services – is legitimately growing in the coworking sector, with some players going even further. AccorHotels and Bouygues Immobilier, for example, have formed a partnership around Nextdoor, originally created by Bouygues. The concept is simple: renting coworking office space by the day or for longer. The idea behind the partnership between these two major players is to speed up the concept’s development, by taking advantage of the savoir-faire of each. Independently of its hotels, Mama Shelter is also developing Mama Works (office rental) in the same spirit as Mama Shelter.
These new services highlight the current dynamism observed in some parts of the hotel industry, an industry that’s reinventing itself by listening to its customers, and that’s breaking away from the traditional model to offer its guests even more. When will the next idea to improve the hotel service offer come along, we wonder?
Amélie Lapi – Senior Consultant – Hospitality, In Extenso TCH
Amélie Lapi joined In Extenso TCH in 2006. After graduating from hotel school, she rapidly focused on hospitality consulting, advising on hotel development issues. In addition, Amélie also conducts market and feasibility studies covering business and leisure infrastructure and works for the public and private sector in France and abroad (Morocco, Russia). Amélie holds a Master in Management from the Ecole de Savignac.
Website : www.inextenso-tch.com
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