ummer equals weekend travel. Family vacations, girlfriend getaways, tropical adventures, and more. They’re wonderful for business, and properties often fill up their weekends months in advance.
But what about Monday through Thursday? Rooms often sit empty during those summer days, but you can increase your mid-week business by catering to business travelers.
What Is a Coworking Space?
Many hotels have business centers. The spaces usually contain a printer, some extra monitors, and high-speed internet connections that allow business travelers to get some work done while they’re on the road. But let’s be honest: Those rooms can be pretty small, and pretty sterile – not exactly the type of place you’d want to open your laptop, grab a cup of joe, and work the day away.
Enter the hotel-based coworking space, a trend that’s been growing in popularity lately, especially post-pandemic, when an estimated 12 percent of the American workforce is fully remote and another 28 percent is hybrid.
The concept is simple and follows the philosophy behind other, independent coworking spaces – give workers who don’t have a dedicated office a convenient, unique, and fun space to get comfy and get to work. The best coworking spaces offer common areas for collaboration, quiet booths for taking phone calls, private spaces with internet access, drinks, snacks, and most importantly, fast, reliable Wi-Fi.
One of the first hotel chains to imagine this idea was the Ace Hotel in New York, which converted its lobby into a workspace called, appropriately enough, “The Lobby.” (Today, it’s become a hugely popular meeting space for young professionals in the city.) They marketed it as a collaborative space for entrepreneurs, freelancers and other creative professionals, and the idea soon inspired others to follow.
Today, many hotels have joined the trend by converting their underused spaces, including lobbies, loungers and conference rooms, into coworking areas. Some properties have even branded these spaces (Wojo by AccorHotels in Europe, for example).
What Are the Benefits of a Coworking Space?
Adding coworking space benefits everyone. As a hotel owner, it allows you to generate additional revenue by not only using more of your space but attracting new clientele. At the same time, those traveling for work will gravitate toward coworking spaces. If that space is inside a hotel – win-win! Here’s a closer look at the benefits of adding coworking space to your property.
Attractive workspace: Many remote workers find themselves in independent coworking spaces or coffee shops because they’re comfortable, have character, and get them out of the four walls of their home offices – especially if good coffee and snacks are always available.
Additional revenue: By adding a coworking space, you can generate revenue in a number of ways. First and most obvious, your midweek bookings will increase because business travelers will be attracted to your property. Private workspaces are usually offered at a premium. And finally, it’s an opportunity to monetize spaces around the property that might otherwise just be sitting empty.
A unique, fun amenity: Offering this amenity (and making it highly visible in searches and marketing materials) is a way to make your property stand out from the competition. Imagine showing up at the top of the list on a third-party site when a traveler selects “coworking space” as a filter option
Networking opportunities: This is a two-pronged benefit. Not only can you give your business travelers a chance to connect and collaborate with others, you have the chance to connect with them as well. The unlikeliest of business partnerships have been formed in coworking spaces – you may just be opening the doors to an influencer who can take your property to the next level.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’d like to add your property to the growing list of travel-based coworking spaces, here are some steps to get you started:
1. Take a look at your available space: Is there an area of your property that will work? Consider underutilized conference rooms, lobbies, or other areas that can be transformed into a productive workspace. Remember, coworking aficionados are looking for comfort and unique experiences, not sterile spaces.
2. Understand your target audience: What type of traveler would you like to attract to your coworking space? The list can include remote workers, entrepreneurs, professionals who regularly travel as a part of their job, or all of the above. Understanding their needs will help greatly in designing a space that meets them.
3. Choose your amenities: What will you offer your coworking customers? (This question can be better answered once you understand No. 2 above.) Some things to consider include high-speed Wi-Fi, scanners, printers, a three-hole punch, paper cutter, and other extra office supplies, as well as coffee, snacks, and maybe even a fireplace and some cozy blankets for use if you’re in a cold-weather climate.
4. Promote, promote, promote! Once you’re ready to open your coworking space’s doors, make sure that you get the word out to as much of your target audience as possible. Tactics can include good real estate on your property’s website, social media, and target digital campaigns. It’s also important to update your profiles on sites like Hotels.com, Expedia and more to feature your new amenity.
Hotel-based coworking space is an idea that’s growing, but not yet saturated, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to create your space and set the trend.