How the Coworking Trend Creates New Opportunities for Hotels

April 11, 2022 Mihaela Lica Butler

The global coworking market could reach $13.03 billion by 2025. COVID-19 may be the accelerator driving this trend, but with or without the pandemic, such spaces still have a place in the global economy. Here are some reasons why hotels should and must embrace the opportunities offered by the coworking trend.

Global Coworking Market

Credit:  Research and Markets

Attract Freelance Travellers

Work from everywhere is not a pandemic-induced trend. Even before COVID-19, 63% of the companies had remote workers. Back in 2018, remote work seemed to be failing; however, today, the trend is booming, and with it, the need for flexible working spaces, like coworking offices.

Career flexibility drives these trends, and the coronavirus pandemic was not a trigger. So instead, think about it as an "accelerator."

Hotels must now adapt their spaces to attract freelance and remote workers with a passion for travel or a need to travel. A first step would be to transform unused - or little-used - spaces like lobbies, meeting rooms, convention and event halls, lounges, and business centres into coworking spaces. Then, in order to market those unused spaces as great meeting rooms or as comfortable workspaces, property owners can take advantage of platforms like Book a Space, which allows them to market and "sell" spaces by the hour through Book a Space website or through the implementation of a booking engine on the hotel’s website.

Book a Spacae

Hotels located in busy neighbourhoods can thus attract workers who don't want to travel far from home to work in an office but still like this environment rather than a home office. Another option is to reach out to companies that need short-term office spaces for part-time or temporary employees.

Millennials who prefer a more non-traditional working environment are another segment hotels could target to their newly adapted spaces. In addition, millennials will appreciate the relaxed atmosphere in hotels and the networking opportunities. They are likely digital nomads with a strong desire to work independently, without the scrutiny of a boss or office manager.

A Forward-thinking Approach to Hospitality

But repurposing hotel lobbies and events halls as coworking spaces is not enough: hotels must also provide some kinds of experiences to attract freelance travellers, temps, or any other type of workers who need these types of working arrangements.

Hoteliers must have a strategic mindset to remain competitive. Experiences can come in all forms, from designing a thematic coworking space to offering incentives like free coffee and snacks. Other incentives to consider may include access to fitness and spa areas, hotel pools, and other leisure activities. Some hotels may even adapt space as a shared kitchen for the coworking community.

Many established coworking companies already provide such incentives: it would be good for hoteliers to enter a partnership with one and let their staff, who are already familiar with what guests expect from coworking spaces, design and manage the experience.

New Streams of Revenue

Perhaps the most important opportunity for hotels embracing the coworking trend is the ability to generate new revenue streams, not only by rending coworking spaces but also by offering substantial discounts for long-term accommodation and special packages to entice guests to combine work with a hotel stay.

These new revenue streams will not necessarily come with an exorbitant price tag for renovations and tech if hotels want to keep the coworking spaces basic - just Wi-Fi, desks, and essential technology like printers and conferencing equipment they likely already have for corporate events. Everything unused in a hotel can become a potential source of revenue.

Coworking Hotels Around the World

There are already many hotels around the world offering coworking spaces and creative hubs in addition to lodging. The following are three examples of hotels that opened coworking spaces before COVID-19 - all proof that the coworking trend and hospitality make sense for better customer experiences, guest satisfaction, differentiation from competitors, and, naturally, more revenue streams.

Volkshotel in Amsterdam designed its Werkplaats cafe as a coworking space where digital nomads can sit down to collaborate, have a snack, and even listen to DJ tunes on Friday evenings. They also offer work cabins for meetings or people who need more privacy. You will also find Broedplaats VKG, a hub run by a local agency offering all kinds of workshops and fun and creative experiences at the same hotel.

Ovolo Southside in Hong Kong is another hotel catering to digital nomads. They have a dedicated program for them called the Mojo Nomad, essentially an all-inclusive residential hub giving guests "access to free daily breakfast, super-speed Wi-Fi, high bandwidth internet, 24-hour gym, self-laundry, all-day snacks, drinks and coffee, communal workspaces, fun-filled networking events and a non-stop party with like-minded entrepreneurs."

NYX Hotel in Tel Aviv offers ROOMS, New Coworking Space Concept by Fattal Hotels - Elegant Coworking spaces, business lounge and a plethora of other perks to entice a young, vibrant clientele. For example, guests get access to a 24-hour gym, retro Arcade machines, a rooftop terrace, and a fantastic lobby bar serving creative cocktails and other drinks. The bar is also the breakfast area in the morning. Guests of the business lounge will also have access to complimentary coffee, pastries, Wi-Fi, and magazines.

In a Nutshell

Many hotels will begin converting little-used spaces in coworking areas. Because the trend is in its infancy, the early adopters will differentiate themselves from competitors quickly and, depending on their marketing strategies, will also establish themselves as trendsetters, attracting more clients and increasing their revenues. And, since many already store workstations and tech for business events, the costs of such an endeavour will be minimal compared to the bottom line.