Multifunctional environments are a major trend in the real estate market. Especially in large cities, the time lost with commuting is increasing, as much as the commuters' impatience. As a result, we’ve seen many building spaces emerge as areas with multi-purposes. And so it happened with workspaces and hotels.
In a post-COVID world, many hotels are adapting to new ways of working by rethinking their spaces and services. With the industry hugely impacted by lockdown closures and limits on travel (Europe’s hotel occupancy was down 54.2% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to STR data), we have seen an increasing number of hotels transforming their common areas into coworking spaces.
This new model of business has been a trend since before the pandemic though. It started in recent years and was announced by some of the biggest hotel groups in the world, including Marriott and AccorHotels, which have been rethinking their hospitality strategy around the globe since 2013 and 2017 respectively.
The idea of merging both travel and work industries seems like connecting the best of two worlds: flexible workspaces are in demand, and hotels already have space and service infrastructure to cater to the needs of workers. Bang. Sparks fly. It’s a romance waiting to happen.
As the hotel-as-workspace trend might be one trend that lasts long after the pandemic is over, here’s three reasons why we think these partnerships are here to stay.
1. Hotels’ amazing service and facilities
The idea of using workspaces in hotels might sound new to many people, but increasingly workers are more and more interested in taking advantage of hotel's facilities while making use of workspace areas.
At the Whitechapel Think Factory, a workspace connected to the Holiday Inn London, clients get to experience all the extra amenities that come with your regular visit to a hotel. Think free gym access, 24/7 access, discounts at their restaurant and bar, and...discounted accommodation. (What a dream!)
According to Melissa Lam, Director of Sales at Think Factory, the usage of the space in the building extends beyond the coworking areas: “We also have utilised our extra spaces including our accommodation when all our hot desks have been fully booked - therefore we are flexible in all aspects.”
Curiously, though, the fancy communal areas are not the only attraction: according to Forbes, a study of 400 business professionals showed that 42% of them would consider working from a hotel room. Apparently, while people complain about staring at the same four walls every day, they are mollified if there is a change in those walls.
2.Central and convenient locations
When we think about booking a hotel, the first thing that comes to mind is its location. Luckily, hotels are strategically located around city centres and surrounding areas, which gives their connected workspaces the benefit of being in an easily accessible part of the city.
Commutes are reduced and office spaces become plush, comfortable and convenient. Hotels, then, serve as an additional option for locals and workers who live in their catchment area. Ultimately they can also support cities in meeting their sustainable development goals. As pointed out by Simon Botto, DayBreak Hotels CEO, “People can walk down the road to a hotel, rather than travelling an hour or more on expensive public transport; and businesses can save lots of money on rent and office maintenance.”
3.Productivity and creativity boost
As with standard flexible workspaces, the entrepreneurial and collaborative set up enables workers to connect easily with like-minded individuals, setting up a fluid experience where work can combine with social activities, networking and more.
But there’s a plus: given the nature of a hotel, the higher number of travelling professionals can contribute to a more, let’s say, “diverse” experience, which might not happen so easily in a local workspace. And that, my dear, is the key to boost productivity and creativity.
According to this Forbes article, research on creativity and innovation has been consistent in showing the value of exposing individuals to experiences with multiple perspectives and worldviews. It is the combination of these various perspectives in novel ways that result in new ideas “popping up”.
This is not to say that we should start chewing the ear off a stranger in a hotel lobby. But studies show that diverse minds working in the same environment can result in that famous synergy we so often seek. So, a quick chat during a break with a random coworker might not be a bad idea to refresh your problem-solving skills.
These are just a few reasons why hotels are at an advantage when they start offering workspace. This doesn’t mean that other flexible workspace providers should see them as rivals. Instead, it’s an opportunity to learn as a different industry puts its own stamp on the new world of work.
At Desana we have been working with workspaces around the world, some of them connected to hotels and their very-easy-to-access locations. Discover how we can find the best flexible workspaces options for your company here.