Refinery46 is a unique coworking space in Indianapolis, established to support small business owners and entrepreneurs in the home services trades.
Embue coworking with hospitality: A 2024 guide to grow and thrive
Coworking spaces have emerged as beacons of innovation and community. As we move into 2024, it's essential for coworking owners and operators to continuously adapt and evolve — how can you differentiate? How can you serve this next era of work?
One potent strategy lies in integrating lessons of hospitality into coworking spaces. This integration not only enhances the user experience but also positions these spaces as pivotal in the 'bleisure' (business + leisure) travel trend.
'Bleisure': a new take on a known trend
'Bleisure' represents a growing segment of individuals who blend business travel with leisure activities. Digital nomads have already been identified as the folks who want to work from anywhere. But this might go a step further for the holiday-makers who take their office with them.
For coworking spaces, this means attracting a demographic that seeks more than just a desk; they're looking for an experience that merges work and pleasure seamlessly. Here's how coworking spaces can adapt:
- Partner with local hotels: By collaborating with nearby hotels, coworking spaces can offer guests amenities like flexible workspace options (for daily or hourly use), meeting spaces, phone booths, and podcast studios. This symbiotic relationship benefits both the hotels lacking these facilities and the coworking spaces seeking a wider audience.
- Creating a hospitality-driven environment: Think beyond the physical space. Incorporating elements of hospitality — such as concierge services, event planning, and personal assistance — can elevate the user experience. This approach turns a coworking space into a community hub, not just a place to work.
- Focus on diverse and inclusive community building: Events and workshops that cater to a broad audience can foster a sense of community and belonging. This is crucial for 'bleisure' travelers who often seek local experiences and networking opportunities.
It also helps when your marketing materials reflect the community you hope to attract. Be sure your images include people of color, LGBTQ folks, and a wide range of ages.
- Offer flexible and varied workspaces: The design of the space should cater to differentf work styles and needs. Quiet zones for focused work, collaborative areas for team activities, and leisure spaces for relaxation can make a coworking space more appealing to a diverse clientele.
How does technology enhance the coworking experience?
Technology and hospitality are not diametrically opposed. In fact, one enables the other to do its job better: technology frees your operations staff to focus on customer service, experience, and community, rather than the day day administration that happens on a laptop hidden away in an office.
The role of technology in creating a hospitable coworking environment cannot be overstated. Implementing cutting-edge tech solutions for easy booking, virtual assistance, and seamless connectivity can significantly enhance the user experience.
- Smart booking systems: Easy-to-use booking systems for meeting rooms, desks, or special amenities make the process hassle-free for 'bleisure' travelers. Coworks lets users embed booking forms directly on your web site, so travelers can book meeting spaces, events, day passes and more without even picking up the phone. Plus they go into your leads database so you can stay in touch at a cadence that makes sense for non-local leads.
- Virtual Assistance: Offering virtual assistance for tasks like scheduling, tech support, or even local recommendations can be a game-changer. Have extras handy for all things tech: chargers, cables, keyboards, connectors, and power sources are all often forgotten by travelers who need them to function fully.
- Seamless connectivity: High-speed internet and modern tech infrastructure are non-negotiable for a productive workspace. Coworks integrates with systems like IronWifi so that users get access to your amenities with one login.
Don’t forget body and spirit
Incorporating wellness and leisure into the coworking space is a natural extension of the hospitality approach. Offering yoga classes, meditation areas, or fitness facilities can be attractive to those who value work-life balance.
- Wellness Programs: These could include fitness classes, meditation sessions, or wellness workshops.
- Relaxation Zones: Areas designed for relaxation, like lounges or outdoor spaces, can enhance the overall experience.
- Community Events: Hosting social events, cultural activities, or networking events can create a vibrant community atmosphere.
The integration of hospitality into coworking spaces is not just a trend but a necessary evolution to meet the changing needs of the workforce. By embracing 'bleisure', partnering with local businesses, leveraging technology, and focusing on wellness and community, coworking spaces can grow and thrive in 2024 and beyond. This approach will not only attract a diverse range of clients but also create a dynamic, supportive community that goes beyond just a place to work.