Where Hotels and Coworking Spaces Collide
For rising numbers of digital nomads, or remote workers, the breadth and scope of hotels and workspace options today is expanding to suit all taste and styles. For the hotels and co-work/co-live establishments catering to this burgeoning demographic, their worlds are blurring and colliding, in terms of customer service, amenities provided, ambiance, and the sense of community established.
At the moment, the hotle industry continues to surpass coworking environments in their ability to cater to the needs of "bleisure" travelers (those mixing work with leisure time). As more people are combining "work and life," the hotel industry has stepped up to meet the needs of these guests. For hospitality providers, the return on investment is clear as bleisure travelers often book longer stays than average business trips.
Hotels are providing more activities, excursions and tours for visiting workers or bleisure travelers. And, more family-friendly style options are available these days, including kids’ clubs, story time and movie nights, so business travelers can feel comfortable bringing their family members on work trips.
As bleisure travelers seek unique, one-of-a-kind experiences during their hotel stay, programming options are expanding to incorporate activities that engage such guests in their down time, including mixology and cooking classes, wine hours and painting classes, creating a sense of community, even if for a few days.
In-room suites are outfitted with desks and extra plug-ins so guests can be as productive as desired and maximize their accommodation as a place to do work. On-site business centers and a variety of restaurants, bars and lounges make such properties well suited for business and leisure entertaining.
Now, some coworking spaces are inching their way into the hospitality industry by offering some of the sames experiences as full-service hotels.
Coworking spaces such as WeWork, now comprise 253,000 members globally at 283 physical locations in 75 cities and 22 countries, according to Katy Conrad, corporate communications broadcast for the company. Spaces like WeWork are increasingly offering more professional and social events to create a sense of community around the workplace and encourage members to get "personal" at work.
Besides professional and business needs, coworking spaces are also addressing the work/life balance and wellness needs of members by offering hotel services.
For example, The Assemblage is a work/living space provider in New York City with multiple locations, one of which includes 79 hotel rooms, or “apartments,” where members can opt for a yoga or meditation class between conference calls.
An “elixir bar” offers up non-alcoholic beverages concoctions and the space itself has a mindfulness-centric design aesthetic. Entryways are covered in moss and an “intentions bowl” greets visitors at the front desk.
One of the greatest benefits of these types of coworking/hotel hybrid spaces is the community-building atmosphere where members are encouraged to socialize and network with other remote workers from around the world. While these hybrid work/stay hybrids are still not the norm in the hospitality industry, time will tell how the shifting needs of working travelers will drive the evolving services that hotel and coworking spaces offer.