Flexible working hubs, the missed opportunity for hotels

Like most sectors, the hospitality industry is always looking for new ways to diversify and attract new customers. Hotels by their very nature sell space, and we are seeing an increasing number exploring how they use their various kinds of real estate – rooms, restaurants, bars and lobbies – to better serve customers, and ultimately increase sales and profits.

While filling rooms overnight may seem like the obvious business objective for hotels, the changing way that people are now working offers a new opportunity for hospitality businesses to monetise some of their other prime space.

The missed opportunity

Bars and lobbies are multipurpose areas: in the evening and mornings they are highly trafficked by hotel guests, but during the day time, especially during the week, they are empty or underutilised.

With hotels often situated in prime locations, their shared spaces offer ideally located space for a number of uses, including working or meetings. With more and more people freelancing or working out of the office, there is a huge appetite for functional, appealing spaces for people to check their emails, work on the go, or even base themselves for the whole day.

One emerging opportunity for hoteliers is to capatilise on this and provide opportunities for people to work in their bars and lobbies during the week. With beautifully designed, thoughtful, appealing and highly desirable spaces already in place, and a location that is often perfect for those wanting and needing to work, hotel bars and lobbies could become the co-working spaces of the future.

Building future working spaces

Hospitality businesses will need to consider power provision in order to provide a seamless experience to these users. Power is the basis for everything else, after all who can work if their laptop or smartphone is out of battery? If hotels can provide their users with the space and power they needs, they will be able to create a great experience and a new revenue stream.

The benefits will be significant. As well as increasing footfall, providing these kind of working friendly spaces will increase dwell time, and spend on food and drink. One of our hotel partners has recently seen a 64% increase in spend at the bar after installing wireless power for example.

There is also the potential to monetise power with the added data that it provides. If a user is wirelessly powering their phone in the lobby for example, there is potential for them to order food, drink and other services directly from their device, meaning a completely seamless and productive working experience. The data the hotel receives will allow them to know exactly where the user is located so makes in-venue ordering and delivery quick and easy all round.

This data will also allow hospitality businesses to understand what areas of their shared spaces are particularly appealing to those co-working, and allow them to optimise them accordingly – perhaps creating more semi-private space or installing more charging points to meet demand. The data can also be used to cross market other services, such as availability of meeting rooms, or promotions for the bar or restaurant.

In providing a better experience and getting to know the user better, hotels will be better able to refine and improve their offering, increasing retention and return visitors. With these spaces often sitting empty, marketing and providing for the co-working generation is a real missed opportunity for hotels that could be quickly and easily seized.