When you stop and think about it coworking and the hospitality industry have a lot in common. Our business model is very similar, we both sell a basic product on a short-term, flexible basis. Hotels also have a price of entry just like coworking. Every hotel room has a bed, bathroom, shampoo, maybe a coffee station and every coworking space offers a basic suite of products and amenities. What distinguishes the really great brands and creates loyalty in both industries is the user experience.
Coworking spaces, serviced offices, and corporate buildings all offer similar amenities these days. Coffee and kitchens, ergonomic desks and chairs, meeting rooms, and wifi can be found in nearly every work space. These amenities are the category price of entry. As people return to work spaces, they are have expanded expectations. Differentiating yourself through exceptional experiences is now a key component to running a successful work space; and no one knows how to create a great experience like the hospitality industry!
Creating a great experience is both an art and science; you need to find a balance of amenities, services, and community. Workers want a work experience that allows them to feel comfortable, taken care of, and valued. The hospitality industry is the master of balancing amenities and services to create a unique and comfortable experience for their visitors. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques they use and how to infuse them into coworking spaces.
Think about the lobby of a top tier hotel. It’s beautiful, well designed, easy to navigate, and has a friendly concierge. Now think about your coworking space. What do people see when they enter the space? What is the view? Is there clear signage so they can feel oriented and confident? Is there a welcoming friendly individual? Mimic an amazing hotel lobby and find all the ways to draw people into your space.
An experience is not about one interaction, it’s about every interaction. Just like when visiting a hotel, you want every aspect of the stay to be enjoyable, from check-in to check-out, and the details matter. Connecting to the internet, easily being able to book a meeting room, a coffee machine that always works, being able to choose from multiple productive places to work without difficulty all impact your member’s overall experience.
The best hotels go beyond having a beautiful lobby and easy check-in process. They use all of your senses to create a memorable experience. Consider walking into an office that smells clean, and where you can see sunlight, you feel just right in terms of temperature, in the kitchen you hear the coffee grinder. These touchpoints all matter to the overall experience, even if people aren’t consciously aware of them.
A great hotel experience goes beyond the lobby and concierge. Can you get toothpaste if you forgot it? Can you order food in if you’re sick? Can you ask for tourist recommendations and directions? Great experiences also require a commitment to caring and excellence that is authentic. The client or customer must be able to feel you are going the extra mile and are genuinely doing what you can to offer a great experience.
The best hotels know how to differentiate themselves by offering unique experiences. Think live music shows, craft cocktail bars, and 5-star restaurants. Great experiences are unique and set you apart. Especially when people can work anywhere, you’ll need to create a work experience that competes with home offices and even remote locations. Steelcase found when places are stimulating and inspiring, they nurture a sense of community and in turn, have positive impacts on engagement, productivity, innovation and retention.
The ability to create experiences that are unique, authentic, compelling, and sensory will determine the future success of your space. If you create memorable experiences, like the hospitality industry does, and you activate your space with amenities, events, and services that are meaningful to your members, then you will have created a sense of belonging. You will have built a community and can offer people what they want in a flexible work space solution.
Just like the hospitality industry, successful brands recognize coworking is not just about the physical space; it’s also about the overall experience of the people in your space.