Providing Top-notch Coworking Member Experience: 3 Ways Technology Serves

5 min read

After we outlined why hospitality matters for improving coworking member experience, it’s worth exploring how technology can support your efforts.

In a previous blog post, we highlighted 3 hospitality practices you shouldn’t miss to adopt in your coworking space if you want to delight your coworking members and visitors:

  • Having a welcoming attitude
  • Being easily approachable
  • Listening and being responsive

And while having a welcoming attitude is pretty much based on your communication skills, being easily approachable, quick to respond and listening proactively requires handling a ton of information on top of your kindness and attention towards your members.

On a daily basis, you basically have to collect, access and spread information in order to provide a delightful member experience.

In this blog post, we’ll cover how technology helps with each of these aspects.

Keep on reading to see how.

Collecting information from numerous sources

The more you know about your members and how they feel at your coworking space, the better service you can provide them with.

There’s no doubt that having real, face-to-face communication is the best case scenario.

But the reality is, regardless of how much efforts you put in, you cannot be everywhere and talk to everyone. And moreover, not everybody will be willing to talk directly to you.

Here are two aspects technology can help with:

 

  • Sourcing past discussions for relevant insights

Technology gives you precious access to discussions between members and allows you to catch up with these (or at least a huge part of them) which you’re not able to attend in real time.

Most chat platforms keep a history where you can find plenty of ideas on what your community is engaged with, how you can provide a better service and be helpful to them.

Moreover, reviewing chat discussions might be essential for predicting and even preventing problems from happening.

Here are a few examples:

You notice that members discuss the awesome IT event in town last week. Why not invite the speaker for a talk in your coworking space?

You see members often complain it’s hard to find a free phone booth. Think about expanding the meeting/call amenities.

 

  • Easily collecting feedback

You must embrace feedback if you want to be successful. Period.

Sometimes members will share their thoughts about your coworking space without being asked, which is great. However, relying solely on them being proactive is not enough.

Taking the initiative and asking them about their opinion is a genuine sign that you care about them, and results in improving the way your members feel about your service.

Online tools can help you be more productive in collecting and sorting all types of information – whether you want to know what music your members prefer to be played in the hallways, or if the idea of starting a series of marketing events thrills them.

Some useful options to collect feedback or conduct polls are GoogleForms, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, polls on Slack.

Accessing information fast and easy

One way to create a feeling of delight within your members is by responding to their requests fast and accurately.

People need answers and they need them as soon as possible.

Imagine the situation when a member comes to you and ask you when their membership plan ends and how many credits for meeting rooms they have left.

If you have a small community, you’ll probably recall most of these details with ease without even touching your computer. You answer their questions in less than a minute, you chat a little bit, wish them a good day and everyone’s happy.

How do you cope with that situation when you have 100+ members? How do you make sure you’ll respond quickly and provide them with all the information they’re looking for?

Relying on technology becomes crucial.

Storing the information in Excel sheets is one option. Have in mind that the more members you have, the harder it will become to find and link information between the different sheets.

Once your member base scales above a certain level, you might also think about introducing a community management platform that is tailored to the needs of your growing coworking space.

Having easy and fast access to information like memberships, contracts, invoices, credits, or any other membership management related data, will allow you to effortlessly respond to member requests.

If you’re curious about how OfficeRnD can help you with that, check out our coworking management software page.

Keeping your members informed

Does the following sound familiar:

You schedule an event and you start wondering where to post it to make sure as many coworking members as possible can learn about it. Should you include it in your weekly newsletter? Or post it on the #events channel on Slack? Or share it through your coworking software management platform?

Eventually, you share the information on all these channels, but it turns out that many people who would have been interested in the event missed the invitation because they were too busy to check Slack, or haven’t even signed up for your newsletter.

The truth is that you’ll have the capacity to manage just a couple of channels (aiming for all is too much overkill), and the answer to which ones depends on your members!

Ask them for an opinion. Create a poll. Talk to them. They will often be glad to give you valuable insights on which channels they prefer and use regularly.


📍Bonus tip:

To make the most out of the online channels your coworking community prefers, it’s helpful to know their specifications.

We’ve covered that in a separate blog post where you can learn how to use online tools like social media and chats to improve member visibility, encourage community interactions and keep your members informed.

Conclusion

When talking about improving member experience on scale, it’s important to know that on top of having a kind welcoming attitude, you need to be capable of easily collecting, accessing and spreading information so you can keep up with your growing number of members, and technology can help you achieve that.

It will allow you to be helpful to your community, respond to their requests fast and accurately, and keep them informed about what they care about.


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coworking member experience hospitality

[Interview] Improving Member Experience in Your Coworking Space: Why Hospitality Matters

7 min read

Interview with Miryana Stancheva,
Community, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Ahoy Berlin

Remember the last time you felt delighted as a customer of a coworking space?

Probably it won’t take you long to recall the experience and tell exactly what made you feel happy.

And certainly, it wasn’t only about the great office space and amenities but also about the fact that you were treated amazingly well.

And would that be a reason to visit the space again? Most probably – yes!

As any business related to people, coworking and flexible spaces, embrace hospitality as an important building block for success. And even though hospitality is most often associated with the hotel industry, it has a lot to do with coworking as well.

Ahoy Berlin, a client of ours, has nailed the top-notch customer experience by adopting hospitality practices that add on top of their excellent workspace service.

We sat down to interview Miryana Stancheva, Community, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Ahoy Berlin, on the importance of hospitality. This role places her at the heart of the most essential processes in the company.

 


 

Ahoy Berlin

 

Ahoy Berlin is a space for coworking and innovation, where individuals and companies can rent fully equipped work stations, quiet offices and organize events under flexible terms in a playful and cozy environment. The company’s mission is to help budding startups and freelancers grow by connecting them to a wider community of possible collaborators and investors via its sister companies Openers and Tech Open Air.

The space was founded in 2012 by Nikita Roshkow and Nikolas Woischnik and currently has two locations: Berlin, Germany and Sao Paulo, Brazil. In June 2018, Ahoy was acquired by US agile office provider Knotel as part of its plan to launch further locations across Germany.

Hey, Miryana! Before we get into the hospitality topic, tell us a bit about yourself!

 

I became part of the coworking world in 2013 when I was about to start my PhD studies in Organisational Psychology and I was searching for an inspiring, unexplored topic that is really worth researching.

I accidentally came across betahaus|Sofia, which was the first and, at that time, the only coworking space in Bulgaria.

It was a sudden realization for me that coworking spaces have a very specific structure, organization, processes, and culture. I knew this is something unique which no one in Bulgaria had ever researched.

I eventually ended up with defending a PhD thesis on ‘Shared (co)working spaces and interaction models within the enterprise’ in 2017.

This is how my deep dive into the coworking world began. Over the years I had the chance to visit around 100 coworking spaces across Europe, to meet amazing inspiring people, to work in great spaces and since 2017 I’m part of the Ahoy Berlin Team.

What’s your role in the space and what are the skills needed to make it successful?

I’m responsible for the community, sales and partnerships processes at Ahoy Berlin.

Being a successful Community Manager requires a diverse mix of social skills, deep understanding of the group dynamics, ability to observe and analyze the community processes, and creativity to tackle every situation with a hands-on attitude.

On the other hand, it requires organizational skills and event management knowledge – at Ahoy Berlin we organize regularly different community events (networking and professionally oriented), we host numerous meetups and support our members in organizing their own events.

The other face of my role shows in Sales & Partnerships – I’m responsible for keeping the space fully booked – close sales deals, onboard new members, make sure they feel comfortable in their new “home”. I also do invoicing, track payments, etc.

Together with that, I’m also in charge of building a wide network of partners with diverse backgrounds who can offer interesting products and services to our community and coworking business.

What do you like most about coworking and about your job?

What I like most about coworking is the opportunity to belong to a diverse community; to be surrounded by like-minded, motivated, hardworking people in a healthy inspiring working environment which helps you to increase your productivity and effectiveness and gives you the freedom to be yourself and explore different creative ways to approach your daily tasks.

I really cherish the openness of the people, who have chosen to work in coworking spaces – they are always ready to share knowledge and experience, to give you free advice, feedback and help.

And what I like about my job is that I’m lucky to work with an amazing team with strong, transparent and supportive culture, and to have a complex and dynamic role, which combines and balances two, on a first glance, opposing concepts – the social and the financial wellbeing of the space.

What do you think is the role of hospitality in coworking?

Hospitality plays a huge role in the coworking movement and it’s not only about renting out desks – in coworking the concept of hospitality is not a compulsory service which community managers should deliver to the members, but a personal attitude and a personal relationship which evolves over time.

This is one of the reasons why all independent coworking spaces are so different from one another, and why the role of the Community Manager is an important one – he/she is the person who transforms this concept of hospitality into a unique community culture and is responsible to preserve, develop and enrich it constantly.

Only when you have this personal approach, you’ll be able to call your space a coworking space and not a shared office space.

Moreover, I do believe that exactly this culture, based on hospitality and personal approach, is the reason why a coworking space would attract and retain a specific type of members.

Also, this is how a space develops its own distinctive identity.

What are the good practices at Ahoy Berlin for improving member experience?

We like to make small gestures for our members and want to make sure they have a great experience being part of our community.

We bring them gifts on various occasions, make announcements on Slack for their success, organize regular community events. We support members and their business development by connecting them with other members and external partners.

But what I think is vital in order for your members to feel good, is to know well your community, to be able to identify their profile and based on that, to tailor the initiatives in your space and not just to organise events which might sound “cool” but are absolutely not relevant to them.

Some of the events we regularly organize and work very well for our community are breakfasts and lunches, meetups, skills exchange, ping-pong tournaments, karaokes, gatherings outside the space over a drink, etc.

It’s a very interesting and dynamic process of trying new things and constantly adapting to the community which is also changing very fast.

What’s important when meeting a new member? Do you have any special “rituals”?

We have a well-structured system when welcoming our new members. First of all, we make sure that we already know each other, that we have exchanged enough information before the on-boarding day, so we know what they do and what they are looking for, that they are informed what to expect and what the community is like.

When the day to move in comes, we give them a welcome package with some goodies, sometimes we grab a coffee together, we spend as much time as needed with them to explain everything important and to introduce them to the community.

Moreover, we always send a welcome email which contains the most important information about the space, the services, and the facilities, but also, information about the team who runs Ahoy Berlin.

And here is the crucial part in the community building process – you have to keep taking care of your members and talk to them after the on-boarding 🙂

How do you proceed when members have feedback or suggest ideas about the space?

We always encourage our members to give us regular feedback, to openly share suggestions and ideas with us and to contribute to the community’s well-being with activities and initiatives they want to organize.

We’re actually planning to conduct a satisfaction survey soon and give the freedom to every member out of these 400 people in our space, to share their opinion and suggestions – because only when you listen to your members you’ll be able to grow and do better in the future.

What advice would you give to fellow coworking operators and community managers who want to provide a top-notch customer experience?

In my opinion, coworking is as much about the service you provide, as it is about the way you approach your members. Listen to them, be open and accept their feedback. Act on it and improve.

 


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coworking space essentials

Why Coworking Has a Lot to Do with Hospitality and 3 Essential Principles You Shouldn’t Miss

6 min read

When we talk about the main elements of coworking, there’s one other thing that’s crucial beyond the flexibility, the community, and the amenities: coworking is about constant communication with people.

And if communication with people is an essential part of your business, providing a product or service is not enough. Great customer experience becomes a key element of success and hospitality is what will help you nail that.

Although hospitality is often related mainly to hotels, resorts, and restaurants, it has a lot to do with coworking. Because both hospitality and coworking are about creating a great experience for people. It’s about making people feel happy and delighted while using your services.

Coworking is a lot more than offering a desk. It’s about providing a workplace which empowers people to unleash their potential, be as productive as possible and create valuable professional connections; it’s about how you make people feel at your space and knowing how to improve their member experience.

And there’s no rocket science here.

It’s a simple understanding of the fact that people need to be treated well. And it’s what hospitality, one of the main pillars of successful coworking spaces, is all about.

In this blog post, we’ve outlined 3 hospitality essentials in the context of coworking that will help you improve member experience. 

Start with a warm attitude and involve yourself

Communication with your visitors might begin far before they enter your physical space. They may call you on the phone or send you an e-mail to receive more information or ask anything related to your space or service.

A warm and welcoming attitude might set the scene in the right way for your relationship with them going forth. Regardless of the communication channel (in person, your Facebook page, e-mail…) or intention to become a member or not, make sure to be kind and welcoming.

You cannot make a first impression twice. Every person matters and by being involved in the situation you show them that you care. It’s about how you communicate, how you onboard new members in your space, how you treat them during their stay.

Of course, your actions would be different according to the circumstances. However, there are some essentials that are applicable in every case:

  • Make sure to greet visitors when they enter your space. Small things matter – a smile and a “Hello” can do a lot!
  • Be welcoming and kind via your digital channels as well – Facebook page, e-mail, chat, etc. Don’t be too long to message back. The faster your response time gets, the more you prove that you care.
  • Try to react to requests as soon as possible. Don’t leave people to wait too long. If you’re busy at the moment, try to find somebody else from the team who can help. If that’s not an option, give them an exact idea on when you’ll get back to them.
  • Give people enough information – whether they ask you about available desks, membership plans, working hours, etc. Be available if additional questions pop up and let people know how they can reach you.

When meeting new members, the following practices will make them feel special:

  • If you have a pre-arranged meeting, make sure to be there on time! Welcome them properly, offer a coffee/water. Show them their desk and the most important areas/spots in the space that the person will need.
  • If your new member is not from town, take a little time to send them information about local restaurants and places to visit.
  • Before you go about your other tasks, make sure they have everything they need. Also, check them during the day – just to see if everything’s fine or if they need something.
  • At the end of the day, ask them about their day at the space. Do they have any recommendations/questions/feedback? Would they need anything for tomorrow if they’re coming back?

Be easily approachable

Hospitality doesn’t end with greeting visitors on the entrance. It’s about everything that happens in your coworking space and how you behave. One of the fundamental aspects of a hospitable attitude is to be approachable.

Visitors and members of your coworking space should know how and where to find you and be able to reach you easily. Don’t be that magic unicorn everyone has heard of but no one has seen.

Make sure to have someone who meets visitors. Have a reception/welcome area close to the entrance that people will easily notice.

If hiring a dedicated person to be there at all times is not an option for you, think about how people can easily get in touch with you so you can assist them when needed.

Leaving a phone number on a visible place at reception or placing a ring bell are some possible solutions.


📍Bonus tip:

Let coworking members know what alternative communication channels they can use to reach you if they cannot talk to you in person. If you check Slack regularly but rarely open Facebook, for example, communicate that so members know where you’ll be most responsive.

Listen. Respond. React.

Not only should you make yourself approachable, but proactively communicate, listen, respond and react to what people share as ideas, feedback, requests, etc.

Be around your members and be all ears. Chat with them. Ask them questions. Be aware of how they feel at your coworking space.

Communication is key. It will give you a lot of insights on how things are going and how to improve member experience.

But have in mind listening is not enough – you should be responsive and proactive:

Leaving a message without reply or not taking any actions after someone has told you about a problem they’ve noticed in the space is a sure way to make people feel negative about your attitude and your coworking space.

Regardless of how busy you are, take some time to respond to people. If you’re not able to provide an answer to their question or take action at the moment, let them know that you’ve accepted their request and you’ll notify them when there’s an update.

Keep people informed about work in progress. Sometimes solving a problem takes more time than expected – even though you don’t have a solution yet, let them know you’re working on it.

If they have a suggestion or an idea, listen to them. If it’s applicable, make it happen. If not – show you appreciate the suggestion and kindly explain why it won’t be possible to implement it. It’s essential to have real communication with your members and show them that you care.

As a conclusion: There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile

Coworking is about people. The better they feel at your coworking space, the more reasons they have to visit you again.

Small things matter. It’s what makes other people feel special and is a clear sign that you care.

It might be a welcome pack, a favor you do for them, or that you remembered their birthday and bought them a cupcake.

Providing basic services is one thing, but giving a little more on top of that is something not so many people do. And when done, it won’t be left unnoticed!

P.S. You might also want to check how you can benefit from technology like chats, social media, and coworking management software, to collect, access and spread information easier and faster, which will allow you to improve your customer service even more.


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second coworking location

Opening a Second Coworking Location: What to Consider and How to Deal with the Main Challenges

9 min read

There’s something even more thrilling than running your first coworking space and this is the moment when you start thinking about opening your second location.

But besides the excitement, there are also lots of concerns when you come to this stage of your business. Are you ready to expand? Does it make sense? How will you split your efforts between the two locations and still keep up with both?

And most of all – is it worth it?

Why open a second location?

If you’re still wondering whether or not this is a good step, here are a few reasons on why it might make sense:

Demand is rising. More and more professionals and companies are switching from traditional offices to coworking spaces. To meet the rising demand, you’ll need to provide more space once your first location reaches its full (or almost full) capacity.

Competition is rising. The tremendous interest in coworking leads to a huge rise in the number of coworking spaces slowly but surely making coworking the new normal, hence more and more competitors will rise up and fight for the attention of your members. Expanding your capacity and building on top of your product will help you to stay competitive.

Your members scale and their needs change. Depending on how you’ve structured your product, your current space might be focused mainly on flex and dedicated desks, with a limited number of offices (or none whatsoever). If desks are suitable for most starting companies, when they grow they’ll start looking for a separate office. If you can’t offer them what they need, they’ll have to leave you.

Before you make the decision to expand

Opening a second location is not a piece of cake. It needs a lot of effort, time and resources. It’s good to be sure you’re ready and really willing to expand.

Answering the following question can help you figure out if you’re ready to scale:

How is your current coworking space performing?

Analyzing your current situation is key. Is your space full? Are your resources being used at their maximum (or close to maximum) capacity – e.g. desks, offices, meeting rooms? Are your revenue streams stable (e.g. having longer-term memberships)?

If the answer is yes, think about the successful practices that led to this success and if (and how) you can replicate them. Investigate the ones that need improvement or totally failed and try to find the reasons on why they didn’t perform well.

The ability to understand why certain things in your current space were successful and others were not is key to expanding.

second coworking location

Can your current coworking space operate without you?

Once you expand you’ll no longer be able to be “on-site” and as available as before if any issues arise. On top of that, your second location will require your time and attention much more than your first, especially in the beginning. It’ll be a full-time job added to your current duties.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there something in your current coworking space which constantly requires your presence? Can you somehow change that?
  • Are you willing and is it possible to delegate tasks? Here’s a good guide on how you can delegate task successfully.
  • Do you have a clear plan on who will handle the new tasks? Do you have the right people in your team? If not, can you hire them? We’ve listed some hiring tips below.

*You’re not limited to these questions alone, but answering them will give you a better understanding of your ability to expand at the current moment.

Do you want to focus on providing the same coworking space as a product?

If your current space is focused mainly on desks and open spaces, do you want to replicate that in your second location? Or do you want to change your model and target a different kind of audience? Do you want it to be in the same town or not?

Here are 3 success stories of coworking spaces opening their second location providing food for thought in terms of location and business model.

Besides exploring real-life examples, examine the market, do research on what the other spaces close to your next location provide and try to find information on what the coworking audience needs. Is there a demand for a coworking space with more offices? Or your town is a crossing point of coworking nomads who prefer quick access to a hot desk and meeting rooms?

This will give you valuable insights on what location you should search for, how to fit it out, how to plan and distribute the space between open space and offices, how to plan meeting rooms, what services to provide, etc.


📍Extra note: How do you assure your first location’s members won’t abandon it because of your second one?

That’s something you cannot fully control. The main factor for members in choosing a coworking space is the location and the amenities. So if your new coworking space fits your members’ needs better and reduces their commute time, they’ll most probably move. There’s not much you can do about this.

What you can do here to ensure your first space stays intact is to gradually improve and renovate where possible – from the fit-out to the amenities, the service management, etc.

second coworking location

Let’s consider you’ve already found the location, signed the lease, finished with the fit-out and you’re ready for the next step.

Here are some important aspects to consider, that should help you expand in the most efficient way possible.

Multilocation operations management

One of the main challenges is to replicate all the things you’re doing – the processes, the routines, etc.

Up until now, you’ve probably had all this in your head. Now you have to structure it somehow and make it accessible to the rest of your team. Sad but true – you can’t be in both locations at the same time so you’ll need someone to help you.

Getting all the operational procedures down on paper is a good first step. This will allow other people to take ownership of some of the countless responsibilities you have.

You’ll have your 2 locations operating separately, but having the same procedures and rules in both will allow you to operate more efficiently.


📍Bonus tip: Once you start writing down all the procedures, there’ll be a lot of information to be structured. It’ll be essential to stay organized and keep everything in order. Here’s a useful app: Notion, recommended by SharedSpace, a client of ours, who used it to manage tasks when they were opening up their second location.


Once you have all your processes written down, it’s important to have the right people to relay them to. Let’s look at the important things to consider when staffing your second location:

Staffing your second coworking location

Your team is incredibly important as it’s the core of a coworking space. It’s what enables you to offer the services you offer, to meet your members, to issue their invoices, to manage cash flows…in other words: to operate.

Your team is the voice of your coworking space, brand, and its reputation.

Here’s an inside look of HR best practices for hiring for coworking spaces.

staffing second coworking location

Hiring an Operations/General Manager (or giving this role to someone of your existing team) would be your best first step. You’ll need someone to help you with all day-to-day tasks, answer calls, meet suppliers 

and help you with managing subcontractors, visitors, etc.

Eventually, when you already have your first members, you might think of expanding your team with a Community Manager.

If you’re wondering if you should hire new people or relocate part of your team to the new location, there’s no rule of thumb. Still, consider the following 3 most used practices and evaluate which one will fit your situation:

1/ You relocate team members from your first location to your second

The main benefit here is that you’ll have someone who’s already familiar with your processes and will manage to deal with tasks quite easy and fast. Also, it will be someone trusted and experienced, knowing your space, operations, and community.

In addition, you can provide some of your employees from the first location with the opportunity to grow professionally by taking ownership of additional responsibilities.

second coworking location

2/ You hire new staff for your second location

This will bring people with new ideas and will give a fresh start of your second location. Of course, they’ll need time to get familiar with the processes in your coworking space, to adapt and learn, but if you and the rest of your team spend enough time and dedication in training them, things will fall in place eventually.

Of course, it’s good to find people who have experience in the coworking industry, but it’s not mandatory. Someone who simply has the passion for coworking and is highly motivated and eager to learn can be a great fit for your team!

Also, it’s good to consider not only the professional expertise of the people you hire but if they are a good cultural fit for your coworking space as well. Do they resonate with the company vision and mission? Do you share the same values?

Hiring people who correspond to your mindset will build a strong and well-performing team.

3/ You hire new staff and rotate your team members between the two locations

This well-established among coworking spaces practice applies mainly for operations/community staff.

New and old employees rotate on a regular basis between spaces, so they can learn from one another and be familiar with the processes, the members, and the challenges of both locations.

Rotation can be done on a weekly or even a daily basis – it depends on you.

Scaling your community when expanding

You know how to reinforce the consistency of your brand in both locations with the design, the concept, the customer service of your space – you replicate them and implement the same procedures and practices.

But when it comes to community, how do you replicate that?

The truth is community emerges naturally. It can be neither replicated or forced, but you can try and imbue each “new community” with your vision and the same values that are driving you as a business.

second coworking location

For example, if one of your core differentiators is to be helpful with the service you offer and encourage your community members to grow, support that in your second location as well.

Probably you’ll end up with 2 separate communities which will be slightly different, but what’s important here is that they’ll share the same values. And that’s what gives the consistency of your brand.

Of course, it’s good to follow some essential best practices when fostering your community but have in mind a lot of it comes from you as a founder and your team. If everybody is on the same page about your vision and values, things should start developing on their own.

In the beginning, with a single coworking space, it’s quite easy to maintain this – your team spends almost all their time together – you communicate constantly with each other, you share tasks and activities, you gather for a beer after work, and everyone is involved in almost everything.

To keep that when expanding, hire the people who resonate with your values. Try to encourage the connection between team members. Think about how to have them involved in the processes that run in both spaces. Meet regularly – for sharing company updates and discussing important stuff, but for informal team gatherings as well.

Conclusion

Opening a second coworking location is a huge step. It’s a full-time job requiring a lot of dedication. During this journey, you’ll need focus on evaluating your first location’s performance, defining procedures, hiring the right people and ensuring your community stays authentic.

As long as you and your team have the right focus and well-established processes, and you share and spread the same values, things will start developing smoothly and allow you to grow successfully.

P.S.If you’ve enjoyed reading through this post content, don’t miss to sign up for our newsletter (subscribe button at the bottom of this page), so you can stay up to date with our coworking tips and insights! 

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

6 Tips on How To Market Your Coworking Space Meeting Rooms

7 min read

Meeting rooms in your coworking space are not only a necessity but also the second largest revenue stream after rent!

After you’ve planned how much and what types to have in your space, it’s important to know that, if well marketed, meeting rooms can increase your coworking space’s income.

marketing coworking space meeting rooms income streams

Credits: Cushman & Wakefield’s Coworking 2018 report

To successfully market your coworking space’s meeting rooms it’s crucial to invest efforts in several areas – from digital marketing to presentation, to maintenance, to promotion…the list goes on.

In this blog post, we’ll cover 6 points that will help you attract more customers to your meeting rooms.

But first, there’s an important distinction we want to make: your promotional efforts should be different if you’re focusing on people which are part of your community, or people outside of it.

Marketing meeting rooms to your coworking members require fewer efforts as you’ve basically succeeded in the main challenge – you’ve brought these people to your space and they are already using them.

Tracking and improving the usage of meeting rooms in your coworking space is a good way to encourage bookings and improve members satisfaction. You can add meeting room credits to membership plans, or offer discounts on conference rooms to virtual members. Also, it’s important to remove any friction from the process of booking, accessing and utilizing.

Marketing to the public is a challenge and it requires plenty of efforts. Here are our top 6 tips:

1/ Take advantage of marketplaces

Marketplaces like DaVinci, Liquid Space, and Meetingrooms allow you to reach more people than by relying solely on your own channels.

These websites generate tons of traffic on a daily basis so they can connect you with lots of potential customers.

They have filters like location, capacity, amenities, etc, so people can get results that match their needs.

The presentation here’s important. Make sure you’ve included enough information so people can understand what you offer, and photos, so you can stand out among all others on the list.

2/ Optimize your website for search engines AND people!

marketing coworking website

The majority of people will initially reach you via your website.

So, how do you make sure it’s easily discoverable?

In its core, this consists of optimizing your website so it appears when people search for specific keywords and phrases (e.g. “meeting rooms”). Here are a few tips:

Follow the general SEO practices

Working on your page content, page speed, URLs, meta descriptions, etc is the foundation. Here’s a good article giving a brief explanation (and a nice video included) on the SEO essentials it’s good to focus on.

📍 Bonus tip: Focusing on local SEO is an awesome idea, as web searches for meeting rooms in almost all cases include a specific location like “meeting rooms in London”.

We’re not diving into this specifically in this post, but here’s a good guide on what local SEO is and how to take advantage of it.

Use content to boost your SEO

There are several reasons to invest time in creating a content strategy like reaching your target groups and driving traffic to your website.

Blogs are just one of the tools that can do that job. Tips, how-tos and any other information that’s useful for the people you want to attract to your space have a great impact not only on optimizing for search engines but on your overall brand reputation.

Make your website mobile friendly

marketing coworking website

We spend a significant time on our mobile devices, so the chances people will visit your website from their smartphone are high. Mobile friendly websites are ranked higher by Google and provide visitors with a better experience while browsing.

Besides for search engines, optimize for people!

Include on your website all the information a potential customer would need to make a decision. After all, if they don’t know what you sell, they’ll won’t buy.

Make sure to include location, rates, meeting facilities, room capacity, even parking/public transport instructions! If you offer additional services or amenities, make sure to point that out.

3/ Make meeting rooms easily bookable through your website

Your potential customers will probably have the following digital journey:

Search in Google → Come to your website → Receive enough information → Make a decision to book a meeting room

Eliminating any friction in the booking process is key to increase chances people will eventually book. Make booking easy, intuitive and quick!

It’s a good idea to make bookings possible at any time. Sometimes people need to book a meeting room urgently or it’s late in the evening and they need a room for the next morning.

A good way to achieve this is to expose the live availability of your meeting rooms to the public and allow people to directly make a booking.

You can do that with a number of scheduling tools, including OfficRnD’s meeting rooms management component (example screenshot below).

coworking meeting rooms booking software

4/ Present your meeting rooms interactively

The famous quote “A picture is worth a thousand words” totally applies here!

The idea here is to give a detailed presentation of your meeting rooms, so people can get a better and more complete feeling of them while browsing your online images.

Make sure you have great, high-quality photos. Hiring a professional photographer is a good idea. He/she will know how to capture the space from the right angle, with the proper lighting.

The more interactive you go, the better. Think about making 360°photos, videos or virtual tours. They require more money and efforts, but they are totally worth it because they present your meeting rooms in necessary detail.

📍Bonus tip: Including people in the photos/videos will create a better, more human feeling when your website visitors browse your gallery.

5/ Treat meeting rooms as a separate service

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

Provide exceptional service

Everything from cleanliness, to amenities, to properly working multimedia/ventilation! You don’t want to ruin a business meeting because of a lost HDMI cable or broken AC during a heatwave.

Listen to people and respond to their needs.

Maybe a need for soft drinks has popped up in the last minute. Or they’ll need an additional flipchart. Let people know they can reach out to you if they need something.

Even if they need a service that you don’t usually provide, it’s still worth it to go the extra mile. Probably it’ll be much easier for you than for them to organize their catering (as you probably know good suppliers from different events you’ve hosted). People will appreciate that gesture.

Take it personally.

Make sure to welcome your external guests when they arrive or pre-arrange access if they’re using your space after hours.

They don’t know your space so make sure they know which areas they have access to, and how to find things like the kitchen or bathrooms.

It’s also handy to be clear they know if they do or don’t have access to the community tea/coffee/snacks.

📍Bonus tip: Get to know the people who are coming to your meeting rooms. A quick chat with them about who they are and what they do is always a good way to learn how you can help each other in the future.

6/ Public events, promotions and pro-bono

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

The more people come to your meeting rooms, the bigger the chance they’ll think of you when their next meeting/event is coming up. Hosting public events can help you a lot!

Think about what kind of event your target audience would be interested in and organize them.

Giving discounts to people/professional organizations or even offering a room for free sometimes is another good way to promote your meeting rooms or just a great way to help out a local organization.

Conclusion

Meeting rooms and event spaces are a great way to increase revenue and have new people coming into your space. Treat your conference rooms like the asset they are!

Have you tried any of the approaches mentioned above? Share with us in the comments!

What’s Wrong with Coworking Software

3 min read

And what we’re doing about it.

Coworking Europe Conference 2017, Dublin – one of the unconference topics was ‘What’s wrong with the coworking software?’ – hosted by Hector Kolonas from included.co.

‘It’s over-complicated, not integrated and really not good enough.’ said the crowd.

It’s true and of course, there’s a range of reasons for it.

Software Needs Big Investment

Building software is the best but also, the worst thing you can do. It’s expensive. It’s very expensive. It’s more expensive than you can imagine. Why’s that? Because software engineers are very expensive. Then you need to document it, you need to support it, you need to ensure its high quality, you need to extend it. Yes, the more you add, the more your users will demand. Building software is a never-ending process. If it ends and you stop pouring money into it, then it’s dead.

Coworking as a business used to be small, niche market. Which resulted in been unattractive to software companies, investors, and tech startups. So the first coworking management tools had to deal with it by themselves with the resources they have.

On the other side, you have sophisticated users – the coworking manager. People, who are used to work with advanced, professional tools built by big software companies and startups, such as Slack, Xero, QuickBooks, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Intercom, and so on. The standard for Software is higher than ever. We all have big expectations and little patience and tolerance because we’re used to using great software. But behind these great software solutions, there are big companies with hundreds of engineers, support, QAs working on them and millions of dollars in investment.

That’s why we raised $1M. You can’t build great software with 2 engineers sitting in their coworking space.

Lack of Product and UX Vision

Some of the first coworking management solutions were built with a complete lack of product and user experience vision. In today’s world, UX is key. If the software looks bad, feels out-dated and is hard to use, there’s no way to be successful, of course. As mentioned, users have very high expectations for software and the user experience is one of the first bits that all of us see.

That’s why, we emphasize the user experience, both for managers and members. 
Software Development - How it works

Lack of Speed

Others are too slow. They have a vision and drive their product well, considering the user interface and the user experience but they have no speed. The coworking management solutions are very complicated platforms. It’s a business critical type of software – ERP as it’s known in the traditional business world, or PMS in the Hotels world. It is a HUGE piece of software. The amount of functionality, integrations, and reliability that’s required is massive. In order, to build a great coworking management software you need speed. You need speed and dedication from your product development team.

That’s why we invest all resources in Product Development. We release new functionality and updates weekly and the number of changes is great. Check out our Release history.

Lack of Good Support and Integrity

In order to provide a great software solution, you have to start with good support and a great team. You need people that actually care about others and care about the industry. People with high emotional intelligence who are willing to sacrifice their comfort for their customers. Something that is key and is the ethos of Coworking – members and customers comfort is first.

Building great software also requires integrity which is not present in some of the vendors. One of our competitors tried to hack us. Others are using nasty marketing techniques and paid Google ads containing ‘OfficeR&D’ to get you to their misleading comparison pages. Not sure if this will bring them any good opportunities. I’m only sure that investing in their product will bring more value to their customers.

Being nice usually helps. Having integrity also helps to build better software. We invest a lot in our team and the quality of support that we provide. 

We know what’s wrong with the Coworking software and we know how to solve it. We truly believe that investing more in our team and our product will take us a long way. We have a vision, we have a great team and amazing customers, we secured good investment, and we move fast. In a year or two, the coworking and flexible workspace management software will be different. We will make it different.

Coworking, Community and Collaboration.

2 min read

I really like people and I really like building community. I didn’t know this would put me on the path to my dream job, but, it did. In a way that I never expected.

After working as an Executive Assistant for seven years I was looking for a change but I didn’t know how to break out of the kind of work I was doing. I also had no clue what I would do next…until I interviewed for a position as a Community Manager at a coworking space in Los Angeles. I didn’t even really understand the concept of coworking, but, walking into the space for the first time was kind of like falling down the rabbit hole. What was this place? What were all these people doing? Is that a kitchen stocked with snacks and coffee? Why is everyone so happy? I didn’t really understand what this place was but I wanted in. Big time.

Long story short, I got the job and my journey into Coworking began…

It became clear early on that the community were going to become my colleagues, friends, and mentors. These relationships began to shape the way I thought about my work and my life. I was collaborating on projects that I was passionate about and working with people who had left the stable and mundane for the unknown. It was infectious and inspiring. A lightbulb went off; collaboration within a community is one of the building blocks of coworking, and it was awesome! I was hooked. Still am. 

Now, you don’t get coworking, community, and collaboration without a lot of work behind the scenes. There is a lot to think about  – payment processing, community management, space layout, location, community events, promotions, sales, partnerships. This list goes on…and on and on. It’s kinda messy but it’s also kinda awesome. I spent a lot of time putting really solid systems in place so I could streamline my work and keep it as simple as possible. This was imperative because if that was in place, then I could get back to the part of the job I loved; hangin’ with my community and focussing on the bigger picture.  

There are a lot of components in building a coworking space and worrying about the back-end should be the least of your worries. My advice to anyone managing a space or anyone starting out – get solid systems in place and get feedback from your trusted community members about what they think is working, they will be your best (and most honest) allies. 

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
– Henry Ford

Automated door access using OfficeR&D and Kisi

2 min read

KISI + OfficeR&D

At OfficeR&D, we work hard to simplify the workload of the community manager by including user management, meeting room bookings, payments (and much more!) into one platform. However, we noticed an increasing trend; managing physical access to office and shared spaces can be quite complex. We understand that each community is unique and how your space is used differs from person to person. Seeing a need for simplified door access, we did some research, listened to our customers and as a result, we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with the awesome keyless door entry system, Kisi!

Door Access with KISI

Kisi is an access control app for mobiles. It allows members to enter your space using their smartphone. No keys, no key cards, no problem! Even better, it has many features that will give you insights into who is using your space, and when.

How the integration works?

OfficeR&D allows you to easily grant or remove access from members depending on their membership plan. This means that when a person’s membership begins they will automatically get access to your space. The same happens when their membership ends; access will be automatically removed. No more keeping track of keycards, cool huh?

Ready to get up and running? See our handy help article here.

Optimizing Workflow in the Office (Infographic)

4 min read

This post was originally published on Online Course Report website.

We’ve all experienced the state of flow at one point or another. Time seems to stand still, and there’s only one thing in the entire world: your project. At other times you might have spent days trying to chug through what you’ve accomplished in one sitting. Your stomach growls and you realize it’s already lunch. But if you’re like most of the workforce, this state only occurs sporadically.

Luckily, we now have a solid body of research that details the do’s and don’ts of achieving flow. Check out some of the basics below…

optimizing-workflow-IG

Optimizing Workflow and Productivity in the Office

We’ve all been there. It’s a busy day at work: emails flying, bosses checking in, meetings to attend, phones ringing off the hook; on top of work-related instant messages, personal instant messages, personal text messages, tweets, Facebook updates, etc., etc.

The average worker experiences an interruption every 3 minutes. It typically takes 23 minutes to return the original task.That means you’re progressively falling more and more behind. Every day.

Time working/Time spent recovering from working/Total time:

  • 3 mins/23 mins/26 mins
  • 6 mins/46 mins/52 mins
  • 9 mins/1 hour 9 mins/1 hour 18 mins
  • 12 mins/1 hour 32 mins/1 hour 44 mins
  • 15 mins/1 hour 55 mins/2 hours 10 mins

Sound familiar? At this rate you’ll have spent less than 30 minutes on the project you’re trying to focus on by lunch. In fact, recent research suggests the average worker only works 3 days a week – or about 1.5 hours a day.

74% of businesses report taking at least one measure to minimize office distractions and optimize workflow. Let’s examine some effective strategies.

Cancel All Your Meetings

Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” — Dr. John Kenneth GilbraithMany tend to agree.Percent who believe meetings are a time-waste:

  • 40% Employees
  • 30% Managers
  • 25-50% Executives
  • 70% of employees say meetings don’t help them complete work.
  • 67% of employees say they spend up to 4 hours per week preparing for status update meetings.
  • 45% of senior executives say their employees would be more productive without meetings.
  • But only 16% of companies report reducing workplace meetings. We’ve become excellent at pretending to get stuff done, and increasingly awful at actually doing so.

Get Rid of the “Multi-Task” Ethic

The science is out: there is no such thing as multi-tasking. The more apt term is task-switching, and it’s shockingly ineffective – to the tune of a 40% decline in productivity. Workers attempting to juggle set tasks with emails or phone calls literally become dumber, suffering a 10-point IQ drop. That’s the equivalent of missing an entire night’s sleep, and twice the effect of smoking marijuana. In fact, with the rate of errors you’ll make interrupting workflow, multi-tasking quickly becomes not just unproductive, but counterproductive.

Interruption Duration / Error Rate of Task:

  • 3 seconds / double
  • 4.5 seconds / triple

The good news is that, with a healthy dose of self-discipline and good habits, we can retrain ourselves to focus on the task at hand. Some Easy Methods:

  1. Turn off – or at least silence – your cell phone. Just do it.
  2. 2) Avoid chatty, back-and-forth internal emails. Use a work phone or visit in-person.
  3. 3) Make a simple, accomplishable to-do list. 3 items a day.
  4. 4) Prioritize on-the-go. If the task is non-emergency and not on your to-do list, make a note and return to it later.
  5. 5) Learn to say no – or at least not right now. If it can wait, make it wait.==Let Workers Determine their

Workspace

Never overlook the importance of the physical work environment. Whether your office is open space, cubicled, or a hybrid, what ultimately matters most is worker empowerment.

Worker-Empowered Offices Promote Personalized:

  • Work spaces
  • Office decor
  • Common areasScience Shows Worker-Empowered Offices Enhance:
  • Business Morale
  • Productivity
  • Well-Being

Once you’ve been given the keys to the office, consider these additional tips.

Productivity Increasers

  • Rounded furniture
  • Green, blue, and red colors
  • Natural light
  • Plants
  • Outdoor views
  • Healthy snacks
  • Personal photos or pictures
  • Ergonomic desk chair/standing desk

Finally: Take a Break!

Scheduled, disciplined breaks are different – and much more productive – than unscheduled interruptions and distractions. A 30-second mini-break can increase productivity 13%. A 15-second break from staring at your computer reduces fatigue by 50%. And if you can get away with it, a 40-minute nap increases alertness by 34%.

Breaks Help Us To:

  • Reduce boredom
  • Retain information
  • Re-evaluate goals
  • Improve self-control
  • Generate new ideas
  • Re-energize

Your workflow is ultimately just that – yours. Find what suits you, and stick with it until you discover something even better. For now, get back to work!

Workspace that works for you

4 min read

The tech and creative industry is booming. In the last five years, the tech sector has experienced a surge in employment with 24,500 new jobs created in Central London, which holds huge implications for the capital’s office market. This development has led to an evolution in office management, as occupiers look to use their space in different ways to stimulate productivity, support staff wellbeing, and promote collaboration.

For the last 3 months we had the opportunity to meet with dozens of managers of flexible office spaces. Based on our experience, we truly believe that flexible offices are here to stay and grow.

Here are some of the key elements that tech and creative companies prioritize in their workspaces.

Flexibility

The volatile nature of the tech industry means that it can be difficult for companies to plan ahead, especially for start-ups and SMEs. As a result, occupiers will usually seek short-term leases with an early break clause. Space commitments can change drastically within a short space of time due to the rapid growth potential within the tech sector. Occupiers will seek spillover space where possible, in which they can expand into to avoid incurring the added cost of relocation.

eOffice

“Workspaces that work for you.” eOffice provides inspiring, flexible workspaces and services in 200 locations around the world.

Collaboration

Collaboration is at the heart of creative industries and central to their office culture. Particularly for start-ups and SMEs, collaboration between like-minded individuals and companies is a major driver for growth. As such, we have witnessed the emergence of coworking and incubator spaces such as TechHub, Bathtub 2 Boardroom, Edspace and Second Home.

Bathtub 2 Boardroom

Need a supportive home for your business? Welcome to the tub!

Quality

As property costs soar, employers are increasingly prioritising quality over quantity when it comes to the workplace. Rather than taking on the cost of relocating to larger offices, tech and creative companies look to use their existing space more efficiently. By seeking ‘spaceless growth’, they focus on enhancing the quality of the space they already occupy.

Headspace

“We provide a modern, flexible, design-led space for young and ambitious businesses”

Wellbeing

The wellbeing of employees is crucial to attracting and retaining the best talent, and increasing productivity at work. The most progressive workplaces offer a variety of both formal and informal settings. For instance, a mix of collaborative and quiet spaces cater to diverse types of work and personalities. These employers also consider employee satisfaction outside the immediate work environment, and offer access to refreshments, exercise, and relaxation to stimulate both physical and mental wellbeing.

i2Office

‘Tomorrows office today’

Brand identity

Many tech and creative companies use their workspace to communicate the values and culture of their brand. A unique space can both attract your next generation of employees and inspire your current ones. As offices increasingly serve as a focal point for face-to-face interaction between staff and clients, a distinctive workplace can help project a positive brand image.

Second Home is the place where entrepreneurs and creative businesses come together, in the pursuit of great work

Second Home is the place where entrepreneurs and creative businesses come together, in the pursuit of great work

The flexible, serviced offices provide all the benefits that the modern, dynamic companies are looking for. That’s why we believe they will grow and thrive even more in the near future.

Office Management 2.0

Change to the office requires change in the way we approach Office Management. OfficeR&D is a new platform that embraces these changes in office spaces. We help Managers of Flexible offices ‘Understand their space and make it better’.  We put the floorplan in the centre of office management and enable managers to build information layers on top of it.

We connect the space with the zones and moods, current availability, profitability, and the members of the office. That way the manager can make the space:

  • Flexible & Efficient
  • Collaborative Communicative
  • Productive & Creative

OfficeR&D Occupancy

Please let us know if you would like to see OfficeR&D in action by writing to us at info@officernd.com. Your feedback and comments are always more than welcome.