A new “augmented hospitality” has surfaced. Source: Shutterstock

COWORKING is a new and emerging movement in which businesses, smaller startups, the self-employed, and people working for different employees share equipment, ideas, and knowledge in an office or other working environments.

The trend has become increasingly popular as more employers and employees embrace location flexible jobs and it is particularly useful for bleisure (business and leisure) travelers. It allows people to connect easily with like-minded individuals in a setting where work is combined with social activities, engaging conversations, networking, and more.

Most shared workspaces offer a suite of office-like amenities such as hot desks, private meeting rooms, kitchens, coffee, and most importantly, a community. It is undoubtedly a fantastic way to escape the isolation of a home office.

Cashing in on this exciting trend and in an effort to meet the needs of not only bleisure travelers but also locals, hotels are evolving to accommodate the new wave of mobile workers.

More and more hotels are ditching the traditional business center model well-loved and mostly occupied by bleisure travelers to provide an area for both hotel guests and locals to gather to work and meet. While MICE facilities are great additions to have, hotels are also creating spaces which helps drive a co-working atmosphere.

According to a Guestline study which surveyed 2,000 people in the UK, when asked what their most important factors were to choose a co-working space, 43 percent prioritized internet speed while 38 percent said they appreciate quietness while they work.

Comfortability also takes precedent, with 35 percent voting for the factor, and 28 percent placed importance in facilities such as sockets, printing, and seating.

These are the major strong points which most hotels already possess to ensure that a co-working environment runs smoothly, on top of other perks such as restaurants, lobby shops, cafes, and health and wellness conveniences such as a swimming pool, spa, and gym.

Hobo’s hotel communal lobby and bar. Source: Hobo hotel

Boutique hotels, such as Stockholm’s Hobo hotel, have adapted to the coworking trend. Its website describes it to be “a meeting point, a workplace, an office or just a nice place to visit and hang out.” It also goes on to say, “..obviously you can stay here too. Check out our 201 amazing hotel rooms, all loaded up with handy gadgets you can borrow during your stay.”

The hotel also boasts a pop-up exhibition area (SPACEby) for startups to showcase their products.

AccorHotels, a French multinational hospitality company that owns, manages and franchises hotels, resorts, and vacation properties worldwide have also joined the coworking movement. As part of a joint venture with Bouygues Immobilier, AccorHotels is aiming to create 80 collaborative Nextdoor workspaces by 2022.

The move was part of AccorHotels’ strategy to rebuild itself as a hospitality platform, dubbed “augmented hospitality”.

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