Hotels must avoid becoming discount WeWork

Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3

Wander into the lobby, lounges, dining areas and other shared spaces in hotels within major towns and cities on a weekday and you will undoubtedly find lots of people working. Trends in how people work today are having a dramatic effect on the trading patterns – and potentially on the revenues – of hotels that find themselves becoming the new office space.

The emergence of co-working spaces – and the stratospheric growth of high profile providers like WeWork – highlights the trend for freelance and remote working. But not every one of these people wishes to outlay the cost of renting desk space in shared properties and instead they choose to take their chances ‘desk-surfing’ in hotels (and coffee bars) where they will simply pitch up with their laptop and phone and set up their ‘mobile’ office for the day.

Hotels should be riding the desk-surfing phenomenon

This is not a problem as long as they recognise that this entails paying for food and drink. Far too many people elongate a single coffee for hours, which is clearly within their rights and we have all done it from time to time, but the reality is that this scenario should be acted upon by the hotel. To have space taken up by ‘customers’ generating very little revenue is costly to the establishment as it deprives them from serving multiple, more valuable, other customers through the working day.

Hotels should proactively encourage these freelance workers to buy food and drink throughout their stay and make it clear to them that this is the unwritten transaction that enables them to use a hotel’s facilities for an extended period of time.

A real opportunity exists here for hotels to think about how they can capitalise on generating more revenue from these desk-surfing customers. In the same way that retailers look to maximise their revenues by square foot, hotels now need to approach this in the very same way. Otherwise they risk becoming a significantly cheaper version of WeWork.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider

K3 Retail partners with businesses to provide connected technologies based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 so retailers can reach their goals now and in the future. In a size that best fits future plans wherever you need it – Cloud, Hybrid or On-premise. Our solutions drive more than 800 international retail brands from Charles Tyrwhitt and The White Company to Ryman and Sue Ryder, Hobbycraft, Wasabi and Ted Baker, K3 Retail is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and the UK’s leading Microsoft Dynamics retail partner.