WORKSPITALITY – WORKPLACE HOSPITALITY
Scandinavian hotels are no newcomers to offering co-working space. Across the industry, hotels have long sought to commodify underused lobbies and business centres by relaunching them as co-working facilities – not always successfully. But aiming to reach the millennial segment of travellers, providing co-working space is widely considered key to success.
Copenhagen is currently experiencing what arguably could be called a new wave of Netherlands-based hotel brands where co-working is embedded in their DNA. citizenM is another millennial-targeted lifestyle brand based in the Netherlands, currently with 30 hotels scattered across the globe from Taipei to Seattle – and since 2018 also in Copenhagen.
“Thanks to our vibrant and large living rooms, we ooze a ‘welcome to all’ personality, which makes our hotels buzzing, guests and meeting room users enthusiastic, and outside people come in for a coffee or a drink. As we like to say, in our living rooms they can ‘work, rest and play’. While we love that our living rooms are so popular, it isn’t clear at the moment what we allow in our space. It’s logical to think that a hotel is for hotel guests, and that our meeting rooms are for people who want to do business. But what about co-workers?
“Our answer has been to introduce day passes, which also appeal to global nomads seeking an inspiring place to work for a day. citizenM is not a co-working office concept, but a great place to drop by with your laptop,” citizenM says in a statement to GUEST magazine, while also confirming their wider interest in the Scandinavian market. They are currently seeking new locations in Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Another Netherlands-based example is the ZOKU hotel brand (originally launched in 2016 in Amsterdam) that offers studio accommodation with homey, built-in workspace. Described by ‘Tech Insider’ magazine as “WeWork combined with Airbnb”, the first ZOKU hotel outside the Netherlands is slated to open later this year in Copenhagen’s Ørestad Nord district, a development set to be followed by a rollout of 50 ZOKU hotels in major European cities from Vienna to Paris as well as in several US cities.
Apart from the 30m2 Loft Studios for short-term stays, ZOKU also offers so-called Bootstrap Rooms complete with bunkbeds and access to the hotel’s ample co-working and socialising environment. Purpose-built using salvaged and recycled building materials, the 160-room ZOKU hotel in Copenhagen will also include eco-conscious amenities such as an organic supermarket.
Faced with such service innovation from emerging independent brands, major franchising companies aren’t resting on their proverbial laurels. AccorHotels is developing new co-working concepts to support their existing portfolio of 20 hotel brands. Initially targeting France, the AccorHotels co-working concept dubbed “augmented hospitality” is to be marketed under the Wojo brand name. Eight Wojo venues have already opened in Paris, and two in Lyon.
On a wider European scale, AccorHotels is to offer three different Wojo models. The first, called Wojo Spots, will cover co-working facilities accessible to hotel guests free of charge, whereas non-staying visitors must subscribe. AccorHotels aims to establish 1,000 such Wojo Spots at affiliated hotels throughout Europe by 2022. Their second concept, Wojo Corners, will eventually bring AccorHotels into entirely uncharted waters.
Although initially opening at affiliated hotels, Wojo Corners will later also open at train stations, airports and shopping centres. The first Wojo Corner was launched in 2018 at Hotel Mercure Paris Montmartre Sacré-Coeur, and the aim is to open 100 across Europe by 2022. With their third concept, Wojo Sites, AccorHotels takes the final plunge into developing a stand-alone co-working brand. Wojo Sites are to offer full-service corporate offices of over 1,000m2 but no accommodation.
The provision of Wojo co-work ing concepts – with or without hotel rooms – has been described by Wojo CEO Stéphane Bensimon as ‘Workspitality’. This expanded understanding of workspace hospitality is also emerging in corporate office development – projects where hotels provide a wide range of hospitality services to neighbouring office tenants. Skanska A/S is currently developing two new major office projects in Copenhagen that both include hotels.
Next year, Scandic CPH Strandpark is set to open in Scanport, a new waterfront business district within close reach of the city’s airport. The conference hotel will offer 357 rooms as well as a wide range of facilities from meeting rooms and underground parking to a restaurant and indoor pool – functions that will be accessible for the neighbouring office complex, Scanport Glasværk and coming office projects.
Likewise, Skanska is expanding its Nest45 office development with an annexed hotel slated to open in 2021. Located next to the city’s largest conference venue, Bella Center Copenhagen, the 186-room hotel is to be operated under the AccorHotels brand Ibis Style, a franchise that combines business with leisure – in this case in more ways than one.
“It is our experience that potential office tenants are to a greater extent than previously looking at the total package. What we as property developers can offer besides office space with a fixed square-metre rent is the flexibility of co-working space to expand according to need as well as a range of added services that include meeting facilities, catering, fitness centres and bicycle parking and repair. Other services in demand include reception, private housekeeping, food delivery and laundry service.
“Many such services are a natural part of a hotel concept that make everyday life easier for the individual corporate employees, which is why we believe it makes good sense to combine offices with a business hotel. From the developer’s perspective, then besides the availability of hospitality provision from a hotel, there are also several other facilities that can be co-utilised, such as fitness, restaurants and parking,” says Peter Nymann, CEO of Skanska A/S Denmark, to GUEST magazine.
Throughout the industry, ‘Workspitality’ promises new avenues of revenue, while supporting a better work/life balance, not least for young corporate professionals – an important factor when recruiting and seeking to retain the travel-ready Gen Z demographic