This article from EG reflects on a growing demand for hotels to offer more than overnight accommodation if they are to successfully weather the Covid-19 storm. Even before the pandemic unfolded, a trend was already emerging for hospitality and retail businesses diversifying their portfolios in light of changing customer needs. In particular, the trend of hotels-as-offices, or “hybrid hospitality”, was on the agenda for many hotel operators, who recognised that hotel lobbies and cafes were often being used as co-working spaces anyway.
Hotels, including CitizenM mentioned in the article and the likes of The Hoxton in Southwark, have been offering office services for a while – from formal meeting rooms to fully-functioning co-working areas – with the aim of providing high-quality office space without the need to commit to traditional, long-term leases. In the current climate, concepts such as these could provide more hotels with much-needed income streams while the world awaits a return to normality and for the travel industry to recover.
It remains to be seen whether the hotel-to-office concept will become a mainstream one in the hospitality sector, even in the impending age of ultimate flexible working. But, once hotels can re-open after the new Covid-19 restrictions ease, co-working areas in local hotels could prove popular with commuters who still want to avoid public transport, but who also need a change of scene during their working week. In the long term, such spaces could also successfully cater for businesses which need to remain light on their feet and for guests who need a temporary office while they are on the move. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the world returns to a place where we can really test the staying power of such models.
He said the hotels-as-offices trend, which the company has been tapping into since its inception, has been accelerated by the pandemic, as occupiers realise “we can work anywhere without a problem”