Every now and again you hear that a coworking space is not about renting desks. This is true, members come for the atmosphere and community at the first turn. They also come for a flexible futuristic experience a traditional office can't give. They want to open doors with a smartphone, as well as solve any other business matters in a tap.
Managers need to be really smart to meet members' expectations at the highest level mentioned above. If you can cope, congrats, you are doing a great job. But did you ever think that most of your management tasks including desk booking can be automated? Did you ever dream about a perfect desk booking system? Do you really need a desk booking system? Why would a member book a desk if they have a prepaid membership?
Well, let's figure out why your flexible workspace needs desk booking software, what problems it solves, and what benefits it gives both to members and managers.
Indeed, why would members book desks if they have prepaid memberships? They can just come and work…
Here are a few typical cases for desk booking.
Residents who pay for office space can book desks if they feel like changing their work environment. A flexible workspace gives much more freedom than a traditional office. Members can use the same meeting room credits assigned to the team monthly and sit wherever they like.
Most of the coworking spaces offer virtual office service. Virtual office customers who have monthly credits can also book desks instead of meeting rooms if they wish.
Do you have corporate customers? Target audiences change and today many coworking spaces try to attract corporates. Here is a cool hack on how to do it. Add company members to a company on your coworking management system and enable the possibility to add their expenses to the monthly company bill. Employees will book your desks choosing the “pay by bill” option and come to work. At the end of the month, the company manager will get a single bill for everyone. The model is really great for corporate clients because they avoid long-term commitment and pay only for the services their employees actually use.
If you enable a public sign up for your apps, which is the ability for just about anyone to register there, drop-in customers get access to your desk booking system without buying a membership. They can pay with Apple/Google pay or any other method available inside the app.
If you don't have a specific technology to manage desk booking at your coworking space, you have to handle it manually. If a person wants to rent a desk for a day, they need to find the manager's contacts, call or message the administrator, ask about seat availability, then come to the help desk, pay for the booking and only then get to work.
Looks like a totally inefficient approach both for members and managers. What are the chances to sign up or retain a customer after such a kind of booking experience? Don't think they are really big.
Poor customer experience is only one side of the problem. Let's see what happens on the administrative side. If you don't have a self-service platform for the customers where they can book a desk for a day, you probably get a lot of calls and messages via all available channels. Customers have to ask you to book a desk for them. So, you need to check desks availability all the time (which is not that simple as you have no comfy overview of them), confirm the bookings, accept payments, run the records, and so on. You are running round this circle all the time, don't you want to break free?
I guess here we can point out a few critical problems with the lack of a desk booking system.
Poor customers' experience when they need a particular desk and not just a free one.
If you are reading this text, you probably agree that it's a real pain to manually manage desk booking at a coworking space, especially if you are running a growing business and the number of your members/desks/branches constantly increases.
Will desk booking software help you manage desks at your workspace? Definitely, let's see what exactly can it do for you.
First of all, the goal of the desk booking system is to automate the process at your coworking space. It will drastically improve both members' and managers' experience. Here is how.
Quick and easy desk booking. A member or even a drop in customer can book a desk for a day with a couple of taps on their smartphone. No need to call or message a manager.
Book from anywhere. Since everything happens online, a person can book a desk on the go—from home, on the way to coworking space, or upon arrival.
Pay inside the app. No payment issues when a payment doesn't go through for some reason or a customer needs to pay at the front desk and their credit card is not accepted. The technology allows to pay instantly and choose the most convenient payment method (credits, credit/debit card, Google Pay/Apple Pay, Bill, etc.)
Peace of mind. It's always good to know that the desk of choice is waiting at the workspace and a busy entrepreneur can get to work immediately, without wasting time on arrangements.
Complete automation of the desk booking process. Since customers use a self-service platform where they choose, book, and pay for desks, you are free from manual operations.
Helicopter view on workspace occupancy. In other words, you always know who is sitting where at your coworking space, how many desks are occupied, and how many are vacant and can be sold. You can overview all desk bookings and payments history by company and by member from a single place.
Forget about overbooking or booking conflicts. They are simply impossible when all reservations are made through a uniform platform with booking data updated in real time.
Increase revenue. With public sign-up for your coworking apps, you can rent desks to drop-in customers that have no prepaid membership.
Get accurate statistical data on desks utilization. Having stats on desk booking at your workspace, you can come up with custom subscription plans and well-grounded strategies that will help you monetize every inch of your workspace.
Create the best customer journey. You can integrate desk booking with an access control system. This will enable your customers not only to book from anywhere and instantly pay for the booking. It will empower them to open your doors with a smartphone avoiding unnecessary contacts and delays, read—you can sit back and smile, there is no need to manage or administer anything.
Another great thing about desk booking is that you don't need a separate app to implement the system. In the case of andcards, it is available as one of the default solutions delivered in the package. In other words, you get a single app for everything—desk booking, meeting room booking, community building, services offering, and more.