This article is a must-read for ambitious coworking space operators actively growing their projects and believing in a magic formula of the economies of scale. Here you will learn a few tricks that will help to manage your multiple coworking locations smoothly and earn more while keeping your members and visitors happy.
Branching out is the most natural way of developing a flexible business project. There are numerous benefits multi-location enterprises enjoy and the main of them is revenue growth, which is proved by industry experts.
90% of coworking spaces generate a profit if they meet at least four conditions, the first and foremost of which is that they have more than 200 members. — Coworking Handbook
Another interesting fact from the same source:
WeWork is harming 40% of all coworking spaces in its close vicinity. Among the coworking spaces based in the direct vicinity, within 1 km of the WeWork locations, 40% stated that the presence of WeWork negatively affected their business and that clearly outnumbers the positive ones (26%).
Besides, the bigger your coworking network grows, the more cost-efficient it becomes, which is the phenomenon of scale economies in action. You can save on different things:
To make a long story short, running a multi-location coworking space is similar to a sea voyage on a Symphony of the Seas, an 18-deck 1,188 feet cruise ship. You don’t feel how rough the sea is and will weather even the most severe storm.
Just think about the recent pandemic and coworking industry giants like Hera Hub, 1871, Impact Hub, and others. They turned out to be much more COVID-19 crisis-resistant while multiple coworking spaces with a single location closed.
However, operating a multi-location empire can become challenging at times. You need to find the most efficient management solutions, automate workflows, enable members across all locations to enjoy the same perks, etc.
Read on and get to know 5 secret tactics that will help you switch on the economies of scale for your shared workspace network from the very beginning allowing you to grow faster, open new locations, keep your focus on customers, and leave competitors behind.
Undoubtedly, the biggest pain of all coworking operators is negotiating an ideal lease, though I entirely agree with Liz Elam (Founder of GCUC and the Owner of Link Coworking) here:
“No one is going to get an ideal lease because landlords are smart. If you have an ideal lease it’s because of a bad landlord.” — The Cost of Coworking
Every coworking space operator has to build their uneasy relationship with a landlord on its own and since I can’t help here, let’s pass to the matters I have more expertise with — coworking space management and customers' experience improvement.
When running a multi-location coworking space, the first thing you want to make sure of is that you don’t manage bookings manually. Meeting rooms, conference rooms, and desk bookings are some of the most frequent activities administrators need to deal with.
With one location, you have a single user base and a community manager knows everyone. However, things change drastically when you scale up. A community manager administrating one location doesn’t know who may come from another location.
But you must provide all customers across your network with a consistent experience. Your conference rooms must be easy to find, pay for, and reserve. Please note that providing a consistent user experience doesn’t mean you can sacrifice members' privacy. You can’t give community managers access to the personal details of all members. You need to respect residents’ privacy and keep location databases separate.
Room and desk booking on andcards coworking space software
An automated booking system will help you solve the issue. It will keep members' directories separately within one and the same coworking space management platform. This way, each community manager will see only members that belong to a particular location. While members will be able to book desks, meeting and conference rooms across all multiple locations of the network.
Reservation via mobile or web apps doesn’t require any location manager or community manager assistance. The system is fully self-service. With the cross-location booking, members choose where they want to hold their meetings or spend their workday and pay with credits or cards. Payments are also processed automatically by the coworking software.
Additional products and perks add value to coworking space membership. Some services and benefits vary for every new coworking space location and some stay the same. For instance, you may use different food catering companies for different locations or offer discounts to different nearby restaurants.
How can a coworking management system help to save manager's time on adding the same perks? You just create separate catalogs for perks that are available for free and products that are paid and decide which locations will see them. You add locations, not products/benefits, which is much faster. Members of the added branches will always have an up-to-date perks list and apply for the Shop items they wish from the web or mobile apps.
Shop on andcards coworking space management software
The pros of such an approach are obvious — you don’t have to spend additional efforts on products/benefits promotion. Since they are accessible from the same app that members use for bookings, they are always updated on the new additions to both catalogs across all locations.
Furthermore, you are not limited by one location. You can sell your products to all your residents across the network, which increases the profit.
And finally, new members can easily discover your perks and products, choose from an array of items, apply, and even pay for the things they want right inside the app.
No matter what location coworking members belong to, they may have questions that require immediate assistance. These queries may be repeated or unique.
Excellent customer support is vitally important for hospitality projects like coworking spaces where everything revolves around coworking members' experience, members' satisfaction, and happy members. So, I advise you to follow the good practices of mature businesses and appoint a dedicated customer support representative. In most cases, a skillful professional and awesome customer support system are enough to resolve all members’ issues before they turn into problems.
Member support on andcards coworking management system
Most often customer support professionals use services like Intercom to handle queries. Such platforms let administrators work in the context (they see user details and all previous conversations), which enables them to respond quickly, be straight-to-the-point, and close support tickets faster while keeping members happy since their problems are promptly addressed.
The biggest value and benefit of a multiple-location coworking space is that a network’s community includes hundreds of people. You surely want to keep your happy & healthy coworking communities together. Each member should have the possibility to communicate with peers, get regular updates, and read community news which requires a unified single platform.
It might be challenging to find appropriate media suitable for every new member as this is a matter of preference. Some residents like Facebook, others use WhatsApp… The only solution here is to offer the community to use your own branded “social network.”
Community newsfeed on Ipade coworking space app developed by andcards
For instance, andcards coworking space software offers Stream newsfeed and communication tool. It possesses all the features members got used to on social media sites (likes, comments, emoji, feed, images, videos, etc.) However, Stream is much more exclusive. It will give members a sense of belonging to the community and keep them informed and updated on all essential news.
And the last but not least point for multi-site operators is about coworking space events scheduling. Fun and business events are like community building blocks. You are running them because events help your growing business preserve its original communal vibe.
Events management system on andcards coworking space software
There are many tools to schedule coworking space events but I believe the most convenient is the one allowing to provide a list of upcoming events sorted by date right inside the main app. It will enable members across all your locations to get notifications about new events, browse them, read descriptions, see photos, apply, and even have a reminder widget for the applied upcoming events on the home page of their coworking apps.
Running a multi-location coworking space brand can be challenging sometimes, however, it’s never boring and always exciting. When mushrooming and developing your shared office business, you have all chances to take advantage of the economies of scale and to start getting real profit.
The main idea is to build new locations but erase the borders between them. Use the unified tools mentioned above to do more while spending less. Digitalize your bookings, sales, billing and invoicing, keep the focus on members, connect them, give them the choice of amenities, and possibilities for self-service. This is the key to sustainable growth and success on a larger scale.