andcards Helps CitySpace Grow & Optimize Coworking Management Across 11 Locations
Not so long ago CitySpace partnered with andcards to address the challenges and now, six months later, we got the first results to share with our readers.
We are very satisfied with andcards because we received everything we needed while having excellent customer support. What makes me especially happy is that the product "lives"—each subsequent iteration has the character of a rational evolution, based on adding more tools that, above all, are functional. — Jakub Bawoł, Marketing Manager at CitySpace here and below unless otherwise noted.
CitySpace is one of the most successful flexible workspace brands across Poland. It extends its branches to the 5 largest Polish cities—Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Katowice, and Gdansk. Its ready-made offices, coworking, and open spaces occupy 21,000 square meters in 11 state-of-the-art office blocks with premium locations and are easy to access by public transport, car, and bike.
In recent years, CitySpace has been rapidly scaling which required quick adapting of the processes and products. This growth policy allowed them to open new offices and expand their existing locations regardless of recent pandemic issues. In just 24 months, CitySpace doubled the size of offices they manage and now it makes 21 thousand square meters.
Here’s what Jakub Bawoł, Marketing Manager at CitySpace says about their strategy of growth and success:
We approach the network of offices in a dichotomous way. Firstly, we want to develop the network evenly throughout Poland, so that the client, knowing the standard of a given location, is able to confidently carry out expansions within CitySpace. Secondly, we develop the network in a local way. We have 5 offices in Warsaw, soon we will open the third office in Wroclaw, we have two projects in Katowice. In this way, the employer can give his team a real choice of office to work in, which will always be close to home, near the school, or the favorite shopping mall.
Undoubtedly, growing a coworking empire is not free from challenges. Rapid growth requires optimization which can be achieved by immediate transformation of the business and management, including the digital transformation of all business processes.
CitySpace had several “bottlenecks” which required optimization and automation. Dealing with them would unlock additional resources and fast forward further growth.
- Manual processing of bookings wasn’t effective
CitySpace is a large network, which offers dozens of meeting rooms to customers. As the business was growing, this number got bigger, and at some point, things started getting a bit messy in terms of room management.
Our meeting rooms have been and continue to be very popular. This has all involved processing a very large amount of information. We were looking for a tool that would allow us to effectively manage dozens of rooms and make it easier for clients to control their current expenditures.
Since most of CitySpace’s clients are serious established businesses, they couldn’t afford the risk of looking unorganized. Moreover, manual processing of all meeting room bookings took over 80% of administrators’ time which could be invested more wisely. So they started looking for a solution to optimize their meeting room booking processes and make it easier for clients to manage their spending.
- Needed better booking experience for customers
CitySpace has a serviced office business model, which means all workspace services are already included in the subscription price except for meeting rooms and additional workstations rented for a day on demand. Meeting room and open space desk reservations should be bought by tenants separately.
Besides, some clients have free hours for meeting room rental as part of individual arrangements. Those free hours are assigned and tracked by managers manually every next month.
Main CitySpace concern here was customers’ booking experience. Without a self-service system in place, they had to contact administrators, figure out if there was an available spot and whether they could use it for free or needed to pay.
With these two issues in mind, transparent control of room and desk expenses is proven to be crucial from a customer experience perspective.
It was critical for CitySpace to make the booking experience frictionless both for customers and managers. Ideally, tenants would have access to the booking calendar and an individual plan where they could reserve a meeting room or a desk without the manager’s help and check free hours availability or the estimated amount of the upcoming bill.
- Lack of coordination and control over bookings
Previously, the huge scope of work associated with bookings, free hours, payments, and memberships has been handled by administrators manually in various unrelated calendars and spreadsheets. At the same time, there was no data aggregation, no “big picture” view for executives.
Due to uncoordinated activities, it was extremely difficult for top management to make accurate estimations of general network performance and make data-driven decisions.
We used various forms of calendars and databases to manage the space. However, these activities were decentralized. In order to draw reliable conclusions about the operational specifics of the network, we needed to be able to have a global view and manage the brand.
- Difficulties with the external bookings
CitySpace has multiple residents with long-term contracts, however, they also provide on-demand room booking services to non-residents—those who only need office space once in a while.
Taking such bookings on the phone and managing spreadsheets was highly inconvenient for both administrators and clients, so CitySpace was looking to make the entire process more effective.
CitySpace was able to open up to outside customers through the app. The ability to book and pay instantly allowed us to shorten the distance with people who use office space ad hoc.
From everything said above, we can make up a brief list of goals CitySpace was looking to achieve with the help of andcards.
- Make the administration process across the network easier and more effective.
- Free managers from manual work to save time and redirect effort to customer service improvement.
- Improve members’ booking experience, make additional expenses transparent.
- Get a helicopter view of general network performance across all locations.
- Streamline the workspace availability and customer experience for non-members in order to attract new residents and generate more revenue.
First of all, we got precise solutions to our specific challenges. We decided to use andcards because we were looking for a platform that is specialized in a particular area. andcards takes a holistic approach to managing flex spaces, has no redundant tools as opposed to other systems we considered.
- Automated booking & simplified billing
Managers at CitySpace don’t have to micromanage bookings anymore. They can just supervise a self-service booking system at work. The hassle of Google Calendars and Google Docs are left in the past. Today members book desks and meeting rooms through the app and instantly pay for bookings with credits, banking cards, or bills.
Members don’t have to bother managers if they have free hours left. The hours (credits) are assigned automatically according to a membership plan and then appear as one of the available payment methods to choose for booking.
Residents can book workspace in any CitySpace location that fits their current business needs better. Their booking and payment experience will stay as seamless as it is at home location.
A cross-location booking solution works very well. I believe it will become more and more important in the future when pandemic restrictions will be revoked.
To free even more managers’ hours and put customers on top of their expenses, the overcomplicated time-consuming invoicing is replaced by an automated billing system. In a single tap, members can include any expenses, be it desk bookings, room bookings, additional services or events, into an upcoming company or personal bill. Although the system is fully automatic to send bills for payment, managers retain full control to review bills, add one-off expenses, and send for payment. Tenants easily pay in a few taps through the connected payment gateway.
- A unified platform to manage customers and bookings
All CitySpace members’ profiles are organized in a unified community catalog. Administrators don’t have to maintain multiple databases or use confusing spreadsheets or apps. Since andcards-made CitySpace apps are platform agnostic, administrators can use either laptop or smartphone to invite or delete members, view bookings and transactions, assign plans, send bills for payments, and so much more.
Managing members across locations is way easier now with tenant information and activity structured and automatically updated in real-time.
We received a solution to manage the rooms and the customer database. We easily migrated historical data. We opened up to external customers and integrated a payment gateway. Above all, we got it all wrapped up in a form that was customer-friendly and made the customer experience better.
- Bookings and services available to non-members outside the space
With the help of the app, CitySpace made its products and services available to the general public. If a company or an individual wants to book a desk for a day or a meeting room to run negotiations, they don’t need to come to the location beforehand, talk to the manager or call to settle the question. Anyone who has CitySpace app on their smartphone can reserve their spot in a finger tap and pay with a banking card in an instant through the same app. In fact, if you are in Poland or planning a business trip, give CitySpace app a try: https://app.cityspace.pl/.
The best thing is that the increased number of bookings doesn’t impact managers’ workload as everything is processed automatically. Administrators have full control over facilities, they can decide which meeting rooms, desks, services, benefits or events are publicly visible and which are only for members.
This capability was one of the 2-3 most important features we were looking for in an app provider. We are very happy with the first few months.
- Around 80% of managers’ time saved every month
Managers got a unified platform for efficient workspace operation. Comprehensive information about all tenants and their activities across all locations is gathered in one place and is always at hand.
Automated booking, billing, membership management, and more, save managers a huge amount of time every month. This allows CitySpace to re-allocate human resources and focus managers’ attention on really critical things such as the top quality of brand service.
The app has "found" a few hours a month for each of our employees—instead of coordinating bookings we can focus even more on providing our customers with the highest level of service. Additionally, andcards at our request introduced a number of improvements and rules that responded to our needs which were not articulated at the beginning of our cooperation. Especially noteworthy is the introduction of detailed policies for booking cancellations and refunds.
- Better control over the performance across locations
Today, there is no need to collect data across multiple sources (docs, sheets, and calendars) to estimate the performance of the network in general and every location in particular. All essential variables are easily accessible through the CitySpace app. The information is automatically updated by the system, so administrators can always see the big picture at a glance without wasting a second of their time on maintaining the data.
They easily analyze space utilization, notice positive and negative trends, make data-driven decisions, quickly resolve issues and reach set business objectives faster. Keeping the large business in control is getting even easier now with the newly developed andcards Analytics feature that provides ready-made reports on each and every performance aspect.
- Improved customer experience
andcards software makes CitySpace even more flexible and accessible to meet customers’ needs better. Now to book a meeting room, a desk, pay, or get a service, members and non-members can skip the reception desk and go straight to the CitySpace app.
We want to make our offer as flexible as possible. andcards solutions are really inspiring in this regard. We look at their ready-made tools or think about their modifications, and then consider their potential benefits for our customers. This is very evident in the context of an offer aimed at customers who do not have a signed contract with us.
- Dozens of external bookings received monthly
By making desks, meeting rooms, and other products available to the general public through the app, CitySpace unlocked new revenue streams for the business and continued to strengthen the position of the brand in the market.
Not only external sales bring additional revenue to the workspace, but also help to establish relationships, attract and convert occasional customers into loyal members.
We have already received dozens of external bookings, and this is usually just the beginning of the cooperation—the first booking opens a new relationship with our customers, who often become our regular users.
Thus, the real impact of andcards platform on our business is far greater than the number of bookings alone would indicate. andcards was, and still is, a catalyst for CitySpace growth, and we are very happy with our choice.