In light of the recent pandemic, flexibility has become a necessity when it comes to business travel. As an integral part of the hospitality sector, hotels play an important role in shaping the experiences of travelers in their respective bleisure destinations. Some who feature an innovative design, co-working spaces, are currently seeing their efforts actualizing into benefits in new ways, and their success can be traced back to the most essential components of business trips.
A trend to note
Hotel chains are dealing with the rising trend of bleisure travel, which has increased by over 25%, meaning potential customers are blurring the boundaries between work and entertainment on business trips – and they expect their accommodations to provide both options as well. Some hotels have adapted to this by implementing co-working spaces, which essentially are areas located within the hotel targeted towards independent and communal work. Others have implemented similar strategies by offering day-use rooms and rentable conference rooms for business travelers.
A major cause of this trend is the current rise of remote working, where up to 30% of the workforce is working remotely, even during instances such as business trips. Because of that, the demand for coworking spaces or amenities that suit bleisure needs have spiked, and hotels adapted accordingly by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in expanding their workspaces by sometimes 70%.
Examples from hoteliers
One hotel from Brooklyn, NYC has the perfect blend for bleisure and work. Pod Brooklyn, a minimalist accommodation at the center of Williamsburg, boasts a combination of facilities catered specifically towards remote workers and business travelers. From coworking spaces located across the hotel’s public areas and larger spaces available for business conferences to a rooftop bar and yoga lessons that offer relaxation in the midst of work, Pod Brooklyn is innovatively altering the boundaries between traditional workplaces and hotels.
Another example would be Zoku from Amsterdam, which includes shared working spaces, private lofts, and even free coffee breaks for its working customers. Remote workers can pick between purchasing a monthly membership, individual coworking day passes, and renting a WorkLoft. Not only do these facilities offer a quiet space to work, they also offer bleisure experiences such as couches for socializing or buffet-style lunches. The hotel also has pop-up offices and hybrid working offsites available for companies to choose from.
Most major cities and large hotel brands are now embracing this new model, from Accor in New York and the Virgin hotel in Chicago to the Hoxton in London and Eaton House in Hong Kong. Corporations such as Hilton and Marriot are also introducing day-use hotel rooms with strong Wi-Fi that aim to attract remote workers. Some hoteliers are even experimenting with countryside venues and unique experiences, such as the Birch in Hertfordshire and other hotels that incorporate bleisure activities (such as sight-seeing) into their models.
Importance on bleisure
The experiences of business travelers on trips and during remote working is particularly important for their mental wellbeing and productivity, which play into the rise of coworking spaces at hotels. Over 87% of U.S. workers would be willing to work flexible hours and 80% would like to add leisure days on business trips, which makes the variety of amenities at their accommodation especially crucial. Often, coworking spaces and its proximity with other business travelers as well as facilities designated to help workers relax (such as breaks or bars within the hotel) can increase the trip’s overall enjoyment to a traveler.
Simultaneously, productivity during working hours can also be a large factor playing into a remote worker’s wellness. In that case, the secluded environments of coworking spaces that separate workers from potential distractions (back in the hotel rooms or at home) can be immensely beneficial to their concentrations and productivity; for example, many hotel coworking spaces provide free bottled water or coffee, which allows the workers to focus solely on the business tasks ahead of them.
As a hotelier, the convenience of business travelers must be considered when designing each accommodation. For example, many hotels offer a lounge next to the lobby where travelers and even nearby students can work undisturbed; others incorporate the local culture within coworking spaces and add unique touches to a personalized working area. Jack and Ferdi’s app include local bleisure events and 120-minute itineraries that can be useful for concierges or other employees in the hospitality sector.
On the other hand, travelers can utilize digital platforms to maximize their bleisure
experiences. The J+F App has an extensive library of coworking spaces, both within and outside of hotels, so workers have a variety of options to choose from; not only that, it provides itineraries and dining or entertainment suggestions that saves busy travelers from planning out their entire days, making business trips more straightforward as a whole.
Through the adaptation of hotels when faced with consumer demands, the emphasis on wellness and convenience for business travelers has been spotlighted. Coworking spaces are attractive options for remote workers and travelers, but they also benefit hoteliers in unexpected ways.