Here on OT you may have noticed a lot – a considerable lot – more conversation about coworking and agile workspace of late. More press releases, more announcements, more discussions.
It’s not just coworking and touchdown space that’s getting airtime. It’s also the way in which these forms of workspace are booked and a burgeoning need for workspace on-demand. After all, there’s little point appealing to Gen Y and offering a mobile-worker-friendly touchdown space with all the tech-savvy trimmings if it can’t be booked online.
Last year, RJmetis launched Spacedadi to help operators capture and better serve today’s (and tomorrow’s) clients. We’ve been tracking other systems too, such as NearDesk, which markets operators’ touchdown space and provides a platform from which clients can book space by the minute.
Now something else is happening which shows us that workspace-on-demand and coworking really is hitting the mainstream: The brokers are taking note.
Serviced and managed office space has been the chief product of workspace brokers for well over a decade, and until late, other forms of workspace such as coworking have fallen largely by the wayside.
New brokerage services
Earlier this month, Search Office Space announced a new booking service, meetingrooms.com, as a method of addressing the high level of meeting room vacancies. And officebroker.com has just announced its intention to offer a platform to promote and sell meeting space.
Now officebroker.com is aiming to catch the explosive demand in touchdown space by going one step further.
Starting with meeting rooms that can be booked and managed online, officebroker.com has teamed with RJmetis to offer a new system called spacebuddi which will enable clients to book a wide range of meeting rooms, workspace and ‘third’ workplace venues via a real-time transactional system.
Crucially, it will be available via a mobile app – something that RJmetis founder Justin Harley says is an important differentiator in the flexible workspace market.
“The way people work is changing and spacebuddi is enabling this change, giving independent workers the power to choose when and where they want to meet and collaborate,” said Justin, CEO of spacebuddi. “Mobile is a key part of this. Business requirements are shifting, and this is an exciting venture that lets workers book space by the hour, wherever they are, and wherever they need to be.”
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1.72 million freelancers
Justin explained that the system will appeal to freelancers – a huge market of 1.72 million in the UK alone – along with small and high-growth companies. In addition, corporates are increasingly arming their workers with the flexibility to work wherever they choose. When those employees are on the move, looking for a place to work or meet, they need a mobile solution that allows them to book and pay online, quickly, securely and seamlessly.
spacebuddi is currently building a buzz on Facebook and upon its launch in 2014, it promises to answer those needs. It aims to connect those who need workspace with those who have it. Around 200 UK workspace operators are already onboard, offering over 500 meeting and workspace venues from big-hitters such as i2 Offices, Citibase, Ventia and Clarendon Business Centres. After a UK launch, the plan is to extend the offering to key locations across the U.S., Europe and further afield.
The system will offer real-time availability and prices, allowing clients to book space by the day or hour. Payments are collected and held by the system, before it is sent to operators on a monthly basis minus spacebuddi’s commission fee.
Booking platforms like spacebuddi gives workspace operators a new marketing dimension with the potential to reach thousands more clients, both on home soil and – soon – across the water. London-based operator Ventia Ltd says that the spacebuddi system enables them to reach many more external clients than their singular marketing efforts would deem possible.
Early indications are that this is an intuitive system that finally answers our on-demand, mobile-friendly, click-of-a-button generation. We’ve spoken of the importance of transactional websites before – and solutions such as this offer an effective alternative that negates the need to develop your own e-commerce system. The question remains: would you market your space on a third party system? Or are your meeting rooms and shared workspaces already bursting at the seams? Let us know.Share this article