Guest post by Steve Golding, founder of cloud based white-label booking platform Meeting Hub.
If workspace operators ran hotels like they tend to run their meeting and conference rooms, then there would be a permanent vacancy sign out the front or the hotel would have long been out of business.
I’d like to say this is an exaggeration. Alas, in many cases, it is not.
Meeting rooms are the most profitable asset of serviced workspaces. Unfortunately, the majority of workspace operators have failed in realizing this, and they have left their meeting space vacant, open, and sometimes even forgotten.
Part of the blame goes to the fact that not all workspace operators offer their meeting and conference rooms to the general public. They usually reserve the right of use to members only.
This is a big mistake.
But even more of a mistake (or offense if I may) is the fact that those workspace operators that do let the general public book their meeting and conference space often make it a pain to deal with them.
I’ve seen this happen one too many a time.
At Meeting Hub, we work with various operators every day, and we are still surprised at the great lengths some of them go to in order to discourage customers from using their services again.
Think of it this way:
Imagine you walk into a 5-star hotel after a long international flight, only to discover that your room has no pillows, only half a bedspread, and that hot water gets turned off after 3 minutes of running.
So you decide to call the reception desk. Only, when you’re voicing your complaints, they tell you that the pillows, full bedspread, and hot water come at an extra cost, so you’d need to pay extra in order to truly enjoy your stay.
So, what do you do?
Would you pay? And if you do, would you ever come back to the hotel?
Or would you leave to find another?
Most people due to time constraints and other factors are likely to either suck it up or pay the extra fees.
One thing is clear though, they aren’t likely to be returning anytime soon out of their own volition.
The same can apply to those who book meeting and conference room space and then are faced with extra charges and fees.
This might surprise you, but there are operators out there who are still charging for internet even when people have already paid for the meeting or conference space.
Imagine a sales team of 10 that jets into a city for a key sales meeting:
They have their meeting room booked and ready. When they arrive to the meeting space, they are told that internet costs an additional $40 per head. That’s $400 that they’re probably not authorized to spend. (Or they simply don’t want to, it’s a ridiculous cost!)
There are 3 scenarios here: A) they pay the fee, B) they run to a store and buy a 4G dongle, or C) they tether off one of the team’s phone access points.
My guess is that they go for option C. It’s fast, efficient, and cost-friendly. On the downside, this means slow internet and a sales demo that is (unsurprisingly) a flop.
What will they remember and associate with the meeting space? How likely are they of using the same facilities again?
Though you might be quick to jump to conclusions and say that this is an example of an operator overpricing things in an attempt to profit more, this isn’t always the case.
The root cause workspace operators do this is because they cannot bill added services and benefits effectively. So rather than bundling it in, they create their own barriers by design.
This is a problem that can be easily fixed, provided you are willing to use the the right tools and follow-up with proper management.
Bundling options as well as free add-ons, like coffee and tea, can go a long way in making workspace and meeting room visitors feel welcomed. It’s about making the experience as seamless as possible for all parties involved.
Having a platform that allows for clients to book the room with bundled options is likely to increase your revenue and improve the client’s overall experience. Clients know from the beginning what they’re getting for their money and gives you the opportunity to prep your meeting space and the add-ons they asked for before their arrival.
There are various online booking platforms out there that cater specifically to the workspace as a service industry. Meeting Hub is one of them, with a predominantly strong presence in Australia and Asia Pacific. But there are others as well, including Evenues, Alliance Virtual Offices, and Davinci.
The takeaway here is that your meeting room profitability will not improve simply by having the latest technology (though this certainly helps), you need to also offer quality service and bundle options that will appeal more to today’s clients.
Don’t lose out on business and revenue simply because you’re using outdated processes and tools.