Earlier this month, we reported on Davinci’s findings that a significant amount of meeting room bookings don’t go through because workspace operators don’t offer weekend or after hours availability.
“By changing hours of operations, workspace and meeting room operators could increase their revenue by 10 to 20 percent and their margins, comparably,” the report concluded. Yet, while extending hours of operations might bring in extra revenue, it also means incurring extra costs.
To have a clearer panorama of whether or not adding extra hours during the week and opening during the weekends is a smart business decision, Allwork spoke with Martin Senn, Co-Founder and CEO of Davinci Virtual Office Solutions.
“It’s definitely a business decision worth considering. From my experience, most of the traditional business center operators are still somewhat stuck in the mindset that business happens from 9 to 5. That’s not the way business works anymore.”
“The way I see it is, the initial cost of adapting to meet these business requirements is a worthwhile investment in the long term. Otherwise you’re not just going to lose meeting room reservations, you’re going to lose the opportunity to service that customer on so many levels.”
There is a cost-of-lost-opportunity, if you will, if you are not offering extended business hours today. “You can quantify it however you want to, but if you want to compete in today’s market–which is fully customer driven–then you need to provide what they are looking for, or they will find it somewhere else.”
In the workspace-as-a-service industry, there is a demand for after hours and weekend hours. There is also a demand for larger meeting rooms and for catering services. So as a workspace provider, you ought to be providing this to your market.
It’s not just about staying open for longer. It’s about being able to compete in a competitive market.
If your concern is the extra cost of paying staff, utilities, and any other expenses you might incur by staying open longer and during the weekends, Senn negates those worries:. “I can tell you that customers today don’t expect an after hour or weekend reservation to cost the same as it would on ‘traditional’ business hours. A lot, if not all, of our partners have higher rates for after hours and weekends, by as much as 50%. And customers pay for it because no one else is offering it, so they pay it even if it comes at a premium.”
According to Senn, workspace providers can charge at a premium to even out the costs of the extra hours of operation.
The other question to ask is, who are the people looking for meeting rooms at unconventional hours? How do you find them? Or better yet, how do they find you?
On this topic, Senn comments on the benefits of having a live inventory in a booking site available 24/7. “There is a huge benefit for operators offering their space 24/7 in an automated way. Our research found that those with a live inventory have 49% higher booking ratios than those with non-live inventory.”
The benefits go beyond better chances of closing a deal, Senn explains. “Live inventory generates a higher reservation value. Live inventory spaces book at an average of $193, while those that are on-demand only book at an average of $140. This represents a 38% higher rate of inventory.”
As to who is booking this way? The big clients, those that lead to additional business opportunities.
“Clients looking to book during the weekend or after hours tend to need a space for longer. They also tend to need larger spaces for training, workshops, seminars, or events. These are higher-value meetings that mean more hours, more catering, and additional tools.”
So, to answer the question: are workspace after hours even worth the extra costs?
Yes, because it’s not about costs. It’s about opportunity and staying competitive in the market.