Should Hotels Call Themselves Coworking Spaces?

Is It Really Coworking
Some hotels are advertising workspaces as ‘coworking’ in a bid to attract digital nomads.

As a digital nomad, I am constantly living out of new places. I typically move every week or two.

Because of this, sometimes it just can’t be helped that I need to work out of the hotel or hostel. I actually wrote this article in a hostel in Granada, Spain.

Whether it’s in the lobby, in the room, or some defined business center space, it works just fine for a day or two if I just want to get things done. Basically, it’s me being antisocial and powering through some work.

Recently, I was in Den Haag (The Hague) in Holland, chatting with some students from the Hotelschool The Hague. One of their final projects was determining a way to improve the economic value of the hotel they were assigned.

Coworking and shared workspaces came up as a potential option.

The question was interesting:

Can hotels have a coworking space within their building that benefits the local community, its guests, and the hotel? What would this look like?

There were many ideas but it will definitely have its challenges.

I have seen a few hotel chains bring up the term coworking as a way to attract more remote workers but I am always curious what it means to them.

Often times, the ‘coworking spaces’ that I have seen in a hotel are just some nooks positioned within a lobby.

Allwork-robert-coworking-hotel

Robert ‘coworking’ in a Chicago hotel last year.

Should it technically be called coworking then, or is it just the next iteration of the old business center room? Do you remember the old desktops and printer that often didn’t work?

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Beyond this, the biggest challenge with the expansion of hotels providing some sort of coworking option will be whether a community will develop due to the transient nature of people in a hotel.

I’m not so sure.

One reason that I work out of coworking spaces wherever I go is to connect to a city and people that actually live there.

Coworking is not just about having WiFi, a table, chairs, and some coffee or tea.

Sure, those are the basics sure. But the connection between members, whether it’s economic or personal, cannot be ignored. Such as community members referring each other on projects. Building relationships. The ‘We are all in it together’ mentality.

It’s all important!

Without this, hotels are just building a work space that shares amenities.

This won’t be the last time that I write about hotels and coworking as I think it will continue to become larger within the hotel industry. Whether it’s a partnership with a nearby local space or even housing an actual coworking space in a hotel, I am curious to see how these will work and develop.

Will hotels be able to build a space with a community of vibrant and engaged people or will it just be a pass-through workspace?

You tell me.

Have you seen a hotel operate a coworking space that works well? Where should I go to experience a hotel’s coworking space?