Posted on: July 01, 2013
Posted by: Brigitte Diem-Guy, VP Sales & Marketing, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
I’m on my 14th business trip this year and as I’m waiting for the WiFi connection to kick in, I’m observing my fellow road warriors in the airport lounge furiously working on their laptops or tablets, solving last minute customer issues over the cell phone or discussing a strategy for the upcoming meeting before they board the plane.
Work happens wherever you go and the way people work is changing: Statistics predict that 1.3B people will be mobile workers by 2015 and 82% of Fortune 500 companies have alternative workplace/mobility programs.
Reflecting on the past 6 months’ of my own business travel I have worked in airport lounges, on planes, in restaurants, in several Starbucks®, hotel lobbies and lounges, conference centres and meeting rooms.
Not all of these places were convenient or provided a practical environment. People are looking for trusted spaces where they can be productive on demand, that are tailored to their needs at that time, and makes working on “the move” a little more enjoyable but also effective.
So where can we get some serious work done while travelling? Here are two of my personal choices:
Serviced Business Centres
Companies like Regus® for example provide serviced office accommodation in business centres around the world. Renting day offices are perfect for those needing a professional environment for a day or you can book a meeting room by the day, half day or even by the hour. If you don’t need a fixed workspace you can drop in and work in one of their business lounges however you need to purchase a membership.
Hotel lobbies, hotel business centers and the open space around meeting areas have long functioned as places to meet, network and get work done, and the increase in short-term business travel has accelerated the trend.
Our SilverBirch hotels offer free WiFi in their public spaces and some business travelers prefer for example one of our hotels’ communal tables in the breakfast areas over conference rooms for networking and collaboration as it offers a much more outgoing atmosphere and people are more open to connecting.
Our design team at SilverBirch is very conscious of the trend of work becoming more mobile and social. The lobbies and social spaces in our newly built hotels offer free WiFi, great lighting, inspiring and creative design and colors, high-top tables, alcoves with computers in the lobbies and our focused-service hotels offer smaller private meeting spaces intended for gatherings of 12 or fewer people.
As a new concept using hotel spaces as mobile work places, Marriott International now offers what it calls Workspace on Demand at roughly three dozen Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels and Courtyard by Marriott hotels. The spaces include high-top tables, alcoves in the lobbies and small meeting spaces intended for gatherings of 10 or fewer people.
Aside from wireless Internet and a casual atmosphere, the appeal of these spaces is that they are available on demand. Most reservations are made within 48 hours although some are made less than an hour beforehand. Some spaces are free to reserve, and prices for the more enclosed spaces with high-tech amenities are considerably lower than typical meeting room rental costs.
What is your favorite alternative workplace when on the road? What could hotels do better in helping you being more productive on the road?
Share your comments below…