Workspace Association of New York Conference – follow up

Last week, our team over the pond, in New York, attended the WANY Conference. With over 150 shared workspace owners from around the globe in attendance and Ray Lindenberg (WANY President) taking charge of proceedings, positive reviews from the day have been flowing ever since.

 

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Ray Lindenberg – WANY President

Jenifer Ross was at the event and summed up the day in a recent blog, taking away from the day some interesting facts and figures, such as how, in the US, 50% work from home and 60% of coworking spaces plan on growing and expanding their business in 2014.

With a ‘Game Show’ theme, the event, which is in its ninth year, was praised for its fun and interactive nature.

Daniel Soffer, from our SOS US team, and Caleb Parker, CEO of meetingrooms.com, were at the event and Caleb gave a talk on the development of work trends and how venues can support new economy workers.

To make sure you don’t miss out, we’ve put together Caleb’s presentation for you, so you can catch up on what went on at the event last Friday.

 

And, incase you can’t watch the video, here is the script of what Caleb spoke about:

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Hello, my name is Caleb Parker. I’m the CEO at meetingrooms.com

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Today I would like to share what we believe is driving the demand for meeting rooms, and how workspace operators can position themselves to win business.

By now most people have heard about the revolution in the way people are working.

We are embracing technology that gives us freedom and flexibility to work on our own terms because it improves our quality of life.

Corporates are giving their teams choice of where and often when they work.

Small businesses, consultants, startups and nearly everyone in the knowledge based economy are shifting how they work.

People are working from home, the coffee shop, the office and everywhere in between.

For many, the need for full-time office space is going away

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But while the methods of how we do business may be changing, traditional business principles haven’t.

People want the freedom to improve their quality of life, without sacrificing their businesses

Cash flow – entrepreneurs work from home to save on office expenses; corporate seek to reduce their under-utilized real estate footprints

Image – Small businesses may not require a full-time office anymore, but in today’s virtual world where scams are a dime a dozen, image has never been more important.

Communication – Teams work remotely for weeks at a time, and meet in person occasionally

Absent a full time office to meet these business needs, the demand for our meeting rooms is growing

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Looking at the traditional workplace, a study by Hilton Worldwide discovered that meeting planners and administrative assistants “value the importance of small face-to-face off-site business meetings. For the purposes of Hilton’s survey, a small off-site business meeting was defined as a professional gathering of 10 to 25 people at a third-party location.”

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There were a lot of statistics in this study:

  1. 63 percent of respondents find off-site meetings more productive than meetings held onsite at the office, citing less distractions and a more relaxed atmosphere as reasons.
  2. 70% booked off-site meetings at hotels. A huge opportunity for serviced office operators.
  3. 82% booked projectors and 78% booked catering, both additional revenue opportunities.
  4. The majority found that booking hotel meeting space is not as easy as booking a hotel room and it required more time to book.
  5. 30% complained that it takes 2 hours+ to book hotel meeting space
  6. On average meeting planners are booking in 5-6 cities/year
  7. 63% prefer per hour pricing; many hotels charge per person

We view these statistics as big opportunity.

Between traditional officing and work shifting demand is growing for our meeting rooms.

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The challenge is driving awareness and making it easy to book.

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Which brings me to my next point: selling meeting rooms online and automating bookings

I stood on this stage 1 year ago at the Workspace Association of NY conference and talked about selling meeting rooms online and automating distribution

Yet there are still so many websites with only a contact us form for meeting rooms.

No availability calendar and no way to pay online.

Imagine trying to book a hotel or flight like this, I would move on to the next provider.

The good news is there are a number of affordable technology solutions to help you sell meeting rooms online in real-time.

A few examples are RJ Metis who are now Hubcreate, HappyDesk, LiquidSpace, Your Virtual Butler, and we even have a solution at meetingrooms.com.

Selling meeting rooms online is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have if we want good customer experiences.

And only after you automate your meeting room inventory will you be able to scale your bookings.

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Finally, I would like to leave you with some thoughts on optimizing your meeting room revenue.

In my previous career in the hospitality industry, we practiced yield management strategies to maximize our hotel room revenue.

We would review our past bookings to predict future demand.

This can be applied to meeting rooms also.

  1. By analyzing our historical data we can identify periods of low and high demand.
  2. To drive revenue during peak periods, such as Tuesday and Wednesdays between 9am-2pm, we may increase our rates for these time periods.
  3. To drive occupancy during off peak periods, such as Mondays and Fridays, we may reduce our rates.
  4. At the end of the month our overall revenue has increased because we drove customer behavior.
  5. Another area to look at is how far in advance most bookings take place. If you know that most meetings are booked 72 hours or more in advance, you may want to reduce your rates for bookings within 24-48 hours.  There’s no revenue to be made on an empty room.

At the end of the month we all want to best bottom line possible.  It’s up to each venue to decide which strategies to practice. It’s my hope today that I have you thinking creatively.

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At meetingrooms.com our mission is to help people succeed in the new economy. And we believe for meeting room venues that means driving awareness and making it easier to book.

Thank you for taking the time to review this presentation.  We look forward to working with you!

Feel free to share this blog #WANY2014

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Caleb Parker with Mark Gilbreath, CEO of LiquidSpace (middle) and Prakash Gavri, Founder & CEO of AdvantEdge Business Centers (right).
Photos courtesy of Rachelle Shea of Global Prime Office Network. Thanks for letting us share!

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