What Airbnb’s Success Teaches Us About Office Hoteling

July 26, 2017

From Interesting Concept to Industry Disrupter

When Airbnb got started—just 9 years ago—many people thought ‘that’s intriguing, but I would never vacation in a stranger’s spare bedroom.’ Today, 115 million travelers have stayed in Airbnb listings in more than 191 countries. Already responsible for about 3% of the overall revenue in the hotel sector, it is safe to say that Airbnb is rapidly disrupting the hospitality industry.

What Airbnb offers business and vacation travelers is a wide range of accommodation types and prices in almost every location one could dream. From a low-cost bedroom in a host’s home, to an adventurous yurt, cozy cottage or even an executive estate, travelers can create exactly the experience they want.

Some Travelers Dislike Hotels and Not Every Worker Needs an Office

Just as Airbnb offers travelers the perfect balance of casual hospitality and a choice of accommodation types, office hoteling offers businesses the perfect balance of employee flexibility and cost efficiency. Office hoteling allows mobile workers to float in and out of the office, and provides all employees with the ability to reserve the work space that is best suited for their tasks at hand—whether that is an open desk area for team collaboration, a secure conference room, or a quiet office.

Sharing Spaces Leads to New Experiences and Collaboration

In online reviews, many Airbnb customers mention how much they enjoyed meeting and interacting with their hosts during their trip. Far from being intrusive or an annoyance, being able to learn about places to go from someone who is intimately familiar with the local scene enhances the flavor of the trip. In fact, according to Airbnb, “8 in 10 millennials say the best way to learn about a place is to live like the locals do.

Similarly, businesses may look at hoteling concepts such as hot desking and think it would disrupt employee productivity or irritate on-the-go workers to not have a ‘space of their own’. But really, moving around an office space gives employees chances to interface with coworkers they may not regularly engage, fostering opportunities for new collaborations and exchange of ideas.

Monetize Extra Space to Reduce Facility Costs

Airbnb’s website claims the platform represents “the easiest way to monetize extra space” that people have in their primary homes or vacation properties. Before Airbnb, most people didn’t consider extra space within their own homes to be an asset they could use to generate side income. Today, they can use Airbnb to rent an entire home when they are away, or to rent an unused space in the home (room, apartment) while living in it.

Similarly, in the early days of telecommuting and flex work, most companies still thought of every employee having an office, even if the office wasn’t occupied every day. Now that 43% of employees perform at least some work remotely, companies are looking for ways to reduce the cost of empty office space.

According to Gartner, providing an employee with an individual workspace costs $8,000 to $14,000 each year[JO1]. So eliminating just 10 unused or partially used workspaces can save $100,000 per year or more. Office hoteling can help businesses make smarter use of a floorplan through reservation-based office scheduling, so employees can stay just as productive, while sharing work spaces.

Businesses that own buildings with extra space may be able to monetize it by leasing it out, or they could downsize to a new, smaller location and sell the larger building. Companies that lease their office space simply rent a smaller, reorganized space designed to be conducive to an office hoteling strategy. Either way, many businesses have the potential to save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Support Mobile Workers with Engaging, Purposeful Work Spaces

Today’s most successful companies are encouraging workforce collaboration by helping mobile employees tuck into innovative work spaces when they’re at the office, while minimizing wasted, unused offices. Asure Software’s Hoteling and Mobile Workforce Management solutions can help your organization reduce real estate and facilities costs without sacrificing employee productivity.