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Love working from hotel lobbies? The feeling is mutual – which is why the hospitality world is joining forces with Regus to design a new generation of workplaces
In a bid to make workspaces somewhere we actually want to be, for some time now designers have been drawing inspiration from leisure spaces: hotels, members’ clubs, even restaurants. So when Regus chose to collaborate with EHM Apollo & Leonardo Hotels on a new hotel-flexpace hybrid, it felt like a win-win.
“The hotel industry was already looking at offering a professional working environment within their hotels, and we were also shifting towards a hospitality brand,” explains Annelou de Groot, Development Director of Regus’ parent company IWG, who has a background in hospitality. “The result is a lifestyle product – managed by us, but surrounded by the hospitality of the Leonardo brand.”
Dubbed ‘hybrid hospitality’, this is a whole new style of flexspace. While startups, entrepreneurs and digital nomads are no strangers to the perks of working from a hotel lobby, Regus and Leonardo wanted to go one step further and reimagine the hotel rooms themselves as private offices.
The pioneering project is being tested at Amsterdam’s Leonardo Royal Hotel – chosen as much because of the city’s booming startup and remote working scene as for the hotel’s prime location in the Amstel business park.
The vibe, says De Groot, is a blend of the hospitality world’s warm welcome and Regus’s reliable, professional facilities. “The Leonardo Royal is a large hotel with 500 rooms. If you’re an entrepreneur leasing a space there, you come in the morning and you’re immediately in this vibrant, energetic hotel environment. You can get a great coffee from the bar, then you take the elevator up to our professional workspace.”
It wasn’t simply a matter of rethinking furniture and power points, either – the design team reviewed and strengthened the hotel’s WiFi network to reassure users about the space’s cybersecurity, and made sure the full selection of Regus products was on offer.
“We sectioned off part of the lounge as a dedicated ‘Regus by Leonardo’ coworking area, so even if you don’t have a private office here, there is always space for you to work,” says De Groot. Regus customers can also book the hotel’s meeting rooms, and even access hotel guest perks such as bicycle hire, showers, a gym and a laundry service.
From the hotel owner’s side, says De Groot, “It’s like Uber: you have a car and connect it to the platform. It’s the same with us – if landlords have surplus space they want to monetise, they can find a home on our platform.”
This is just the beginning of a ‘hybrid hospitality’ offering for Regus, says Gavin Phillips, Regional Vice President, Benelux. “Leonardo is a brilliant partner of ours and we will grow the product within its hotels, but we’re also talking to a number of other companies about offering something similar,” he explains.
The next step, De Groot suggests, might be a partnership with Regus’s hotel partners that gives the flexspace customer a discounted rate on overnight stays, too. After all, why stop at a day of working-from-hotel when you could book an entire “bleisure break”?
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