In the competitive landscape of coworking spaces, the art of hospitality emerges as the ultimate differentiator. This blog post delves into insights from industry experts shared during a recent panel discussion at FlexWorld Series 2024, offering valuable guidance for flex operators.

The panel featured Ed Hobbs, National General Manager, x+why and Kenny Kane, CEO, Firmspace – two leaders who shared their strategies and experiences on optimizing operational efficiency while delivering exceptional hospitality.

Defining Hospitality and Its Competitive Advantage

For Ed Hobbs hospitality is the combination of a warm welcome, consistent touchpoints, and a genuine hunger for solutions throughout a member’s journey.

a man working

For “x+why”, adaptability and responsiveness are key to staying competitive. They operate on managed service agreements with various landlords, from city councils to large banks, each with unique needs.

This flexibility allows them to offer tailored hospitality services, creating a community where members are encouraged to collaborate and learn from one another.

Kenny Kane of Firmspace emphasizes that hospitality is about ensuring members have the resources they need to be successful every day.

Firmspace focuses on privacy, security, and productivity, ensuring that their hospitality efforts support these core pillars.

Kane highlights the importance of removing friction in both physical and digital aspects of the workspace to provide a seamless experience for members.

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Tracking the Impact of Hospitality

Ed Hobbs acknowledges that measuring the impact of hospitality can be challenging. While metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) are useful, they often serve as a starting point for deeper conversations rather than a definitive measure of success.

Hobbs stresses the importance of creating a brand where world-class hospitality is the norm, reducing barriers to entry, and fostering collaboration.

Firmspace also uses NPS but focuses on building strong relationships with members to address concerns before they become major issues.

Kane believes that the frontline of hospitality is daily engagement with members, ensuring clear communication and alignment of expectations from the start.

Strategies for Implementing Hospitality

Training and Consistency

Both Hobbs and Kane agree that training and consistency are crucial for delivering exceptional hospitality. Hobbs believes in allowing team members’ personalities to shine, creating an authentic and engaging environment.

employees collaborating

At Firmspace, Kane uses an app called Trainual to digitally convey core hospitality principles during training and ongoing team meetings.

Relentless Troubleshooting

Kane coined the phrase “relentless troubleshooting” to describe Firmspace’s approach to member support. This mindset ensures that staff are proactive in resolving issues, whether it’s a technical problem or a service request, ensuring that members can focus on their work without unnecessary disruptions.

It’s also important to leverage the network effect to build community.

Innovative Strategies and Amenities That Foster Hospitality

x+why’s Multifunctional Spaces

Hobbs shared that x+why focuses on making their spaces as versatile as possible. This includes designing areas that can be easily reconfigured for different events and uses, maximizing the utility of every square foot.

They also use systems like LightSpeed to track member preferences and personalize their hospitality efforts.

Firmspace’s Hybrid Strategy

Firmspace has implemented a hybrid work strategy to accommodate the changing needs of businesses post-pandemic.

This allows multiple people from the same company to use office space on different days, preserving the quality of experience while catering to flexible work arrangements.

Small Gestures with Big Impact

Hobbs recounted a story where a senior community manager noticed a member acting differently and took the time to offer support.

shaking hands

This small gesture of kindness created a deep personal connection and demonstrated the power of genuine care in building strong member relationships.

Kane shared his pride in retaining Firmspace’s very first member, highlighting the importance of building lasting relationships. By consistently delivering on their promises and staying connected with members, Firmspace fosters a sense of loyalty and mutual respect.

Balancing Operational Efficiency and Hospitality

In a coworking space, hospitality and operational efficiency are intertwined.

Hobbs emphasizes the importance of avoiding waste and being innovative in operational efficiency. X+why focuses on locally sourced products and creative uses for resources to minimize waste.

This approach not only saves costs but also aligns with their commitment to sustainability and community building.

Kane discussed the implementation of an “honest market” to replace traditional office snacks with premium options based on member feedback. This initiative not only reduces waste but also adds convenience and value for members, enhancing their overall experience.

In Conclusion

Hospitality as a competitive edge in the coworking space industry requires a strategic approach that balances operational efficiency with genuine care for members.

By prioritizing member experience, building strong relationships, and leveraging innovative strategies, operators can create thriving, hospitable workspaces that stand out in a competitive market. The insights shared by Ed Hobbs and Kenny Kane provide a valuable roadmap for achieving this balance and driving success through exceptional hospitality.

For more insights from the FlexWorld Series 2024 conference, watch all sessions here.

Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.