In a groundbreaking collaboration, IWG has joined forces with Europe’s Leonardo hospitality brand to offer flexible workspace within one of its hotels
How do you make a workspace a pleasure to be in? It’s a question that has driven office designers and coworking brands alike to draw inspiration from the style, ambience and allure of leisure spaces, such as hotels and members’ clubs. It was only a matter of time before the hospitality and hybrid working industries joined forces to offer a mix of the two environments.
The result is a fresh ‘hybrid hospitality’ concept – currently being pioneered by IWG and EHM Apollo & Leonardo Hotels, who last month signed a deal to transform 2,000sq m of hotel space into flexible workspace, to be managed by IWG’s trusted Regus brand.
With the pandemic inspiring hoteliers to get more creative with their space, the timing of the partnership felt logical – but a crossover between the two industries was in the air well before Covid-19. “The hotel industry was already looking at offering a working environment within its venues, and we were already shifting towards the feel of a hospitality brand,” explains Annelou de Groot, IWG’s Development Director in the Netherlands.
The IWG-Leonardo collaboration is being trialled at Amsterdam’s Leonardo Royal Hotel. “The flexible office market is very mature here, as it is in London,” explains De Groot. The partnership matches the excitement of checking into a hotel with the reliable facilities and professional feel of a Regus workspace, she says - a smart-casual feel that will suit a certain type of worker.
“If you’re an employee or an entrepreneur leasing a space here, you can come in and get a good coffee from the bar – immediately encountering this vibrant, energetic hotel environment – then take the elevator up to the professional environment that we supply.”
Inspired by the demand for working space in hotel lobbies and lounges, the partnership decided to focus on converting the hotel rooms themselves into office space, says De Groot, who has a background in hospitality management.
For hotel owners, this is a service that neatly connects their vacant space with remote workers and small companies. “It’s like Uber – if you have a car, you can connect it to an Uber platform,” says De Groot. “It’s the same for us: you have surplus space that you want to monetise and you bring that in on our platform.”
De Groot worked on the partnership with Alexander Kluit, Managing Director of Apollo & Leonardo Hotels Benelux. “At IWG, we add two things to a normal office – flexibility and services. For Kluit, this was a main driver – to get the full product range in his building and offer his clients a good working environment.”
For Kluit, it also seems like the perfect partnership. “We have combined our business models in a place where the customer can work in a professional and functional manner, with the atmosphere, ambiance and hospitality services that a hotel has to offer,” he says. “A ‘customer’ becomes a ‘guest’ and we turn a workplace into a pleasant environment, where working and meeting are combined.”
The Leonardo Royal Hotel Amsterdam ticked all of IWG’s boxes in terms of the range of facilities it offers to its clients: meeting rooms, coworking space, day rental of an office and private offices. Taking over three floors of the hotel, the company has sectioned off a Regus-branded coworking lounge as well as tapping into the perks that the hotel offers guests, such as bicycle hire, a laundry service and a gym. The next step, says De Groot, might be a mutual programme with Leonardo where clients can book hotel rooms overnight at a special rate.
Hybrid hospitality is a new and exciting area of growth for IWG – one to watch closely in the future, says Gavin Phillips, IWG’s Regional Vice President for 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 hotels where we will offer similar products.”
IWG is the global leader in flexible workspaces, with over 30 years’ experience. Find out more on our blog.