Its lobby has been used as an unofficial office since it opened in London over a decade ago, but now The Hoxton Hotel has launched a dedicated ‘co-working’ brand to tap into the burgeoning market dominated by WeWork.
Dubbed ‘Working From_’ the new division of the trendy hotel chain is testing the water through two of its newest hotels in Chicago, which opened in April, and London’s Southwark, opening later this year.
“We have always kind of been in co-working, it’s not actually a new part of the business for us. Our lobbies were getting busier and busier and when we looked at our spaces, what people are demanding of the space, they wanted more focus, more dedication, and more facilities," explained chief marketing officer Martina Luger.
"We just felt like it this was a natural extension of the brand rather than saying, oh, there's a business opportunity, let's get into it.”
Testament to making it a co-working space with a hotel, rather than vice-versa, the building in Southwark will host an impressive 744 desks across seven floors, interspersed with meeting rooms, kitchens and, of course, hotel rooms.
The multi-tiered membership structure aims to be flexible, allowing everyone from ‘side hustlers’ to fully operational startups eyeing an entire office the space they need to work. For £75 per month, the ‘Side Hustler’ rate gets you a spot on a shared desk on evenings and weekends. £200 gets you a seat in an open plan office, while for £500 you can secure seats for up to six people in an open space and the final top-tier gives workers private studio space for £700 per month.
Dependent on membership tiers, it’s also offering fun benefits such as “duvet days” (day-use hotel rooms in case you’ve come in on the red eye or want to work from bed for the day) and a dedicated deadline hotline where, if available, members who are working late into the night can get a hotel room for £25.
There’s also a wellness studio with daily fitness classes, a garden and subsidised coffee and meals which can be delivered to your desk (“it’s desk service, rather than room service,” joked Luger).
There are similarities to WeWork, the billion-dollar brand that dominates the co-working sector. Working From_ will occasionally put on networking events, for example. But it wants to differentiate through transparency – no hidden add-on costs and charges to use certain services
“We wanted to do what The Hoxton brand did for rooms, bringing simplicity and transparency and flexibility,” Luger continues.
“[Sometimes with other co-working brands] you get hidden extras at the end of the month and that’s hard when you're starting up a business and trying to manage your budgets. You shouldn’t have to think about whether you can afford to pay for meeting space or to print something. You shouldn't have to think about that, right? So we wanted to take those hassles away from people so they're more productive.”
In the coming months Luger will invest in marketing, predominantly to existing Hoxton Hotel guests they know travel on business and then social and digital campaigns will get the word out to individuals and companies that have not engaged with the parent brand in he past.
The group is expecting the new division to have a positive impact on the bottom line, anticipating high levels of occupancy. In fact, it’s so confident that Luger revealed it’s not ruled out taking the brand into other countries and eventually finding space where it could be a standalone offering.
“The brand has been created where it's part of the family, but it can definitely stand alone. And that was quite important for us. It has the potential to grow itself.”