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The Continent Hotel Bangkok

Hotel lobbies doubling as spaces to socialize and work is nothing new, but now, some hotels are targeting business travelers by turning certain parts of their lobbies into official co-working spaces.

The New York Times: “Traditional hotel business centers these aren’t. Yes, they offer practical amenities like office supplies, printers and, of course, coffee. But they also have a laid-back ambience and convivial feel of the shared working spaces popping up around the globe under the banner of the start-up WeWork. The new hotel business centers seem to have struck a chord among business travelers who find that they’re probably getting less work done in busy hotel lobbies, said Lorraine Sileo, the senior vice president of research for the travel research company Phocuswright. ‘Lobbies are distracting because there is so much going on, with people coming in and out and also socializing,’ she said. ‘These new work spaces are meant for productivity.

They’re also especially attractive to younger business travelers, said Jessica Collison, the research director for the Global Business Travel Association. “Millennials tend be more nomadic than the older generation of travelers and spend more time outside of their room,” she said. “Hotels have picked up on this, and more of them are offering a co-working option.”

The AC Hotel Phoenix Biltmore, for example, which opened in October, offers the indoor and outdoor AC Lounge, on the side of its lobby. The more than 5,000-square-foot light gray space has several couches, a large communal table with electrical outlets at every seat and a 20-seat high table that’s a working area by day and a bar after 4 p.m. Guests and non-guests are welcome to use the lounge without charge, said David Belk, the hotel’s general manager, and can get free coffee and biscotti. The lounge’s small library has computers, printers and office supplies like paper clips and folders.

“Why waste space? It’s time hotels, sales galleries and shopping malls think of themselves to be more than just a place to sleep and shop. Consumers are constantly looking for new experiences.  Best Events is constantly looking at venues such as these to be transformed into spaces that enhances brand experiences”, said Hanniz Efni, Event Producer at Best Events.

Pivot62 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Vail, which opened in March, also offers a co-working space that’s free for guests and non-guests. It has workstations, conference rooms and a kitchen area with free coffee.

Hotels see the co-working spaces as a way to build loyalty with both hotel guests and the general public, said Adam Weissenberg, the head of travel, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte. “These spaces are often sleek looking and help raise a hotel’s profile,” he said. “They’re not going to lose money from them because anyone who uses them is likely to hang out at the hotel when they’re done working and order drinks or food.”