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What is hoteling? The ultimate guide to office hoteling

Office hoteling is growing in popularity. But what exactly is it? We’ll give you a clue: it’s in the name. In this post, we’ll explore the value of office hoteling, including the benefits it can bring to your organization.

Amy Kirkham
By Amy Kirkham Content Marketing Manager

Office hoteling is a by-product of the modern workplace. Out with the old and in with the new, businesses today are switching out traditional assigned desks with open floor plans and collaborative spaces. Say goodbye to office cubicles! 

Office hoteling is a concept that’s increasingly gathering momentum—especially in remote and hybrid work settings. But what exactly is office hoteling? And how does it work? In this post, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about office hoteling and why your organization may want to adopt it. We’ll cover:

  • What is office hoteling? 
  • What are the benefits of office hoteling? 
  • How do you know if office hoteling is right for your business?
  • Office hoteling best practices

 

What is office hoteling?

Office hoteling, otherwise known as desk hoteling or simply ‘hoteling’, is a flexible way of reserving a desk or room in your workplace for a set period of time. As the name suggests, hoteling operates in the same way as an actual hotel. You make a reservation, you check-in, you complete your stay, you check-out. 

Hoteling varies in complexity and scale depending on your workplace. It’s available to anyone who might need to visit your office, including hybrid teams, part-time or full-time employees, contractors, or approved visitors. It also works for businesses operating in coworking or shared workspaces, giving employees from different companies the ability to book shared space. Hoteling in the workplace can vary by location, length of stay, and the size of a desk or room. 

To keep things simple, we’re going to refer specifically to employees reserving a workspace for the rest of this post. We will also use hoteling and office hoteling interchangeably, although they mean the same thing. 

How is hoteling different from hot desking?

Hot desking and hoteling are often used interchangeably. But they are in fact different from one another. 

Hot desking is a flexible seating arrangement where employees can reserve a desk for the day. Hot desking is often short-term and on-demand. Desks reserved by employees are usually made the same day or a day in advance. 

Office hoteling, on the other hand, is another flexible seating arrangement that allows employees to reserve a desk for a set period of time. These are often longer-term reservations, for days, weeks, or even months. 

What are the benefits of office hoteling?

Hoteling is a great way to flex your workspace to meet the demands of your workers and visitors. Here are 4 key ways hoteling can benefit your organization, people, and workspace.

1. Hoteling improves productivity and collaboration

The vast majority (77%) of organizations have already opted to go hybrid. Flexibility is a key enabler of a successful hybrid work model. Yet, despite this huge adoption, some employees still don’t want to return to the office.  

One reason for their resistance is that they feel more productive at home. Chatty co-workers and busy commutes can detract from getting work done and play a role in people’s choice to work from home instead of on-site. 

Hoteling office space offers employees a chance to work on-site efficiently by choosing the right workspace to be productive and get ‘in the zone’. It also offers more opportunities for collaboration. For example, you and your team can hotel a group of desks or a large meeting room to work together in-person for the time period you need. It also allows for more spontaneous collaboration. With hoteling, you can sit nearby different coworkers which can lead to impromptu conversations and new perspectives.

2. Hoteling helps you use your workspace efficiently

Space management is hot news right now as workplace leaders look for ways to use their space more efficiently. Office hoteling is a great way to reduce real estate costs and set your space up for your employees and their needs. Like hot desking, hoteling cuts down on wasted space by removing unused desks and opening up room for other types of work spaces. 

Hoteling also makes for a tidier workplace overall. Fewer people means fewer personal items and papers. The result? A cleaner, more organized office

Hot tip: Not sure how your workspace is being used? Investing in space management software is a great way to collect data and understand your space usage. From there, you can then make data-driven decisions on how to improve your workspace for your organization’s needs.

3. Hoteling saves you money

Permanent desk assignments are quickly becoming a thing of the past. They are more expensive than hoteling or hot-desking because they require more office space. Hoteling is an effective method to cut real estate costs because it’s based on a simple premise: employees use less desks more often. In fact, according to a Global Workplace Analytics report by IWG, employers can save around $11,000 per worker, every year, who works remotely half the week. 

4. Hoteling keeps your people safe and healthy

Hoteling gives you the ability to determine what desks are available to reserve based on your office’s capacity and social distancing guidelines. This way you can be sure that employees have a safe space to work in the office. Having a daily usage log efficiently directs your janitorial team to the desks that need to be sanitized between guests. 

How do you know if office hoteling is right for your business?

So now you know some of the key benefits of hoteling, you’re probably wondering if it’s the right choice for you. 

Hoteling works for any businesses thinking about changing the way they work. In particular, hoteling works well for: 

  • Businesses looking to scale: Start-ups or businesses looking to grow may not be in a position to immediately invest in a larger office space. Hoteling offers a great way to grow your workforce without growing your space. 
  • Businesses who are sharing a co-working space: Hoteling plays a big part in the co-working model. Just look at the success of WeWork. For businesses considering a co-working space, hoteling offers you the peace of mind that your space is reserved and secure for you and your team when you need it.
  • Businesses who are 100% remote: Hoteling offers a great solution for businesses that have chosen to go fully remote with no main HQ, but who want to give employees the option to visit an office location (such as satellite or remote offices). Hoteling offers a major benefit for those people who want a change of scenery or need to get together as a team.  
  • Businesses looking to reduce their office footprint: A major benefit of hoteling is the ability to utilize and save on your workspace. Hoteling offers a way to manage your space more efficiently, without downsizing your workforce.

Office hoteling best practices 

To implement office hoteling in your organization, you need the right people, processes, and technology. Let’s take a look at some best practices for implementing hoteling office space in your organization.

Get buy in first

As more and more organizations opt for a hybrid work approach, it’s crucial to keep up communication to monitor how your employees feel. Are they engaged with work? Is your current model working for them and their teams?

Understanding your people’s needs is crucial before choosing to implement office hoteling. You should be certain it’s the best solution for your organization. Other models such as hot-desking may be a better fit depending on how long your employees need to be on-site. Whatever model you decide, get buy in first and generate excitement before you invest.

Setting expectations is also important for hoteling. Employees should feel confident in the process and understand variables such as the cleaning policy for shared desks or rooms.

Invest in an employee and visitor sign-in system

For hoteling to be successful, your employees need to be able to see who’s coming into the workplace and when. That way they can decide when they want to be on-site as well, based on coworkers’ schedules. It’s also important for you as the workplace manager to know who’s expected in the office. Perhaps your sales team needs some space to make calls in a quiet environment. Or maybe your marketing team needs to collaborate on an upcoming project for a few weeks. Using a workplace platform will allow your employees to sign-in and reserve a spot in the office ahead of time. 

It’s also important to know who’s visiting your office. Investing in a visitor management system will make hoteling more efficient, allowing you to book a room or desk for them in advance and provide a great visitor experience overall. 

Invest in a desk booking solution 

Flexible seating models, like hot desking and office hoteling, are on the rise. To make the most of your office hoteling space and ensure it’s easy to understand, use a desk booking software. This will allow your employees to see available desks and book them in advance for when they visit the office. 

Hot tip: Consider what kind of desks and amenities your employees need to be productive. For example, if you are a 100% remote organization but need a space for collaboration, then providing open workspaces and larger desks to reserve is useful. On the other hand, if you have employees looking for a quiet space for heads-down work, offer a range of individual desks to get in the zone.

Consider room booking software

Room booking has been around for nearly as long as the office. The difference now is we’re all booking rooms in a smarter way.

Much like the need to reserve a desk for a period of time, office hoteling also refers to people’s need to book meeting and conference rooms.

Investing in a room booking solution helps your employees find and reserve a room suited for their needs and book it ahead of time. It also paints a clearer picture for you, including how often your employees need to book rooms, for how long, and if they actually show up to their reservation. 

You’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” Well, hoteling is a concept that embraces that phrase. 

Use this guide to get clear on how hoteling would benefit your organization. Offering your people flexible  office hoteling in your workspace is the best way to drive greater productivity, confidence, and results for your business. 

Remember, hoteling and hot desking are similar concepts but have distinct differences. Knowing how they differ will help you figure out which one is best for you. Interested in learning more? Start by understanding what tools and features it takes to effectively manage your workspace.

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Amy Kirkham
Author Bio Amy Kirkham

Amy is a content guru at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, you can usually find Amy drinking coffee, exploring new places, or planning her next trip.