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How Do Coworking and Flexible Office Space Operators Compete with WeWork?

Image of fish jumping from own bowl to another in Pac versus WeWork comparison

Pacific Workplaces is sharing its training webinar with CloudVO Partners!

Competing with WeWork may feel overwhelming, given their deep financial resources ($2 billion raised to-date!), heavily self-promoted technology platform, and effective PR machine that has led to a powerful brand awareness and ample visibility in the coworking and flexible office space marketplace.

Yet, we believe that by and large the tremendous free PR they are generating with their status of “Unicorn” (at a valuation of ~$20 billion) is not only helping to raise the profile of the entire industry, increase demand for shared office space, but also benefit individual operators that directly compete with WeWork locations. The key is to clearly understand how you, as an operator, differentiate yourself from WeWork, and capture a fair share of the traffic they direct to their centers.

Image of Pac versus WeWork Comparison of Fishbowl The Pacific Workplaces (Pac) team has accepted to share with CloudVO partners its own internal training webinar, targeted at its own community managers that explain how they differentiate their products from WeWork’s. Many of our CloudVO partners have told us they enjoyed peeking at the Pac material, so we are sharing this internal webinar with all CloudVO partners with their permission.

In the Webinar, while insisting on the great respect he has for WeWork and their formidable recipe and success, CloudVO CEO Laurent Dhollande pokes a little fun at them as he articulates what he sees as the major differences between WeWork and Pacific Workplaces which focus on six main dimensions:

1) Fish bowl offices (Wework) vs Private Offices (Pac). WeWork offices sometimes provide room for a chair, a small table barely sufficient to open a laptop, and only semi-private visual privacy, whereas Pac’s private offices offer true visual privacy where one can breathe and comfortably receive a couple of guests.

2) WeWork is actually very expensive. They don’t always project that way in the marketplace but their design with a high density of tiny offices makes each small individual office quite expensive relative to its size, while at the same time providing powerful revenue that generates the 30 to 40% margins that they promise to their investors.

3) Physical Proximity to WeWork helps Pacific Workplaces. WeWork’s powerful PR machine drives a lot of traffic to their facilities. Image of fish jumping from own bowl to another in Pac versus WeWork comparisonBeing in the way of that traffic and offering an alternative that is clearly differentiated helps Pac. Early stage start-ups and freelancers eventually graduate from WeWork and enlist to Pac. Being close to their initial incubation space only helps Pac.

4) The WeWork Technology platform is not as good as advertised. The Pac technology environment, based on the new KUBE platform by WUN Systems for data, voice, and online meeting room bookings, connected to an Intacct cloud-based billing and accounting system, seems more reliable and more effective than the current WeWork solutions. The WeWork community curation tool, which they prominently use in their marketing collateral, seems to be failing, or at least not performing to the level of off-the-shelf community curation tools available to our industry like Slack, Grouplu, or even the community management tool that end-users can access through the KUBE client portal.

5) Community: Advantage to the human size. Although WeWork membership numbers are impressive, there is a lot of evidence that points to smaller size communities being more effective to build meaningful business and support relations. Research has shown that groups above 200 people are too large to expect interpersonal connections to happen organically. Large communities make it difficult to really get to know people and to want to do anything special for them.

6) The WeWork global coverage is much weaker than the CloudTouchdown Network. At the end of last year, they had 111 locations, but only in 34 cities and 10 countries. Pac’s affiliation with CloudVO’s CloudTouchdown network yields more impressive numbers with ~600 locations in 284 cities and 26 countries, available to Pac members under preferential treatment via the CloudTouchdown passes.

In the end, the comparison between Pacific Workplaces and WeWork can be very favorable to Pac for a large portion of the demand for on-demand office spaces if we gain clarity on those differences and how to communicate them.

Watch Pac Training Webinar: Comparing Pacific Workplaces with WeWork.

Download Pac Training Webinar Slides.

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