At the 9th Annual WANY Conference on Friday June 13th, 2014, Keith Warner – Managing Partner at Pacific Workplaces and Co-Founder of CloudVO ™, served up some sizzling details on The Network Effect and how Regus is capitalizing on it with their Businessworld program. Keith shared why Businessword is an integral part of Regus’ Marketing Strategy, and what independent providers can do to be Network Ready!
Keith walked us through the shift in the way enterprise workers choose to work. Previous habits included commuting to a far away company regional campus day-in and day-out. When traveling for work, meetings would rotate between regional hubs, moving from one to another, which ever was closest, even if the “closest“ hub is 45 minutes away. He stated, “What we are seeing now is a shift from regional to local.”
Now, corporations are reducing their Real Estate Footprint, not requiring employees to commute to a regional campus. Instead, giving workers the opportunity to make their own local workplace decisions, and increase productivity by ditching the long commute.
With the choice in the user’s hands, proximity, but also local flavor and community-related considerations, become more important drivers in the local workplace decision, which greatly favors local workplace providers over Regus.
Mobile enterprise workers want to meet where they are, no longer traveling to a regional hub to hold a meeting. Keith explained why users choices are different while on-the road and why standardized networks, like the one Regus offers, become more valuable for road warriors. Mostly, this is because a standardized Network provides a single point of contact to the mobile user’s corporate sponsor, such that they don’t have to deal with as many contracts, pricing, and billing approaches, as there are local providers, a nightmare for any corporations who needs a streamlined account management approach and a “no-surprise” budget management process.
Keith used the analogy of his own choice of a local coffee shop (after driving past 3 Starbucks) on his way to work every day, which he prefers for his local daily shot of caffeine over Starbucks. The good coffee, but also the friendships he has established with the owner and many of the patrons at the coffee shop, is what drove that choice. However, while traveling, Keith explained that he only goes to Starbucks to get coffee, because he knows he will get his mocha in 2 minutes, he will find a place to sit, and an Internet connection to check email. While traveling, Keith confessed he does not take a chance at an unknown local coffee shop.
The same applies to workspace users: whether they drive an extra half mile to go to the coworking place or business centers they favor every day, over say a Regus center, they will not want to take the chance to go to an unknown provider while traveling outside of their base market. Standards and the need for“No-Surprises” matter more than community considerations, while on the road.
As local providers, how do we take advantage of this transition? How do we give users the best of both words? Keith’s answer: An organized Network of Local providers, which is what the CloudTouchdown ™ value proposition is all about.
Know your competition (Regus), and work together (local providers) to overcome Regus’ largest advantage (Businessworld) was keith’s next message. Keith’s team has been mystery shopping multiple Regus locations, to do just that. The common denominator each Mystery Shopper reported was that the Regus Sales Managers are all trained to bring Businessworld and the value of Regus’ Network front and center. When analyzing the Regus Annual Report and dissecting their website, it is clear that Businessworld, and the value of their network, is prominent throughout – much more so than their full-time office space, which still represents the majority of their revenue.
One Secret Shopper even reported back, that while waiting for their tour of the space, the only visible flyer available in the lobby was a Businessworld trifold. Then while touring, even after letting the Manager know they were looking for virtual office space, the shopper was first presented with their Businessworld program. It seems the goal was to sell a virtual office plan along with a Businessworld Gold Card. Other shoppers reported back the same intel, Businessworld was front and center during the sales process.
Regus Businessworld is a membership program that gives the card holder access to the entire Regus network under preferential rates and conditions. It has a strong marketing appeal, even with purely local users, who may never actually use the card (but think they will!).
What can local providers do about this? Keith’s response: Be Network-Ready! On the technology side, be network-ready, by selecting a technology partner that uses open API to support you with real time meeting room reservation systems, preferably an approved partner whose platform can communicate with CloudVO. On the marketing side, be network-ready by promoting yourself as part of a global network, and making your center an option for enterprise users and highly mobile workers, while not losing control, but retaining your autonomy as a local workspace provider.
CloudTouchdown is a network of nearly 1,000 local providers, offering CloudTouchdown Passes under its local partner’s brand, and a credible competitor of the Regus Businessworld cards.
CloudTouchdown collateral, co-branded flyers, are available free-of-charge, making it easy to show your clients and prospects that you are a local provider with a global reach!