The Importance of Customer Reviews to Market Your Coworking Space

If you’re not focused on getting customer reviews for your coworking space, you’re missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Reviews for your workspace can be found on Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. Potential members pay attention to these reviews and you should, as well.

Forbes reports that online reviews are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses, explaining that “97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.”

The Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces

When people search online for a coworking space in your town, reviews can attract them to you if they’re positive, or keep them scrolling if they’re negative or if you don’t have any.

Customer Reviews and Social Proof

We rely heavily on social proof, including customer reviews, when making decisions about where to shop, eat, visit and work. We tend to search for these things when we actually need the product—meaning that people searching online for a local coworking space are likely to need a space right now.

“When a consumer uses a review platform like Yelp or Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search,” the Forbes article points out. “If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with tight — or non-existent — marketing budgets.”

Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces NextSpace San Jose Yelp Reviews

The Importance of Reviews for a Coworking Space

Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces explains that customer reviews are important for workspace operators because they:

  • Help provide a baseline for prospective members because customers rely on reviews from peers more than they trust the taglines of a brand.
  • Boost local listings for SEO. The more reviews, the more likely your local listing appears in search results, including, Yelp and Google. These local listings are integrated into organic search, paid ads, and map views.
  • Search engines see that you are an active brand when you receive a steady stream of reviews.

Customer reviews can also help strengthen your brand and, as Patel points out, “Brand reputation is everything.” Here are four ways customer reviews can help with your branding and marketing, from Patel and Kim Seipel, Marketing Manager at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces:

  1. Reviews establish brand authority and trust. Reading what others have to say about your space and services will move prospects further down the sales funnel.
  2. Having a healthy mixture of ratings allows customers to trust that you aren’t soliciting reviews or incentivizing for 5-star reviews. If a brand only has 5-star reviews, customers are less likely to trust that brand.
  3. With coworking spaces becoming increasingly popular, prospects have more options to choose from. A solid establishment of reviews can differentiate your space from another.
  4. Customers trust online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations. They look to reviews in helping them make their final purchasing decision.
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot Review

Using Third-Party Review Products

The CloudVO team recently started testing Trust Pilot, a reputation service that enables companies to automate the review collection process for online purchases. Trust Pilot users can add rich snippet widgets to webpages, which optimize those pages in an organic search by displaying a Google Seller Rating (GSR).

Google gathers ratings about your business from licensed review sites, including Trust Pilot. Strong seller ratings not only speaks to the validity of your business, but also helps the performance of your Google Ad Campaigns.

As Seipel explains, “There are 32 Google licensed third-party review sites, and after research we decided Trust Pilot would serve our particular needs best. Pricing and features vary between all the review sites, so it’s best to compare several and choose the platform which is aligned with your business goals.”

Benefits of using a third-party review platform for a coworking space include:

  • Automating the collection process saves time
  • Space operators don’t need to remember to follow up with all new purchases and incoming members on a daily basis
  • Space operators can trigger invites for new purchases by sending people a customized invite several days after a purchase, with at least one reminder if they haven’t submitted a review. “The invite template is easy,” says Patel. “You just select the star rating and add a comment if you wish.”
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot invite

Soliciting Customer Reviews for Your Coworking Space

When soliciting reviews, make it easy for customers. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Be consistent with how you ask, and when you ask, for reviews. Creating a process will also allow you to keep track of members you have asked per time frame (month or quarter)
  • Do not set a precedent with incentives for reviews. Members will expect a reward for submitting a review.
  • Use templates for your community managers to send out with customized information, links, do’s and don’ts.
  • Handle negative reviews with patience and understanding. Responding to a negative review is a potential opportunity to mend a relationship, demonstrate your brand values, and express your calm, cool handling of an uncomfortable situation. You can use a template for this, as well, but be sure to personalize your response to address—and fix when possible—the complaints of your unhappy customer.

Turning Casual Searches into Marketing Leads

Customer reviews can (and should) be part of the strategy for marketing your coworking space. Reviews help showcase your space and community, they provide social proof to people looking for a workspace, they provide a glimpse into your brand values, and they’re a powerful tool for turning casual web searchers into marketing leads.

How do you use customer reviews to market your workspace? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Crush Workspace Tours with These Five Tips

When giving a tour of your space, keep in mind that it takes as little as seven seconds to make a good first impression.  Maya Delano, Community Manager of NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz has compiled a “NextSpace-tastic Tour” video where she breaks down the art of touring a workspace prospect into five important steps. Read along and watch the video to see the “must-do’s” when giving a workspace tour that have been successful in curating a cohesive and involved community at NextSpace.

Get the digits

Introduce yourself with a handshake, exchange names, and have them sign into the iPad (this is very important). Having them sign into the iPad allows you to gather some information about them that you may use to follow up with them after the tour, and helps keep track of who toured and when.

CloudVO Blog Five Workspace Tour Best Practices Capture Contact Information

Engage your prospect

People usually like talking about themselves.  Get the conversation rolling by asking your potential new member about what they do: What brought them here, what projects they are working on, etc. You can do this right at the beginning or spread your questions throughout the tour (it shows that we’re genuinely interested in our members’ work, and gives us a good feel if they are a positive fit for the community). This is important, because as much as you want to fill up your coworking space with hard-working and involved community members, not everyone will be a good fit, and that’s OK.

Your unique elevator pitch

Give them a well-rounded elevator pitch about what makes your space unique. We’re talking who we are, what we do, why we do it, and why they want it! Keep it simple, but have a little fun with it too, because this industry is fun! Nothing brings folks to snores quicker than a lame and over-the-top “salesy” elevator pitch. Be sure to put a strong emphasis on our commitment to combining space and community.

Coworking Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz First Friday Special Day Pass
CloudVO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Meeting Rooms and Workshop Events

Know your tour footpath

Map out the exact path you want to take for the physical tour of the space beforehand.  The order in which you show particular areas of your space should be intentional.  Space tours should have a nice flow that naturally highlight the uniqueness of your shared workspace environment.  Since all coworking spaces are not created equal, you’ll need to come up with the footpath that works for you while making sure to hit the following points:

  •   Membership levels you offer and all of their perks (Open Coworking, Dedicated Desks, Private Office, and Virtual Office plans)
  •     Show off all your meeting rooms
  •     Phone Booths
  •     Kitchen (showcase coffee, tea, appliances, cleaning policy, etc).
  •     Touch on mailbox services
  •     Printing, scanning and faxing
  •     Events board (give some examples of networking events held in the space, including happy hour and member lunch)
  •     Member wall (explain the importance of having one in every space i.e. for networking, a sense of community, engagement in the space, etc.)
CloudVO Blog Five Workspace Tour Best Practices NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Member Wall
NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Events Board

Always remember to periodically break for questions, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with too much information. Although your space may not offer all of these exact amenities, it’s imperative to showcase the amenities you do have. You want prospective members to feel empowered and visualize themselves in the space and utilizing the amenities.  

Offer a test drive

The final step is to let them know they can contact you with any questions and thank them for coming. Be sure to give them a rate sheet and one of your business cards, and, after using your trusty ‘superhero senses’ to determine whether they’re a good fit, offer them a free Day Pass to come and try out the space for themselves. Offering them a Day Pass is ideal because it will allow them to feel welcomed into your space and help them to determine if the space will work for them. Lastly, kindly show them to the door, shake their hand(s) and release them back into the world.

We offer resources for shared workspaces operators. Get more invaluable information like this when you join our global network of 700 locations.   Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO  is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Checklist for Terminating A Member (from your coworking space)

You just received notice from a member that although they loved being part of your awesome shared workspace community, it’s time to move-on.  After consoling yourself from that “break-up” feeling, you make note of all that has to be done from an operations perspective to terminate the member from your space.

Whether its remembering to stop recurring monthly invoices in your billing system, or ensuring their electronic key card access is de-activated once they move-out, there are several actions that need to be completed to ensure a smooth termination process.

Termination Checklist for Workspace Operators CloudVO Resource Library

Our Termination Checklist details what typically needs to be done to streamline this process and get you focused on what you really want to be doing – onboarding new members and connecting with existing members in your space.  

Workspace operators can download our high-level Termination Checklist below and customize to fit your specific processes and procedures.

Want access to resources specific to shared workspaces operators?  Join our network of 700 locations around the world. Visit us at  www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO    is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Marketing a Coworking Space: 5 Things Operators Can Do Right Now

Marketing a coworking space is an exercise in multi-tasking. Between content creation, social media, working with channel partners, staying up on reviews and doing paid advertising, a workspace marketer’s work is never finished. We’ve rounded up some of the CloudVO team’s go-to marketing strategies for coworking spaces. Here are five of our favorite.

1. Learn to Love Social Media Marketing

Let’s start with the big one: Social media is an essential part of marketing a coworking space. People are scrolling Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn right now looking for content that speaks to them. It’s important that they see you.

As CloudVO Marketing Manager Kim Seipel says about social media, “Sorry, you have to do it—not because it’s the in-thing, but because that’s where your future coworking members are.”

Express your unique community, workspace offerings and brand on social media, and follow best practices for each different platform. Social media is oftentimes the first impression people get from your brand, and it gives you an opportunity to engage people and invite them to explore more of your content and offerings.

Marketing A Coworking Space and Social Media

Keeping up with social media trends takes time and effort, but the payoffs for staying in front of your target audience can be big. Here are some tips for using social media:

Post regularly: For Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, aim to post at least once a day on those platforms.  On Twitter you can post numerous times throughout the day, but if you need to streamline things to start out, Instagram and Facebook can be your primary focus, especially at the local level.

Keep your social media content fresh: Post about different things in your social media feeds, and post different things on each platform. If someone follows you everywhere, you don’t want to serve them up the same content over and over. Post about recent content, industry news, events in your space or community, etc.

Leverage trending hashtags: Keep an eye on trending hashtags and creatively work them into your own social media. One note about this: Make sure the hashtag has relevance to your space, town or community. Otherwise, you may see a traffic bump, but no engagement because you didn’t hit your target market.

Create hashtags: You can create your own hashtags for your space, as well as for specific campaigns. Monitor the performance of the hashtags to measure interest and to gauge what resonates with your target audience.

Use scheduling tools: There are a growing number of social media scheduling tools available. These tools help you set it and forget it, so you don’t have to constantly interrupt other work to create social media posts. Popular scheduling tools include Hootsuite, Meet Edgar and Buffer.

2. Solicit Reviews from Your Community

If you depend on Google and Yelp for leads, then solicit reviews from your existing community. The platforms prioritize businesses with good reviews because they want to serve up the most relevant, useful results to searchers.

Potential members of your space—and even people just looking for a place to work for a day—depend on reviews to get a sense of the space, amenities, vibe and community. Make sure you’re listed on both Yelp and Google My Business, and encourage people to add reviews and their own photos. Note: Facebook also enables people to leave reviews.

Marketing A Coworking Space and Google Reviews

3. Get on Google My Business

As a follow-up to the above tip, make sure your space is on Google My Business. It’s great for local SEO; it increases your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder and Google Maps; it helps strengthen your brand; and it can drive traffic and leads.

Marketing A Coworking Space and Google My Business

It’s free to claim and verify your Google My Business profile. Make sure your profile is complete with description of services and pictures. Add new images to your profile regularly and properly tag and label photos with relevant keywords.

4. Publish Blog Posts

Publishing regularly to your blog is a powerful way to drive traffic, establish your brand, share your company values and showcase your community. Demonstrate your expertise by publishing content that offers audiences insights into specific shared workspace topics and incorporates how your space and brand offers a unique solution to the subject matter.  Blogs on current trends such as The Rise of Women-Focused Coworking Spaces   are also good content since they speak to your credibility by highlighting you as an industry expert, and can help attract your target audience.

Post content regularly and hire a content writer if necessary (yes, it’s worth it!). Research keywords and utilize them in your posts to help with SEO and driving traffic to your website. Cross promote blog posts through your social media channels.

Marketing A Coworking Space Cross Promote Blog Posts on Social Media


5. Paid Advertising

The task of setting up Google Ads and paid advertising campaigns can be a bit complicated. But paid advertising strategies can be effective, so they’re worth considering.

With Google Ads, you pay to show up in search results. Depending on your market and target search phrase, it can be expensive, so set a reasonable budget limit and track results. Google provides a library of helpful videos and tutorials on how to get started. The beauty of paid ads is that they allow you to increase the amount of people reached and stand out within specific search results.

You can also pay to advertise your space on Facebook and Yelp. As with Google, set a reasonable budget, track results, and test different ads to see which ones give you the best ROI.

As with all marketing, test a strategy, track results and course-correct to optimize your efforts. Consistency is key to a successful marketing campaign and overall strategy, so start with a simple and sustainable plan and stick with it.

by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

How to Create Community Norms in Your Coworking Space (and Why You Should)

Community norms are an essential element of a coworking community. They set expectations and values and give new members a guide to what is, and isn’t, acceptable in the workspace.

NextSpace Senior Community Manager Maya Delano is a wealth of information and experience around creating community norms and keeping them in place. Here are some of her best tips and insights.

Creating Community Norms in your Coworking Space

Create Community Norms Early
Member norms are created out of necessity. You want everyone in the space to be very clear about what they can and can’t do, as well as what they can expect from their fellow coworkers. Create member norms early and involve the community members in creating them.

“Creating member norms early-on is key because it gets member buy-in,” says Delano. “Before you have a community, you can’t make up your rules—it’s just not going to work that way. You do the heavy lifting beforehand.”

Create Community Norms with Your Members
Delano advises hosting a town-hall-style event to co-create norms together with members.

“Create community norms by gathering a group of members and you, as a group, come up with the norms,” she says. “Then people have a voice around what the community norms are, so they’re going to have more ownership of them and, as a community manager, you’re going to have a much smoother experience.”

Let People Know Why Norms are In-place.
“Community norms are all about setting expectations,” says Delano. “That’s what member policies and community norms are: setting everyone’s expectations.”

Start with the Basics
When you’re creating community norms with your members, start with the basics, including kitchen norms (Who makes the coffee? What do you do with dirty dishes? How long can you leave things in the fridge?), and noise levels (Can you use a headset for your phone in the common area? What about speakerphone or videos? Are there any quiet areas where there is no talking allowed?)

Coworking Space Community Norms Kitchen Norms

“I let people know during orientation that if they have an opera voice, I’m going to let them know,” says Delano. “I do it in a fun way because most people don’t want to annoy others, they just have no idea their voice level goes up—it’s natural for people’s voice to go up when they’re on a headset.”

Respect the Humans Behind the Norms
Once you set community norms, your job as community manager is just beginning. As Delano explains, the “community norms are the standard, but there’s a lot of humanness in them.”

She advises leaving wiggle room in them and letting members know that, as the space grows and evolves, the norms will, as well.

“Community norms are there to set markers, but you can’t be black and white when it comes to community,” says Delano. “If you have a community manager who is rule-binding, they are not in the right business. It’s all about the psychology of the human experience—there has to be a lot of grey matter.”

Community Norms are not black and white

Get New Members On-board with Norms Immediately
Make sure new members read and sign the community norms when they sign up. Delano advises making the norms a simple, one-page, paper document they can see and sign during onboarding.  “It’s setting your members up for success,” she explains.

Go with the Positive
When creating community norms, try to stay positive. For instance, rather than saying, “Don’t leave your mug in the sink,” say, “Yes, do your own dishes.”

“It’s really important for your community norms to be positive,” says Delano. “If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to do that, write all the no’s down on one side of a paper, then, on the other side of the page, write down what all the yes’s would be.”

Keep it Simple Sweetheart
A lot of the community norms at NextSpace are, as Delano puts it, “the things that you learned in kindergarten, like being kind to others.” Don’t overthink the norms. What you’re trying to do is create the best possible work environment for all your members.

Remember, Community Norms Help Everyone
Norms are in-place to make it easy to know how to behave in a workspace. They help new members, existing members, visitors and community managers. A lot of people are still not familiar with coworking and working in a shared space, so community norms help them comfortably find their way.

NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Community Norms Kitchen Guidelines

“Member norms help everybody sort through this wild world of coworking, which is still so new to so many people,” says Delano. “If you’ve never walked in a community space and you’re overwhelmed, you want to know the rules—you want to know what you can and can’t do.”

Norms are also a powerful tool for community managers who are tasked with the sometimes difficult task of enforcing the norms. Having them formalized and accessible to everyone means community managers can point to them when an issue comes up.

Norms also give members behavior guidelines in advance so they don’t need to figure out the rules as they go along.

“It’s not trial by fire,” says Delano. “No one wants to be told that they can’t use a speakerphone. It’s a lot easier on a tour, or when you onboarding somebody, to let them know they’ll need to use a headset. Then, if someone is using the speakerphone in the space, it’s a simple, ‘Hey, just a reminder of our community norms. Thank you so much. Let me know if you have any questions.’” Having the norms to point to takes the personal out of this aspect of community management.

“It’s something they agreed to when they walked in the space and you’re just reminding them of that,” says Delano. “It’s a lot easier to refer people to something official.”

Member Norms will Evolve
As your space grows and community evolves, your member norms will, as well. In the early days of NextSpace Santa Cruz, the team didn’t anticipate members trying to market to other members in the space. Once they realized what was happening, a new norm was created.

“We didn’t know, when we first started, that we would have people marketing, face-to-face, in the space, to our members, and trying to schmooze and hustle their wares, when people were just trying to get to work,” says Delano. “People want to market to our members, so now, we let them sponsor a happy hour—they get to pay to play. If you bring tacos or ice cream, we’ll listen to you.”

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Happy Hour

Now, one of the community norms in the space is that members don’t blatantly sell themselves in the space.

“Of course, natural conversations are going to come about,” says Delano, “but you can tell when someone’s selling—you know the difference.”

Know Your Space and Community
Community norms will be different in every space. Kitchen expectations, noise levels, rules around guests in the space, norms around meeting room use and a variety of other things should all be created around your unique space and community.

Your space, and how it’s set up, is going to determine what kind of members policies you need to implement. In a small, open space, noise will be more of an issue than in a space with an abundance of closed door offices. At NextSpace Santa Cruz, the open space is generally bustling with activity and a fairly steady buzz of voices. Because the open space is busy, members have access to a quiet area dubbed Library Row, and four different meeting and conference rooms.

With the addition of more meeting rooms came a new member norm: “We ask people not to squat in the meeting room,” says Delano. “We have a community norm of going into the meeting room on time and leaving one minute before your scheduled time is up.”

NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Manresa Conference Room

What About the Dogs?
An ongoing conversation in coworking is whether spaces should be dog-friendly or not. At NextSpace Santa Cruz, dogs are allowed, but there are member norms—or doggie norms—around them being in the space.

“We don’t allow dogs in our open coworking space,” says Delano. “We’re very cozy and it would not work to have a distraction of dogs. There are not too many places to go.”

Dogs are allowed in enclosed offices once members sign off on the “pooch policy.” But, the dogs have to prove themselves before they’re officially welcomed into the community.

“They get one week to prove themselves,” says Delano. “They can’t bark in the space or pee on the carpet. If they’re quiet as a mouse, then they’re good coworking dogs.”

NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Community Norms and dog policies

Addressing Sensitive Issues
When you come upon serious member issues, it needs to be clear what is acceptable and what is not. One of the community norms at NextSpace is not sleeping in the space overnight. It has only come up a few times over 10 years, but it’s a sensitive issue because the community manager is accusing someone of doing something.

“Situations like this call for a face-to-face, off-to-the-side conversation,” says Delano. “Tell the member you need to talk with them about something that’s important and that, to keep our community norms, you cannot have them spending the night—or whatever it may be. You’re just reminding them of the community norms.”

Delano advises listening to the members to find out if they’re struggling with personal issues, or if there’s a way the community can support them, but staying firm.

“Give them a warning,” she says, “but by the second time, they’re out. If the person doesn’t listen to me the first time, I don’t put up with that. You can’t. You have to set the standards that this is not okay.”

Delano explains, however, that napping in the space is part of the NextSpace Santa Cruz culture.

“Napping during the day is totally okay and encouraged at NextSpace,” she says. “If I got rid of our sleeping couch, all hell would break loose. I’m not allowed to get rid of that couch.”

Don’t Send Blanket Emails
When addressing violations of community norms, go right to the source to deal with the issue, says Delano. You can’t email all the members and tell them not to put their dish in the sink. It just won’t work.

Talk to the person face-to-face so you can see their reaction and really listen to them. When you have community norms to fall back on, it removes the responsibility of being a rule-maker from the community manager. Instead, you’re pointing to community norms that the member has already agreed to.

“It sure is nice to have community norms to fall back on,” says Delano, “so I don’t have to make up rules and scold people as we go along.”

View and download the Community Norms Document for NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz below.

Written by  our awesome  content strategist,  Cat Johnson.

Want access to resources specific to shared workspaces operators?  Join our network of 700 locations around the world. Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO    is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Checklist for Setting Up A New Coworking Space

Are you opening up a new coworking space?  We know it can be overwhelming or easy to forget what is next on a long list of tasks when planning a new workspace. That’s why our team at CloudVO created a simple checklist to keep you on track during each phase.

Many of us have imagined what our new coworking space would look like and how it will be different from the thousands of new spaces opening up each year, but opening a coworking space is so much more than just finding some real estate and filling it with furniture. Everything from establishing a clear business model, considering the type of community you are creating a space for, thinking through your marketing and operations strategy, and planning information sessions or pre-launch events to ramp up interest all need to be addressed.

Setting Up New Coworking Space NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz New ArtworkThis Setting Up a New Coworking Space Checklist serves as a high-level outline of the things a space operator should be prepared to tackle throughout this challenging, yet exciting, process.

We’re always eager to hear your story about your space, so if you have any other suggestions, please share with our team.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

10+Tools and Platforms to Help Coworking Space Operators Maximize Efficiency

When it comes to resources for workspace operators, tools and platforms that streamline the daily to-dos and free-up time for busy teams are invaluable.

As CloudVO Chief Infrastructure Officer Scott Chambers explains, coworking space operators should “automate processes that take up too much human capital and/or don’t properly scale, as soon as possible.”

Here are 10+ tools and platforms to help coworking space operators run their workspaces more efficiently.

  1. Salesforce
    Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage and monitor customer leads and interactions in one place. A single user on Salesforce is relatively affordable. The cost only starts climbing as you get into the enterprise level, which you can afford as you can scale. With the basic version of Salesforce, you still get valuable tools and can start to train yourself and your workspace team on the power of a CRM.

2. Meeting Room Booking and Member Management Tool
Workspace operators would be wise to automate meeting room bookings immediately and make sure you’re on a calendar that can sync with some of the industry channel partners, such as CloudVO.

“You want to do that to get your business out in front of as many people as possible,” says Chambers. “It’s yet another marketing channel for people in and out of your community to come use your space and your offerings. That can lead, not only to near-term revenue, but also to long-term revenue sources and opportunities.”

 

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Cloud Meeting Rooms Online Booking

 

 

  1. Personalized Call Answering
    Personalized call answering and VO services have historically been more popular in business centers and office rental spaces than it has in coworking spaces, but that is shifting as a growing number of spaces offer the service. Personalized call answering enables business owners of all types and sizes to have a larger image and lets customers know they’ve reached a real company when they call.

“Some coworking communities embrace personalized call answering early on, some embrace it later, and some never embrace it,” says Chambers. “At any stage of the business cycle, whether you’re a solopreneur or you’re running 20 or 80 locations, you have a representative communicating on your behalf.”

Chambers points out that entrepreneurs generally start off using mobile phones, but there comes a time when the business entity itself becomes bigger than your cell phone. “If it doesn’t,” he says, “you will never scale larger than your mobile phone, every person will think they have to talk to you, and you’ll have to answer to everyone for everything always. And it will be on their terms, relative to organizing your thoughts on returning messages or emails.”

  1. Email Marketing
    Your email list is one of your most valuable marketing tools. Whether you use Constant Contact, Mailchimp or another tool to manage your emails and newsletters, treat it as the essential communication method it is.

As Marketing Manager Kim Seipel explains, “We use email marketing as a communication tool to promote our brand and the value we bring to CloudVO partners, prospective partners, and the shared workspace community in general. Everything from training and resources for coworking operators, announcements on upcoming industry conferences, and promoting special offers, including contests and events are communicated via e-blasts.”

Seipel adds that Constant Contact is the tool of choice for the CloudVO team saying, “Although there are many great platforms out there, we use Constant Contact for its professional yet user-friendly templates, extensive list management functionality, reporting features so we can measure results, high deliverability rates, and built-in features allowing for easy compliance with national email marketing laws.”

  1. Calendly
    As a tool to book tours and meetings online, Calendly is very powerful. It allows people to see when a space operator is available and schedule a time to come in to see the space and meet the team. This frees up space operators and gives potential members an easy way to engage.

“The world we live in wants to point and click, be very efficient, and minimize human interaction unless it’s on their own terms,” says Chambers. “This is for efficiency, not because people don’t want to interact. One of the great reason for coworking’s existence is because we do want to interact.”

 

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Calendly for booking workspace tours

 

  1. Project Management Tool
    Project management tools such as Trello are essential for organizing projects, assigning to-do’s and tracking progress. The CloudVO marketing team uses Trello, which is a visual board organized into lists and cards, to organize and track projects.

“Each card can represent a task and can be assigned and shared with others,” says Seipel. “As each task or portion of a particular project is being worked on, team members can mark it as “doing” or “done.”

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Trello Project Management

CloudVO Director of Marketing Karina Patel adds that with the company’s development team, they use JIRA to track development projects, such as building a website, working on applications, and building features into their portal.

“JIRA works like any agile/scrum board, where epics or cards are created, assigned, shared, and monitored,” she says. “Project managers are able to track progress, developers can log their time spent on work (easy for billing), and teams that are scattered across the globe can all work harmoniously and effortlessly.”

7. Zapier
Zapier is a tool to integrate apps, such as Stripe, Google Calendar, Webhooks, Authorize.net, etc. It is easy to use and once integration and automation is setup, it increases productivity because you’ve cut out the task of manually transferring data between platforms.

8. Google Apps and Drive
Google offers a range of tools for organization and communication. The CloudVO team uses Google Docs, Sheets, Draw and Slides, to share ideas, concepts, and content in real-time. As Patel explains, the team “relies heavily on Google Docs for collaborative document editing,” stressing that “the main thing is simultaneous collaboration, which makes all Google apps great.” She adds that the team uses Google Drive to store and share files since it’s easy to share with outside teams and collaborate at the same time.

9. GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting is a great tool for weekly internal departmental meetings, including marketing conference calls and finance team meetings, as well as conference calls with partners, vendors, etc. The CloudVO team has tried Zoom, join.me, Google Meet and Google Hangouts for team calls internally and with outside agencies and vendors, and GoToMeeting has worked out best in terms of stability and functionality. The team also uses the company’s sister product, GoToWebinar, for internal training and industry webinars.

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools GoTo Webinar10. Internal Communications Platform
Internal communication tools and platforms are essential, and there are some interesting products, such as Slack, available. But there can be cost concerns around Slack for large teams.

Email, as imperfect as it is, remains a vital tool for one-on-one and group communication within the CloudVO team. “We’re an email culture,” says Chambers. “There’s a transparent culture within our company. If you’re in the ‘To’ line, you need to pay attention; if you’re in the ‘CC’ line, it’s a heads-up.”

Finding the perfect internal communication tool remains a challenge for many teams. In addition to Slack, some companies use messaging tools, such as WhatsApp, to communicate. Whatever works for your team, whether Slack, WhatsApp, or email, get everyone on-board and create norms and expectations around team communication.

Bonus Tips for Coworking Space Operators

11. Create Systems and Processes
CloudVO CEO Laurent Dhollande has, according to Chambers, “preached from the beginning the benefit of processes. Dhollande’s background is in corporate America, where you couldn’t do things on-the-fly, like an entrepreneur—you had to have processes.“Even when we were small, he was teaching us the concept of developing processes,” says Chambers, adding with a laugh, “He would ask me what my process was, and I’d say, ‘It’s a notepad.’”

12. Get Out and Network
“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, especially with the maturation of the shared workspace, the explosive growth, and the general personality of people in this industry who are willing to share,” says Chambers. “Build your personal brand along with your company brand. At the end of the day, you will find that your knowledge and your network will solve so many problems that people have already done before.

13. Attend GWA and GCUC
Chambers is a long-time supporter and participant in both GWA (the Global Workspace Association) and GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference) events. He recommends that operators from workspaces of all types attend and connect with industry peers and leaders.

“I encourage people to go to the industry conferences,” he says. “And resist the temptation to try to understand if you got your money’s worth three days after you get home. Do it for three years and it will be so abundantly clear that you got everything back, and more.” He adds, “The thing you get back that you can’t put in a math equation is the personal relationships, friendships and expanding your world.”

image of gcuc 2017

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Global Workspace Association Conference

By Cat Johnson,   content strategist  and coworking member of NextSpace in Santa Cruz, CA.

We would love to add you to our growing network. Partner with us and join our family of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com  to list your locations for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO    is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

 

Best Practices for Lease Negotiations by Coworking Operators

Tracy Wilson, Chief Operating Officer for CloudVO, authored this white paper drawing on lease negotiations from her own experiences as a commercial real estate broker and as Managing Partner for Pacific Workplaces. Tracy’s background offers expertise in the different types of partnerships a workspace provider may form with a landlord including Management Contracts, Joint Venture Agreements, Participating Leases, and Traditional Leases.

The Best Practices shared in this report are based on the experiences of Pacific Workplaces Principals accumulated during several dozens of lease agreement negotiations and renewals for their shared office space operations. The white paper discusses multiple strategies and tactics associated with lease negotiations ranging from the importance of keeping the right frame-of-mind throughout the deal to assessing risk and planning for the future. It also shares actual lease language Pacific Workplaces has formulated for a few important provisions that are often overlooked by workspace providers.

lease negotiations best practicesCloudVO offers this white paper as a resource to CloudVO partners and friends in the industry. If you are a CloudVO partner, feel free to call Tracy for more discussion, anytime.

For more information specific to workspace providers, check out our LinkedIn Workplace-as-a-Service™ discussion group and join the conversation.

Download White Paper


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 600 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

When to Charge (or not) for Meeting Rooms?

One of the key elements of the value proposition of shared office spaces is to provide collaborative space and meeting rooms to their members. This blog post will explore what we believe are the best practices for workspace providers to monetize access to meeting space.

Do Not Charge for Informal Collaborative Space on a Pay-Per-Use Basis

One of the tenets of coworking is to build a closely knit community of professionals that often interact in unplanned ways to maximize serendipity. Although convenience and privacy are more central to the value proposition of serviced offices, community curation is critical to their success as well. Note that in this article, we are using the terms “Serviced Office” and “Business Center” interchangeably.

Semi-private informal meeting spaces in the coworking area and/or by the break room of a business center are very desirable amenities to encourage instantaneous meetings without encroaching on the privacy of other members doing concentrated work.

Trying to monetize this kind of informal space (e.g. comfy couch, chairs, stools, or even meeting tables in open space) on a pay-per-use basis would be an undesirable barrier to accomplishing community bonding goals, not to mention in some cases, life changing serendipitous moments. Access to that kind of space should be part of the privilege of membership. If the space is heavily used, then day pass and virtual office users may be barred access from it, or else be charged a premium for it, as they are only peripherally involved with the community.

However, in general we like to discourage access restrictions to this kind of space, even to visitors, as today’s virtual office or meeting room user may become tomorrow’s full time member. In our experience, few virtual office or “walk in” visitors turn out to be heavy users of that kind of informal collaborative space anyway.

Charge Everyone for Access to Formal Private Meeting Rooms

Some operators include several hours of access to private meeting rooms as part of the privilege of membership. This is especially true for private office users whose monthly rent or membership fees are considerably higher than the virtual office or coworking passes.

Five to ten years ago, it was a common practice for serviced office space operators to think that the primary function of the meeting room was to serve full time office clients. Many provided a generous package of free access to the meeting rooms, 16 hours per month and sometimes more.

That practice is disappearing, and most operators are monetizing their day offices and meeting rooms aggressively. They learned that the contribution of a healthy meeting room business can be very significant to their business model both financially and also in terms of filling the pipeline of future full time members.

CloudVO Meeting Room Utilization by Type of Users
CloudVO Meeting Room Utilization by Type of Users

We believe that the best practice for operators is to offer no more than 4 hours of free access to formal meeting rooms as part of a full time user package. Many provide no free hours at all but offer meaningful discounts to full time members as a privilege of membership (e.g. 10-25%). Regus provides full time clients with free access to meeting rooms that is a function of how much money the clients spend every month. This typically accounts for just 1 or 2 free hours of a medium size meeting room. Pacific Workplaces (based in Northern California, with 15 locations) offer 4 hours of free access to their standard full time office members, a 50% reduction from what they provided less than 5 years ago and a 75% reduction from 10 years ago.

This trend towards charging for usage of private meeting room while not charging for the usage of informal meeting space makes sense when realizing that the ‘utility’ associated with a formal professional meeting is typically significantly higher than the ‘utility’ associated with informal meeting space. Another way to say this is that there is so much invested in a formal meeting that gathers 5, 6 or more people, in terms of everyone’s opportunity cost to be in the meeting, that the cost of the actual meeting space becomes a small % of the collective investment made to attend the meeting.

Think of a sales pitch or a fund raising pitch to busy third parties that cannot afford to be encumbered by technology glitches or a beer bust breaking out in the middle of the meeting.

Hence it makes sense for the operator to reflect that value in how he or she charges for the space, and to get a significant ROI on that meeting room space investment.

The space charged on a pay-per-use basis needs to be private, professional, with plenty of bandwidth, wireless access, and standard presentation equipment (flat screen with Apple TV or HDMI cable). That, along with the dedication of the meeting room space, is an expensive investment by the operator. The good news is, with the proper plan, that space should be the most profitable line of business for the operator as shown in the Expected Revenue Graph per meeting room size we explained in a a recent webinar on meeting room pricing.

Potential Revenue per Meeting Room Type - US Average
Potential Revenue per Room Type – US Average

Provide Meeting Room Choices

In that same webinar, we highlighted the importance of having several meeting rooms of different sizes in your inventory (1 or 2 day offices, 1 or 2 medium size rooms and one large room as a minimum). We touched on regional differences. We also explained how distributors, resellers, and other partners can quickly help develop a meeting room business with new, unique visitors, generating very high revenue per square foot and desirable traffic to also feed new memberships. Please refer to the webinar and to the associated White Paper on meeting room pricing and check our Resource Center with other similar goodies for operators.

Bundle Plans

Monetization of meeting room can come in several ways, including charging hourly rates, with or without discounts, deploying an e-commerce platform on your web site to enable real time booking of meeting rooms and charging user credit cards, leveraging partners like CloudMeetingRooms.com to expand your marketing reach, but also by providing well thought out bundles of meeting room hours.

Bundles should always be priced as a function of expected usage, in a statistical sense, based on data analysis of your pool of meeting room users. Hours should expire every month. If the operator follows these two principles well, the bundles can be priced at very attractive levels, and with minimum advertising, the meeting room revenue will increase quickly.

If you are starting your operation, use the CloudVO data as a meaningful starting point. For example, our experience of the average use of a 16-hour bundle (with no carry over of unused hours) is 3.9 hours/month when the bundle is an add-on to an existing package (e.g. Mail plan or Full time user); and 6.9 when it is a stand alone package. Price your bundles accordingly, not as if everyone were going to use all their hours. They don’t, and the light users typically more than pay for the occasional heavy user. Most people end up consuming fewer hours than they initially projected. This is particularly true if you package a 16-hour bundle with a 3-month minimum contract, which we recommend.

Upload your center information on our CloudVO portal, and we will automatically populate our e-commerce sites, CloudVirtualOffice.com and CloudMeetingRooms.com, with your offering. Join LinkedIn Workspace-as-a-Service ™ group for more data driven discussions on our industry.


About CloudVO ™
CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.