How Many Meeting Rooms Should You Have? A Meeting Room Guide for Flexible Office Space Operators

In this series, we will extract some of the data we published in our 2019 Meeting Room White Paper and dig deeper on our analysis.

Meeting Rooms are an indispensable amenity in any coworking space for three main reasons:

  1. Members need them for their own meeting requirements, both planned and sometimes impromptu
  2. Meeting rooms are an important revenue center, and a very profitable one at that
  3. Hosting meetings in your coworking space draws very desirable traffic that may convert into membership

What’s important to full-time members is that the meeting rooms are there and accessible when they need to host a meeting that cannot be accommodated in their office. Everyone likes “free,” but the availability of the rooms are more important than the price.

This is important to realize because the opportunity to monetize the meeting rooms outside of your membership is significant.

If you have a coworking space with 50 to 200 members, maintaining two meeting rooms and one day office is the bare minimum to provide the level of service that shared office space members expect. Many centers, particularly those with a healthy virtual office business, will have 5 and sometimes 10 or more meeting rooms and day offices.

The average number of meeting rooms in the U.S. is 3.5 per location, with 25% at 4 meeting rooms or more. As a reminder, these statistics come from analyzing the CloudVO inventory of 2,500 meeting rooms published on CloudVO.com, out of 700 partners worldwide with two-thirds of them in the United States. In some cases, operators do not publish all their inventory for online bookings which may slightly under estimate the true inventory numbers.

Meeting Room Data for Coworking Spaces | Number of Meeting Rooms | CloudVO

Monetizing Meeting Rooms is Too Important to Ignore

Whereas some free access to meeting rooms for full-time members can be a good idea, the opportunity cost associated with “free” is very high and the ability to monetize the rooms to outside visitors is too important to ignore. A better idea is to make them available to the public at large, and market them via resellers such as CloudVO as well as via your own local marketing efforts.

Pacific Workplaces estimates that the revenue generated by its meeting rooms (over 100 rooms in 20 locations) is 125% to 300% what it could generate by converting the rooms as full-time offices instead. The larger the room, the bigger the opportunity cost. Hence, it pays to have an aggressive meeting room profit center strategy as many CloudVO partners have found.

Over the last 10 years, we have seen a drastic reduction in ‘free’ meeting room hours provided to full-time members by operators, and a significant increase in meeting rooms available online via resellers such as CloudVO, Liquidspace, or DaVinci.

Use your Vacant Offices as Temporary Day Offices

Unlike WeWork, Regus has a healthy Virtual Office and Meeting Room business. We undertook a comprehensive comparison of their meeting room inventory, available for online bookings, with that of independent operators. It is interesting to see that Regus tends to maintain fewer larger- sized meeting rooms than independent operators, but many more rooms classified as “day offices.” This is because Regus will systematically list vacant offices as “day offices” and make them available to Virtual Office clients and “off-the-street” bookings.

They can also work as overflow for full-time members when the dedicated meeting rooms are full. We think this approach is a best practice that independent operators should emulate. Many IT platforms such as Yardi KUBE, Essensys, or DeskWorks will support the automatic listing of a vacant office as a free office, adding to your inventory of rooms that can be monetized as a meeting room until it’s leased again to a full-time client. The CloudVO platform integrates with many of the prevalent IT coworking platforms, which will enable us to market the available slots in your meeting room calendar and give end-users a seamless experience.

Meeting Room Data USA Coworking Spaces Average Rooms per Location | CloudVO

If you need assistance on how to monetize your vacant offices as day offices until they are leased to a full-time member again, do not hesitate to reach out to Partners@CloudVO.com.


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 CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

Top Coworking Podcasts for 2020: a Roundup for Workspace Insiders

As of this month, there are a reported 800,000 podcasts and 30 million podcast episodes out in the wild.

That’s a lot of talking. 

And listening.

Coworking with Iris Podcast | Maya Delano of NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

Podcasts are an increasingly popular way to consume information, be entertained, hear from industry insiders, and get a slice-of-life glimpse into the lives of people around the world.

Podcasts are immediate—as soon as the creator hits publish they show up in your podcast app; they’re intimate—they tend to create a one-on-one feel for listeners; and there’s a low barrier to entry to create them—anyone with a voice recording app can create one.

Coworking podcasts stretch back to the early days of the movement. Alex Hillman’s Coworking Weekly Show was one of the original ones. Now we have a growing handful of coworking podcasts covering launching a workspace, operations, community management, brand storytelling, workspace business basics and everything in-between.

Here are six of our favorite coworking podcasts for 2020. 

1. Everything Coworking Podcast

Everything Coworking is a must-listen-to for workspace operators. Hosted by Jamie Russo, founder of Enerpsace Coworking Palo Alto and executive director of the Global Workspace Association, the podcast is a goldmine of how-tos, pro tips and rock solid coworking business advice. With well over 100 episodes, Everything Coworking is one of the best coworking resources around.

Everything Coworking Podcast with Jamie Russo | CloudVO

2. GCUC Coworking Podcast

Since 2012, GCUC, the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, has been a cornerstone of the coworking movement and workspace industry. A gathering for workspace operators, industry service providers and the coworking curious, GCUC brings together some of the best and brightest in the industry. The GCUC Coworking Podcast is an extension of the vibrant GCUC community. Hosted by Tony Bacigalupo from New Work Cities, the podcast features industry insiders from around the world sharing tips, insights and perspective.

3. Coworking Out Loud

A podcast that I launched in 2017, the Coworking Out Loud Podcast is an extension of my work as a content strategist and storyteller for the coworking movement. The vision for this project is to tell the stories of the people inside the coworking community. Focused on our shared humanity and vision, the Coworking Out Loud Podcast invites guests to talk about the challenges and joys of their work in this movement, the workspace industry, and their lives.

Coworking Out Loud Podcast Cat Johnson | CloudVO



4. Coworking with Iris

Coworking with Iris is a podcast series focused on the “stories and insights of workspace creators, community catalysts, and coworking thought leaders.” Hosted by Women Who Cowork co-founder Iris Kavanagh, the podcast dates back to 2016 and includes conversations with the people shaping the coworking movement and their local coworking communities.

Coworking with Iris Podcast | CloudVO

5. Future of Work

A new coworking podcast by the team at Allwork.space, the Future of Work Podcast has already covered the future of the industry, space IoT and big data, workspace-as-a-service, content marketing and more. This project promises to become one of the go-to workspace industry resources and content platforms.

6. Coworking Conversations

Coworking Conversations is a podcast series featuring conversations with coworking business leaders around the world. The vision for the show is to “find out how they started, and how they’re growing their coworking businesses.” Hosted by Claire Carpenter and David Stroud, Coworking Conversations is an extension of the Coworking Accelerator Network, helping coworking leaders “build resilient, enterprising communities locally.”

What did we miss? Do you have a favorite coworking podcast to add to the list? Get in touch and tell us your favorites.

Cat Johnson is a coworking storyteller and blogs about coworking, the workspace industry, community and content marketing at  catjohnson.co

Join our global network of close to 1,000 workspace operators around the world. List your space for free at www.CloudVO.com.


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 CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

The Best Resources for Flexible Office Space Operators in 2019

Best Resources for Flexible Office Space Operators in 2019 | CloudVO

It’s hard to believe 2019 is coming to a wrap and we hope our CloudVO partners and friends have benefitted from the resources we’ve provided throughout the year. If you’ve missed anything, we’ve made it easy for you! Check out our top ten resources for Coworking Space Operators in 2019.

1) How To Build A Healthy Virtual Office Business

How To Build a Healthy Virtual Office Business Profitability Data | CloudVO

This downloadable Free Guide for coworking operators walks you step-by-step on what it takes to start and grow a successful Virtual Office business in your coworking space, sharing data and recommendations from a best-in-class operator.

2) 8 Steps to Create a Profitable Coworking Space – eBook on Amazon

8 Steps to Creating a Profitable Coworking Space | Jamie Russo Everything Coworking

Jamie Russo, the Executive Director of the Global Workplace Association and founder of Enerspace Coworking, has published an e-book available for free on Amazon to guide newcomers to the industry on how to set up a coworking space. A well done, comprehensive guide to help coworking entrepreneurs on their journey to success!


3) Big Dive on Coworking Financial Metrics

Coworking Space Financials Deep Dive | CloudVO

This downloadable presentation is a recent update to the material our CEO, Laurent Dhollande, used at a Global Workplace Association webinar in May, which was the most attended webinar in GWA recent history. This update includes the original presentation, but with more comprehensive metrics used by Pacific Workplaces and Nextspace coworking.

4) How to Prevent Burnout when planning Coworking Events

Coworking Events and Tips to prevent Burnout | CloudVO

In this article, Cat Johnson picks the brain of Maya Delano, NextSpace Santa Cruz Community Manager, who shares 9 tips on how to organize rich events in your coworking space without burnout.

5) 2019 Meeting Room White Paper

Meeting Room White Paper 2019 Hourly Prices Per Room Size All Operators in United States

This comprehensive survey captured and analyzed the pricing of Day Offices and Meeting Rooms across the US available for booking by coworking and flexible office space locations. It covers how independent operators compare with Regus, and reviews optimum pricing, utilization rates, and best-in-class performances.

6) Instagram Marketing: An Introduction for Coworking Spaces

Instagram Marketing for Coworking Space Operators | Cat Johnson Coworking Content Training

In this joint training hosted by Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, CloudVO Director of Marketing, Karina Patel, shows space operators how to leverage Instagram to strengthen your brand, generate leads, and attract members. Best training class on Instagram for coworking and way worth the $59 price!

7) How to Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy

CloudVO Blog Reinvent Your Coworking Space Marketing Strategy

In this post, Cat Johnson speaks with David Middleton, Vice President at YourOffice, who looked for help when his brand needed a shift to their marketing approach. That led to these 9 tips to help rejuvinate and streamline your marketing strategy.

8) New Ways of Work for Attorneys with Legal Virtual Offices

Virtual Office Plans for Attorneys | Pacific Workplaces

This article by Pacific Workplaces, is an example of how space operators can market to a specific profession. The post focuses on attorneys, historically avid users of shared office space, but operators can use this as a guide to offer someting special to any industry they choose to target.

9) Instagram Stories: An Introduction for Coworking Space Operators

CloudVO Tips on Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators

Best practices on how to leverage Instagram Stories to effectively market your coworking space. Instagram Stories are unique since they have a 24-hour shelf-life and offer specific tools to encourage engagement. Operators learn how to effectively use Stories to promote events and in-the-moment content to showcase your unique community.

10) 6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Update your Coworking Space Website

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website

Wondering if your coworking website needs a refresh? Read this article which offers 6 clues that it may be time for a makeover.


About CloudVO

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 CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

Deep Dive on Coworking Financial Metrics for Coworking Operators

Coworking Space Financials Deep Dive | CloudVO

Tell us a bit about yourself before downloading the complete slide deck.

Five months ago, our CEO Laurent was asked by the Global Workspace Association (GWA) to host a webinar that shared Pacific Workplaces’ (PAC), our sister company, best practices on financial metrics. This was the GWA webinar with the largest audience in recent memory. Multiple follow up questions lead us to update and expand the presentation and post it here for the benefit of CloudVO partners and friends.

This slide deck is more comprehensive than the original webinar whose recording can be streamed from the GWA member portal (you need to be a GWA member to do this).  In particular, we added a few slides in response to CloudVO partner questions on staff resources associated with supporting Virtual Offices and on event metrics.

Using data from Pacific Workplaces and Nextspace Coworking, the webinar treated the following topics:

  • What a healthy coworking P&L looks like
  • How to use P&L to communicate the counter-cyclical nature of some of your lines of business to landlords
  • Meaningful coworking revenue & occupancy metrics
  • How to optimize the relationship between occupancy and pricing power
  • Full time office space occupancy metrics
  • Revenue per occupied square foot metrics
  • Revenue breakdown by line of business
  • Operating expense metrics and benchmarks
  • How the P&L of a private office dominated coworking operation differs from a community-oriented coworking operation
  • Service package metrics
  • Virtual Office count and revenue
  • Staff resources needed to support the PAC Virtual Office business
  • Profitability of the Virtual Office Business
  • How to use the data when managing your coworking operation


    Since the webinar, we added a few slides that address the following issues in more depth:

  • Identifying and tracking coworking events metrics
  • Staff resources and cost of supporting VO plans

This later point is also developed in more detail in Step 5 of the free downloadable guide on ‘How To Build A Healthy Virtual Office Business.”


About CloudVO

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 CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 750 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

How to Prevent Burnout when Planning Coworking Events: 9 Tips for Community Managers

Coworking events can be an important part of running a successful coworking space.

From small happy hours for your members, to lunch and learns, meetups, networking events, presentations, workshops, large events for your extended community and everything in-between, coworking events can serve numerous important purposes, including:

  • Providing added value for members
  • Bringing new people into your space
  • Positioning your space in front of your target market
  • Differentiating from other coworking spaces
  • Giving members an opportunity to share skills and expertise
  • Educating your local community about coworking
  • Strengthening your existing member community
  • Demonstrating your company values and culture

As NextSpace senior community manager Maya Delano says, events are an “absolutely essential marketing tool and retention tool.”

She explains that whether members take advantage of events or not, they want to know that they have the option of participating in in-space events.

Coworking Events and NextTalk Luncheon at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

Coworking Event Burnout

The flip side, however, is that events can be exhausting and overwhelming for space operators and teams that are already stretched thin with todos.

Events are time consuming, they take a lot of energy, they require big picture planning and strategizing, as well as detail work down to the level of napkins and name tags.

Delano, who has been hosting events at NextSpace for seven years and was an event organizer before coming into coworking, shared nine tips to prevent event burnout in your coworking space.

Coworking Events and Tips to prevent Burnout | CloudVO

1. Understand what works for you, your staff and your budget

“Don’t set yourself up to fail by hosting events that are too large, too detailed, too expensive or too frequent,” says Delano. “Be clear with yourself, your team and any collaborators about what is realistic.”

2. Partner on events with local organizations, including your Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

“This way,” says Delano, “you have two organizations putting their time and resources into one event each month. Doing that has taken a lot of pressure off of both of the organizations, and it’s increased our reach and attendance.”

Cloud VO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Partners with Small Business Development Center

3. Host events during the 9-to-5 work day

“When you work a full day of coworking and then you have to go into a 6-9 p.m. evening event, you have just pushed yourself too hard,” says Delano. “After the event you have clean up and the next thing you know, you’re not getting home until 11 p.m. Then you’re turning around and you have to be back in the space—with a smile—at 9 a.m.”

Delano and the NextSpace team focus on daytime and lunchtime events, and leave the evening networking events to other people. That way, events fall within the time and structure of the work day.

The team does three large evening events per year—a holiday party and two networking events, including a women in tech event and speed networking—but they limit those large, evening events to three per year.

4. Keep it simple and consistent

NextSpace does a second Tuesday of the month event, a Friday at 3:58 happy hour, and a quarterly breakfast on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. 

“By having this structure, you can avoid overbooking yourself with numerous events in one week,” says Delano. “Signature events in your space help everyone get on the same page and lets everyone structure their time accordingly.”

Coworking Events and Happy Hour at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO
Happy Hour spread at NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

5. Manage your personal expectations

“You can’t do everything, so plan your ideal situation,” says Delano. “If you’re just starting out, try one event per month, or one event per quarter.” She explains that events can be overwhelming if you don’t have an events background and suggests letting other people—a member or an events mentor—help you.

“Let someone show you the ropes,” she says. “The learning curve going from zero events to a bunch of events is huge.”

6. Do member-focused events

In-house events, such as a Wednesday Walkabout lunch, are not about retention and sales. They’re simply about connecting with members and helping them connect with each other.

“Let the members tell people how great your coworking space is. That way you can leverage word-of-mouth.”

Coworking Events and Member Participation NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

7. Plan your event schedule annually

“Sit down with your team and look at the entire year, one quarter at a time,” says Delano. “Look at all the things going on and make sure each quarter’s event schedule is realistic.”

She also advises considering your operational procedures, such as billing, as well as other events when planning your schedule.

Coworking Events Planning in Advance | CloudVO

8. Curate your events

“You have to do events that you like,” says Delano. “You’re the cool one. You’re the one bringing in the trendy, interesting, fun factor. If it’s not interesting to you, don’t do it.” 

She adds that, as a coworking space manager, take feedback and suggestions from members, but your events need to reflect you and, in turn, your community.

9. Be mindful and express your values

“We’ve become the clubhouse for women in tech in Santa Cruz,” Delano says. “I’m not a tech person, but I have the wherewithal to support women in the space, which is really important to me.” 

She adds, “So I’m addressing the needs of the community, which is really important, as well as my passion, which is supporting women in a safe working environment.

Cat Johnson is a coworking storyteller and content strategist. She blogs about coworking, the workspace industry, community and content marketing at catjohnson.co

Join our global network of 750 workspace operators at www.CloudVO.com. Listing is 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 CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 750 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.


7 Yelp Quick Wins for Coworking Space Operators

Should Yelp be part of your coworking space marketing?

Maybe.

Yelp can be a valuable tool to generate membership leads, meeting room rentals, day passes and office rentals. Or, it may not be right for your space and town. Determine whether you’re in a market that relies on Yelp for reviews and searches. If so, it’s worthwhile to fill out your Yelp business profile, at the very least.

If you have the budget and market for it, you can make Yelp part of your marketing plan. Dig into your cost per acquisition and align that with the cost per click of a Yelp ad campaign. 

Start small, measure results, test, adjust and grow your ad campaign.
If you don’t have the budget for Yelp ads, there are several things you can do to have a presence on the platform and increase the chance of people finding your space. Here are seven quick wins to get started.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | CloudVO Resources for Space Operators

1. Fill Out Your Yelp Profile

First things first, fill out your profile. The more detailed the better. 

The Yelp algorithm is sophisticated and it’s not going to serve up results to a half-baked profile with no helpful information. The platform exists to help people find quality products and services. Make it clear that you’ve taken the steps to help users—and the Yelp algorithm—understand you and your workspace offerings.

2. Include Photos and Update Them Regularly

Make sure you include photos of your space, community, and different products and services in your profile. Then update those photos regularly. Photos are one of the most popular features of Yelp listings, so give searchers and Yelp fresh images of your space, your community, your events, your offices and your team.

Pro tip: Use keywords to name your images, rather than some generic image file name like IMG_2345.png.

3. Show The Humans

This point deserves reiterating. In your photos, be sure to show Yelp users who is in your space. Meeting rooms all start to look the same—no matter how nice they are. 

The thing that differentiates you from the other workspaces in your area is your community. Make sure your photos and description reflect the humans in your space.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Yelp Images

4. Encourage Reviews

Customer reviews are an important aspect of building your brand. Encourage satisfied users of your space to leave a Yelp review about their experience.

Yelp is strict about not aggressively soliciting reviews. However, we’ve all seen those signs on counters and front windows encouraging people to find the establishment on Yelp. 

This goes hand-in-hand with encouraging day passers, members, day office users and virtual mail members to leave a positive review when they have a positive experience.

5. Use Target Keywords

Use target keyword phrases throughout your Yelp profile and descriptions. 

When writing the copy for your space, get your target keywords front and center— Yelp looks at the first 8-10 words used in the specialties section as keywords. If you have private offices, or meeting room space available in San Diego, make sure that “office rental in San Diego” and “meeting room rental in San Diego” are at the beginning of your description.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Benefits of Keywords

Pro tip: Target keywords should be top-of-mind across all of your content. If you’re marketing online, and you’re not being strategic about how you use keywords, you’re missing a huge opportunity to boost your results on Google, YouTube, Yelp and everything else.

6. Respond to Comments and Reviews – Especially Negative Ones

Responding to a negative review is an incredible opportunity to turn someone from a dissatisfied user into a brand advocate. 

Find a way, when possible and reasonable, to make things right with them. This not only shows a dedication to members and people in your space, it reflects your brand values for anyone who reads the review today and down the road.

7. Let the Yelp Team Help

Yelp representatives have a reputation for being very persistent in trying to sell you ads. Whether or not you decide to run ads on the platform, let the representative help you optimize your description and profile. They know all the ins and outs of the platform and can help you make the most of it. Also be sure to leverage the Yelp Support Center for Business Owners that also contains a wealth of helpful information.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Business Owners Support Center

Do you use Yelp to market your workspace? What are your best tips? We’d love to hear from you. Contact the team and let us know.

Looking for more resources related to social media? On October 16th, CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel is co-hosting, along with Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, an Advanced Instagram Training to market your coworking space. Register here.

Cat Johnson is a coworking storyteller and content strategist. She blogs about the coworking movement, the workspace industry, community and content marketing at catjohnson.co


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 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.


3 Reasons to Use Videos to Streamline Coworking Member Onboarding

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Member Onboarding

Joining a coworking space or shared office can be a game changer for independent professionals, freelancers, remote workers and teams.

The benefits of coworking are many, from increased productivity and connection, to in-house amenities, meeting rooms, media production facilities and event programming.

Joining a space and community, however, can be disorienting initially. New members have to round a learning curve that includes software, facilities, rules, norms and culture.

Helping people transition smoothly into workspace membership is an important part of being a community manager; but community managers are busy doing all the things that keep a space humming along, so tools that help them do their job more efficiently are always welcome.

Onboarding videos are an efficiency tool that help space operators as well as members who receive a lot of information at the same time during the onboarding process. Videos can cover topics such as how to connect to the printer, booking a meeting room, creating a member profile and using in-space tools, such as an electronic whiteboard.

Here are three reasons to use orientation videos to streamline your onboarding process.

1. Efficiency

It makes sense for a community manager to help a new member feel welcome, introduce them to other members, give them a tour of their new coworking space and help them ease into the community.

It does not make sense for a community manager to take every new member through a play-by-play of connecting to the printer, how to login to their member portal, or booking a meeting room. The time taken doing these repeating tasks is time taken away from engaging with the community. Automating this process with a video helps community managers do their job more efficiently.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal
CloudVO partner and sister company Pacific Workplaces orientation video on how to navigate the member portal.

2. Value

A nice orientation video delivers immediate value to members and gives a good first impression of the space and brand. 

Short videos give members the information they need to complete the onboarding process visually, as opposed to reading lengthy emails or documents with instructions. They also demonstrate the space operators’ commitment to making membership easy and convenient.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding How to Book A Meeting Room
2-minute video on how to book a meeting room.

3. Showcase your space and community

Settling into a new space takes time. However, you can help new members fast-track their understanding of the norms, culture and values of your coworking community with videos.

Consider creating a library of videos that answer commonly-asked questions about everything from connecting to wifi and using meeting room screens, to making coffee and hosting a lunch and learn. 


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal for Pacific Workplaces
Pacific Workplaces new member onboarding orientation video library.

These help showcase your community and your workspace values. The videos can be fun and engaging, while highlighting features of your space for new members from day one.

Videos that help members onboard easily and efficiently can only help to strengthen engagement and retention.


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Pacific Workplaces Values and Culture Video


Cat Johnson is a writer, content strategist, teacher and coworking space member. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

Partner with us and get free resources specifically for workspace operators. Listing is free. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn how to join our global network of 750 workspace operators.


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 grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 750 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

A Survival Guide for Coworking Conferences: A Workspace Operator’s Playbook

Over the last five years, I’ve been to eight coworking conferences and dozens of coworking-related events, meetups and retreats. I’ve covered these events for various publications, I’ve given presentations, moderated panels, participated in unconference sessions, created content for the events, set up tables and even re-potted centerpiece plants for one.

Coworking conferences provide resources for operators and valuable insight into the workspace industry. They also serve to strengthen and grow the community of coworking space operators, which is remarkably close-knit. Flexspace operators, workspace owners and community managers, industry service providers and coworking movement pioneers all gather at these events to share ideas, resources and best practices.

Here are my best tips for surviving–and thriving–at a coworking conference.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Opening Session

Before the Conference

Know who will be there

Take a look ahead of time at the people attending the conference. It’s challenging, in a sea full of people all wearing little badges, to know who is who. Take time to get a sense of who will be there and who you’d like to connect with. 

Make contact ahead of time

Reach out to people and let them know you’re interested in connecting. Give them some context about why you’re interested in talking with them.

Schedule must-have meetings in advance

Don’t wait until the conference to try to schedule time with someone. Set up a coffee, breakfast or meeting in advance of the conference.

Set your intentions

What will make the conference a great success for you? What would you like to learn? Who would you like to connect with? What would you like to leave with? Get clear about your intentions in advance.

Bring business cards

I find that the only time people ask for my business card is when I don’t have them. Be sure to bring some cards along so you’re prepared when the moment comes.

Get social in advance

Before the event, get active on social media using the event hashtags. Mention that you’ll be attending, connect with other attendees, and start conversations around hot topics. This will help you make connections and generate interest in the event.

During the Conference

Be human

No one wants to be spammed at a conference. Show up as you, be real, focus on making genuine connections.

GCUC2016_JamieRussoBeckyandLD_2

Ride the social momentum

Once the event has started, take advantage of the social media momentum. People will be using the event hashtag to share quotes, thoughts, feedback and photos. Join the conversations. Twitter and Instagram are particularly good platforms for conferences.

Participate

Don’t be a conference wallflower. Get in there and participate. Introduce yourself to people, share generously of your experience and ideas, and take part in as much of the event as you can.

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Global Workspace Association Conference

Ask questions

Now is not the time to sit back and pretend you know everything. Now is the time to ask questions, keep an open mind and learn. Everyone there has something to teach you, even if they’re a brand new space operator. Plan to leave the conference knowing more than you did when you arrived.

Take notes

You think you’ll remember everything you’re hearing and experiencing, but you won’t. Take notes throughout the conference. When you get home, you’ll be glad to have a record of highpoints, things to research, and people to connect with. Most venues have wifi access, but don’t count on it. Have an offline option on your laptop, or keep it simple and just take a notebook.

Talk to vendors

Now is the time to learn about all the products and services available to level-up your coworking space and operations. Get to know the vendors, ask them questions about what they offer, and don’t worry about being sold at. I know many of the coworking conference vendors and most of them are in this business because they truly believe in coworking and they want you to succeed.

CloudVO Booth at Global Coworking Unconference Conference Denver

Don’t try to do everything

If you race around trying to do everything, you’ll likely miss the most valuable things. Go to the panels and presentations that most resonate with you. You can’t take it all in, so don’t try. If you’re in the middle of an engaging, important conversation, then by all means, continue it. Don’t rush off to the next thing if you’re making a great connection.

Be present

Conferences can be exhausting. Do your best to be present in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s listening to a presentation, having lunch with colleagues, or making new connections at a happy hour.

Charge up

Access to power is almost always an issue at conferences. Charge up your devices, use power when you have access to it—even if you’re not particularly low at the time. If you tend to use your gadgets a lot at events, bring a portable charger.

Take care of yourself

At some point during every conference, I burn out. It’s hard to be mentally, physically and emotionally present for days on-end. When this happens, I usually go outside and walk around for a bit. Be sure to take care of yourself during the conference. Don’t worry about missing out on a panel, or skipping a group lunch. Take time to refresh and decompress. Doing so will improve your whole conference experience.

Connect with industry leaders

Conferences are one of the best ways to connect with industry leaders. Workspace pioneers, visionaries and game-changers are all there to connect, learn and share. Take advantage of the easy access you’ll have to speakers, sponsors, industry insiders and your workspace colleagues.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Panel Discussion New York 2018

After the Conference

Get organized

After the conference, take time to organize your contacts and todos. Who do you need to reach out to? What do you need to research? Which items do you need to take action on? 

Be speedy

Follow-up with people within a few days. This keeps the conversation fresh and, let’s face it, if you don’t connect within a few days, you’re probably not going to reach out at all.

Implement what you’ve learned

Hopefully you’re now full of ideas and insights. How will you implement and incorporate them into what you’re doing? Create clear strategies to put your conference experience into action.

Share your experience

What were your big takeaways from the conference? What was your experience? What went well? What would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts and ideas in a blog post, on social media, or in online groups. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s takeaways and your insights help conference producers make improvements for the next one.

Cat Johnson is a writer, teacher and content strategist. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

CloudVO is looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Global Workspace Association Conference on September 18th in Washington, D.C. Let us know of any conference tips you would like to share!


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 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.


Partnering with Your Local Small Business Development Center: an Overview for Coworking Space Operators

In the past week, I’ve watched a dozen or so people come into NextSpace Santa Cruz to meet with Keith Holtaway, business advisor for the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Keith is a celebrated local businessman, an award-winning consultant and mentor, and a longtime member of the NextSpace community, Keith has a desk here where he meets with SBDC clients all week long. He’s available to offer advice and business mentorship to members and the local community, at large. I’ve personally met with Keith three times in the last year or so as I’ve grown my business.

coworking and sbdc

Coworking and the SBDC

Partnering with the local SBDC is a no-brainer for coworking spaces. It benefits spaces, members, the local community and the SBDC. 

“The SBDC fits within the culture of coworking, which is communities that are here not just to better themselves, but to better their neighbor,” says Brandon Napoli, director of the Santa Cruz SBDC. “The SBDC is a cornerstone of that foundation. We help business owners become more entrepreneurial. That’s really what the SBDC is aiming for.”

Napoli stresses that having a network of other entrepreneurs, service providers and supporters is essential to creating a thriving business.

“There’s a need to be part of a village as a business owner,” he adds, “not just a frontiers person, when it comes to creating your own business.”


In-house Strategy and Success

Through partnerships with the SBDC, coworking spaces have a stream of local professionals and business owners coming into the space, members have in-house business mentorship, the extended community has access to (oftentimes free) business consulting and professional workspace, and the SBDC positions itself in the heart of the professional ecosystem.

Partnering with a coworking space also gives the SBDC a place to have events, and to stay current with local business trends, challenges and opportunities.

Cloud VO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Partners with SBDC

“Partnership with a coworking space puts the SBDC advisor/mentor in the middle of the target market in a way that allows for trust to develop between potential clients and the advisor over a period of time,” says Holtaway. “It also allows for the SBDC to understand emerging businesses before they become more mainstream. In other words, the SBDC is on the ground floor of new stuff that is getting ready to launch.”

NextSpace Santa Cruz Senior Community Manager Maya Delano stresses that the vision for a coworking space and the SBDC is aligned: to help people succeed in work and life. She describes SBDC partnership as enabling spaces to serve as business incubators without being incubators.

“All these SBDC resources are housed under our roof,” she says. “We have informational materials in the space and we mention that we have an on-site SBDC advisor during tours.”

Delano adds that the partnership brings a fresh audience of business owners—and prospective business owners—into the space and introduces new people to the idea of flexible workspace.

“This benefits members at all stages of running a business, from needing basic business mentorship, to launching a startup, to getting a loan and beyond.”

Win Win Win

Since providing business advice to members is not a service generally offered in coworking spaces, SBDC partnerships allow a space to differentiate and provide a valuable community service at little cost to them. A partnership may be as simple as an open coworking membership, or it may include a dedicated desk, meeting room hours, or office space.

Services offered by an SBDC depends on the location, but they usually have a wide range of offerings, including technical services and access to a team of advisors who, as Holtaway explains, “can take care of almost any business need.”

“Such a service would be very expensive to engage for both the coworking space and the member,” he says. “For smaller coworking spaces, it would be a feature that would allow them to compete with larger coworking spaces that have a large marketing budget. There are also approximately 1,200 SBDC centers throughout the U.S. so finding one would not be difficult. Since SBDCs operate on a tight operations budget, offering low or no cost space would be very attractive to them, as well.”

Small Business Development Centers across the United States

Creating an SBDC Partnership

For coworking space operators interested in partnering with the local SBDC, Napoli advises having a clear understanding of how the needs of the coworking space align with the goals of the SBDC.

“If the need of the coworking space is to bring in new blood, host more events, fill office space, and increase retention of members,” he says, “align that with the focus of the SBDC, and with who the SBDC is serving and willing to serve.”

Napoli stresses that it’s vitally important for SBDCs to understand the local business environment and stay relevant to local business owners. 

“An SBDC that’s focused on the future of work is an SBDC that knows the trends of the workplace,” he says. “An SBDC needs to move from the corner office in its host institution into becoming a cornerstone of the ecosystem serving business owners.”

Coworking and Small Business Development Center Partnership for Members

What partnerships have you formed within your local business community that align with your coworking space? We’d love to hear from you.


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 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.


8 Ways Coworking Communities Can Make Positive Local Impact

Coworking spaces are nicely positioned to make a positive impact on members. From helping people level up their business to creating communities of mutual support and friendship, coworking can be a game-changer.

Spaces and communities can also make an impact on their broader local community. From supporting local organizations to partnering with neighborhood businesses, here are eight ways your coworking community can make a positive local impact.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Carebags for the homeless 2019

1. Support Neighborhood Businesses

Get to know your neighbors and find ways to support them.

“Relationships are everything,” says NextSpace San Jose Community Manager Julie Kodama. “It’s so important to be engaged with the community. Whether that’s checking out the new cookie shop or doing group lunches at local restaurants. There’s a reason when the mayor came to speak here all the food was donated from local eateries.”

Kodama explains that when daypassers come into NextSpace, she can recommend places to eat and they’re all places she and the community have been. Kodama then turns to neighboring businesses when she throws an event, needs catering, coffee or anything else in her space.

“If they’re good, and you continue to patronize them, you will build up a relationship.”

2. Be a Connector

The best community managers are excellent connectors. They know which members they should introduce, who is looking for help and who is expanding or seeking new opportunities. They also know of interesting events, opportunities and more.

Extend the natural connecting you do as community managers into your larger community. Look for ways to connect people, organizations, schools, businesses and community leaders.

3. Support Local Organizations

One great way to make a positive impact locally is to support organizations that are already making a positive impact. You can do this by inviting them to come tell your community about their work, hosting an event in your space, offering free or reduced memberships, giving them discounted meeting room space, and mentioning them on social media or in your newsletter.

Tip: All Good Work connects nonprofit social impact organizations with donated workspace. The organization is currently in New York City and Silicon Valley.

Urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose
Through the All Good Work Foundation, urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose.

4. Participate in Food and Clothing Drives

During the holiday season, local food banks, shelters and other organizations do food drives, clothing drives, toy drives etc. These drives are easy ways to give back as a community and make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Look for ways throughout the year to participate in drives. For instance, does your community host book drives, or back-to-school drives, or drives to send local high schoolers to prom? Do a little research to find out. You may be able, as a community, to do some off-season good work.

5. Get Involved with Mentor Programs

Presumably your coworking space is full of programmers, writers, designers, photographers, financial planners, developers, artists, attorneys, etc. Can you help pair these folks up with local young people looking for mentorship opportunities?

Find existing mentor organizations to partner with to bring a mentoring program into your space. If necessary or preferable, start one of your own.

6. Create Local Partnerships

Beyond simply supporting neighborhood businesses, find ways to partner with these businesses. Doing so has the potential to help both of you.

When the NextSpace San Jose kitchen was out of commission, a local coffee shop sold them big pourers of coffee at a huge discount because we had a good relationship with them.

“When someone wants to grab a fancy coffee,” says Kodama, “of course I send them there.”

7. Support Local Initiatives

NextSpace San Jose fills Care Bags for local homeless. The bags are filled with everyday essentials, such as socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bars and hygiene items. What local initiatives could your members easily participate in? Ask around and get creative.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Care bags for the homeless member event

8. Provide a Platform for Community Discussions

Coworking spaces are home to a variety of professions, opinions, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. Your space can be a place to further community discussions and dialogue in a supportive, respectful environment.

For instance, the mayor of San Jose has visited NextSpace San Jose numerous times for events and conversations. The goal was to have conversations about issues that affect all local residents.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Event Mayor Sam Liccardo group discussion
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a group discussion at NextSpace Coworking San Jose.

Beyond being a place to support your members, your space can be a place to make a positive impact in your larger community. What do you do to make an impact? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


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 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.