Commute with our CEO Episode 5: Contrasting Coworking and Virtual Offices

Watch Episode 5, Contrasting Coworking and Virtual Offices, of our Commute with our CEO series. Laurent explains the fundamental differences between coworking and virtual offices, and their respective benefits. Both types of workspace solutions have advantageous qualities, and you may learn how one solution may be better suited for your business needs over the other!

Listen in to the Commute with our CEO video series, perhaps during your commute, or while taking a break at your desk, and be sure to send your questions and thoughts to Laurent along the way!

Click here to view the full catalog of published episodes, upcoming episodes, and future topics.

You can also subscribe to the series and receive notifications when new episodes are available.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for future topics? Submit them below.


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.

Commute with our CEO Episode 4: How to Manage Annual Fee Increases & the Value of Set Up Fees

Episode 4: How to Manage Annual Fee Increases and the Value of Set Up Fees is now live! Laurent discusses how to manage the service agreement annual increase when the time arrives, even if the service price may not change for new members. This episode is a follow-up on Episode 2 and 3 that explored the value of annual service agreement increases and how increases should be included in short-term coworking and virtual office contracts.

Listen in to the Commute with our CEO video series, perhaps during your commute, or while taking a break at your desk, and be sure to send your questions and thoughts to Laurent along the way!

Click here to view the full catalog of published episodes, upcoming episodes, and future topics.

You can also subscribe to the series and receive notifications when new episodes are available.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for future topics? Submit them below.


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.

Commute with our CEO

You asked, we listened. This year, we are committed to providing more resources and understanding for operators to stay in the know. To start the year, CloudVO has published a new video series offering workspace providers an insightful perspective on one single thought or topic.

Laurent Dhollande, CEO of Pacific Workplaces and CloudVO, shares advice and answers question in a fun format. These 60- to 90- second video series, aptly called Commute with our CEO, follows Laurent on his daily commute. Based on his 10+ years of experience managing business centers, coworking spaces, and observing best practices in the coworking industry, he is one of CloudVO’s best resources. So why not ask him the questions you’ve been scratching your head in wonder?

Over the course of this series, Laurent will cover topics from annual fee increase on short-term contracts, healthy range of rent expense to revenue ratios, contrasting coworking and virtuals offices, and the current health of the coworking industry, to digging into WeWork’s growth in 2016, what the most profitable shared office space operations look like, and exploring which conference, Global Workspace Association (GWA) or Global Coworking Unconference Conference, brings the most value.

Listen in to these videos, perhaps during your commute, or while taking a break at your desk, and be sure to send your questions and thoughts to Laurent along the way!

Click here to view the full catalog of published episodes, upcoming episodes, and future topics.

You can also subscribe to the series and receive notifications when new episodes are available.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for future topics? Submit them below.


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?

Update: 2019 Meeting Room White Paper is now available.

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.

Meet the CloudVO Experts!

Meet our Experts at the
Global Workspace Association Conference

September 10-13, 2014, Boca Raton, FL

Corner them in Boca… and ask all you’ve ever wanted to know about running a Workspace-as-a-Service operation. Collectively they have close to 100 years of experience running on-demand workplaces. And they love to share!

Meet the CloudVO Experts

What to ask them?

Laurent Dhollande, our CEO, started Pacific Workplaces 10 years ago and ran a portfolio of 15 business centers prior to dedicating the majority of his time to running CloudVO.  Don’t hesitate to corner him at the conference for one-on-one advice. Many CloudVO partners call Laurent regularly for marketing or lease-related advice. He’ll make himself available in Boca to anyone, CloudVO partner or not!

Kassandra Salas, our CloudAnswering Operations Manager, runs our East Coast to West Coast Live Answering service, managing several thousands of calls everyday.  She will tell you how we provide wholesale phone answering services to operators, the pros and cons of outsourcing that service, and share tips of the phone answering trade with you.

Keith Warner, CloudVO Co-founder & Chief Social Personality, has over 25 years of experience providing virtual office services. He has also been on the forefront of the social media movement, with a large following on almost all the social media platforms! He can give helpful tips to boost your own fan base, and enlighten you with his knowledge of social media.

Kate Plew, our CloudVO Marketing Manager, is our expert on Search Engine Management. Google has few secrets left for her, and she’ll share with you all tricks of the SEO and Pay-per-click art and science. How about emerging marketing channels? How about the effectiveness (or not) of traditional advertising media? Ask Kate!

Tracy Wilson, our COO, has been an operator of Business Centers for over 2 decades. She knows all the ins and outs of day-to-day management of a business center. As the chair of the GWA Fraud Prevention Committee, she has experience identifying and discouraging even the most clever would-be fraudsters who dare to utilize our industry services. Feel free to look to her as a resource if you have questions about fraud watch.

Scott Chambers is a CloudVO Co-founder and the current GWA President-elect, which gives you two good reasons not to be shy asking him anything on any subject. Add his day job as COO of Pacific Workplaces, and you have someone who has collected as many medals on his Workspace-as-a-Service industry chest as General MacArthur after WWII. Scott has been around the block, having opened and managed close to 20 business centers over his lifetime. If he does not know the answer to your question, you can bet he’ll find someone that does!

Jamie Garbisch, our CloudVO Partner Relations Manager, manages all aspects of new partner sign ups and works hand-in-hand with our partners to support them long after they sign up. Feel free to ask Jamie about any of the CloudVO products, or for guidance in product pricing in your area. Jamie routinely connects with hundreds of operators every year and is one of the sharpest observers of the supply side of the Virtual Office business.

Oh… and don’t forget to ask them all about CloudTouchdown

Keith Warner discusses The Regus Network Effect at WANY!

Keith-Warner-Regus-Network-Effect-SJ-slides-060614
Download Keith’s presentation, Regus Businessworld & The Network Effect

At the 9th Annual WANY Conference on Friday June 13th, 2014, Keith Warner – Managing Partner at Pacific Workplaces and Co-Founder of CloudVO ™, served up some sizzling details on The Network Effect and how Regus is capitalizing on it with their Businessworld program. Keith shared why Businessword is an integral part of Regus’ Marketing Strategy, and what independent providers can do to be Network Ready!

Keith Warner at WANYKeith walked us through the shift in the way enterprise workers choose to work. Previous habits included commuting to a far away company regional campus day-in and day-out. When traveling for work, meetings would rotate between regional hubs, moving from one to another, which ever was closest, even if the “closest“ hub is 45 minutes away. He stated, “What we are seeing now is a shift from regional to local.”

Now, corporations are reducing their Real Estate Footprint, not requiring employees to commute to a regional campus. Instead, giving workers the opportunity to make their own local workplace decisions, and increase productivity by ditching the long commute.

With the choice in the user’s hands, proximity, but also local flavor and community-related considerations, become more important drivers in the local workplace decision, which greatly favors local workplace providers over Regus.

Mobile enterprise workers want to meet where they are, no longer traveling to a regional hub to hold a meeting. Keith explained why users choices are different while on-the road and why standardized networks, like the one Regus offers, become more valuable for road warriors. Mostly, this is because a standardized Network provides a single point of contact to the mobile user’s corporate sponsor, such that they don’t have to deal with as many contracts, pricing, and billing approaches, as there are local providers, a nightmare for any corporations who needs a streamlined account management approach and a “no-surprise” budget management process.

Keith used the analogy of his own choice of a local coffee shop (after driving past 3 Starbucks) on his way to work every day, which he prefers for his local daily shot of caffeine over Starbucks. The good coffee, but also the friendships he has established with the owner and many of the patrons at the coffee shop, is what drove that choice. However, while traveling, Keith explained that he only goes to Starbucks to get coffee, because he knows he will get his mocha in 2 minutes, he will find a place to sit, and an Internet connection to check email. While traveling, Keith confessed he does not take a chance at an unknown local coffee shop.

The same applies to workspace users: whether they drive an extra half mile to go to the coworking place or business centers they favor every day, over say a Regus center, they will not want to take the chance to go to an unknown provider while traveling outside of their base market. Standards and the need for“No-Surprises” matter more than community considerations, while on the road.

As local providers, how do we take advantage of this transition? How do we give users the best of both words? Keith’s answer: An organized Network of Local providers, which is what the CloudTouchdown ™ value proposition is all about.

Know your competition (Regus), and work together (local providers) to overcome Regus’ largest advantage (Businessworld) was keith’s next message. Keith’s team has been mystery shopping multiple Regus locations, to do just that. The common denominator each Mystery Shopper reported was that the Regus Sales Managers are all trained to bring Businessworld and the value of Regus’ Network front and center. When analyzing the Regus Annual Report and dissecting their website, it is clear that Businessworld, and the value of their network, is prominent throughout – much more so than their full-time office space, which still represents the majority of their revenue.

One Secret Shopper even reported back, that while waiting for their tour of the space, the only visible flyer available in the lobby was a Businessworld trifold. Then while touring, even after letting the Manager know they were looking for virtual office space, the shopper was first presented with their Businessworld program. It seems the goal was to sell a virtual office plan along with a Businessworld Gold Card. Other shoppers reported back the same intel, Businessworld was front and center during the sales process.

Regus Businessworld is a membership program that gives the card holder access to the entire Regus network under preferential rates and conditions. It has a strong marketing appeal, even with purely local users, who may never actually use the card (but think they will!).

What can local providers do about this? Keith’s response: Be Network-Ready! On the technology side, be network-ready, by selecting a technology partner that uses open API to support you with real time meeting room reservation systems, preferably an approved partner whose platform can communicate with CloudTouchdown and CloudMeetingRooms and other value added resellers, such as HappyDesk. On the marketing side, be network-ready by promoting yourself as part of a cohesive network like CloudTouchdown ™, and making your center an option for enterprise users and highly mobile workers, while not losing control, but retaining your autonomy as a local workspace provider.

CloudTouchdown ™ is a network of over 450 local providers, offering CloudTouchdown ™ Office Cards under its local partner’s brand, and a credible competitor of the Regus Businessworld cards.

WANY Audience

CloudTouchdown ™ collateral, co-branded flyers, are available free-of-charge, making it easy to show your clients and prospects that you are a local provider with a global reach! For more information, consult our Workspace Provider Resource Center. Join our Workplace-as-a-Service ™ LinkedIN Discussion Group for more data-driven discussions with our community of workspace providers, one chewable data-bite at a time.

CloudVO ™ Team

Why Regus’ announcement of their 2,000th center is phenomenal news for independent workspace providers!

Regus announced the opening of its 2,000th business center in Boulder, CO shortly after the CloudVO webinar “Dissecting Regus Businessworld.”

By Laurent Dhollande, CEO of CloudVO & The Pacific Workplaces Group

Understand Your Regus Competition

Regus announced the opening of its 2000th business “Centre” location in Boulder, Colorado in a recent press release, shortly after CloudVO hosted a webinar where we dissected Regus’ successful strategy, centered on the value of their network and emphasized by their Businessworld offering.

Continue reading “Why Regus’ announcement of their 2,000th center is phenomenal news for independent workspace providers!”

State of CA Gives Formal Blessing on Virtual Office for Solo Attorneys

The CA State Bar has weighed in on licensed solo practitioners wishing to establish a virtual law office.

California Virtual Law OfficeThe CA State Bar has weighed in on licensed solo practitioners wishing to establish a virtual law office (VLO) also referred to as: digital law, online law, eLawyering and Law Firm 2.0. VLO, as a term, in general refers to “the delivery of and payment for legal services exclusively or nearly exclusively through the law firms portal on a website.”

We received a copy of the CA State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct’s findings on this issue.  Very interesting!

The Committee’s findings included the following discussion:

“As a result of ever increasing innovations in technology, the world has moved significantly toward internet communications – through email, chats, blogs, social networking sites and message boards.  The legal services industry has not been untouched by they innovations and the use of technology, including the internet, is becoming more common and even necessary, in the provision of legal services.  Consistent with this trend, and with the benefits of convenience, flexibility, and cost reduction, the provision of legal services via a VLO has started to emerge as an increasingly viable vehicle in which to deliver accessible and affordable legal services to the general public.“ Formal Opinion No. 2012-184

For those in the workspace industry in CA this is great news to further enhance our already fantastic relationship with those business that provide legal services.  In fact, we have seen recently the introduction of Attorney specific work places that provide cubicles for attorneys rather than the traditional corner window office, many of us imagine this subset of clientele requires.   As workspace providers we need to stay current with the technology options that will make us even better partners with VLO attorneys.

We have seen other states recently, Virginia comes to mind, that have found that the attorneys must practice in an office setting.  I suspect there are others as well that prefer to mandate a more traditional approach, but it will be interesting to see if the ‘benefits of convenience, flexibility and cost reduction’ that CA recognizes, doesn’t draw other states to the same conclusion; that embracing technology rather than the ‘old ways’ will ultimately provide a better consumer experience for those needing legal counsel. Join our Workplace-as-a-Service™ LinkedIN Discussion Group for more data-driven discussions with our community of workspace providers, one chewable data-bite at a time.

CloudVO™ Analysis Team

It’s Earth Day Everyday In The Workspace-as-a-Service Industry

How On-Demand Workspace Providers help save 121,00 tons of CO2 annually!

How On-Demand Workspace Providers help save 121,00 tons of CO2 annually!

CO2 Emission Reduction

Yesterday was Earth Day 2014. This was a good day for each of us to spend a few minutes taking stock of the role we play in protecting the earth and its resources.  Or, in some cases, recognizing that we are not paying enough attention to being good stewards of our precious planet.  There is always room for improvement, but we have some good news for our Workspace-as-a-Service colleagues.

Continue reading “It’s Earth Day Everyday In The Workspace-as-a-Service Industry”