Your Flexible Workspace Business – Driven by Data

By Lucy Allen
05.08.19 ·

While more operators enter the market and competition heats up, what does this mean for existing operators and seasoned players? They must compete harder than ever before and keep a sharp eye on core business metrics that determine their success. The coworking industry is experiencing a growth of national and international brands expanding to their multi-site flexible workspace portfolio, creating greater need for enterprise-grade reporting.

Here we outline the importance of multi-site reporting, space occupancy dynamics and other metrics that are vital to sustain, grow and predict the future of a scaling coworking space business.

Know Your Numbers to Keep One Step Ahead

More and more SMB and corporate companies are embracing flexible and coworking spaces while the number of start-ups, freelancers, and remote workers continue to consume space-as-a-service products. With the growing real estate footprint of shared office space, come new market competitors such as commercial real estate giants, property management companies, and hobbyist coworking operators. With this amount of competition, it’s more important than ever to keep track of business performance using data analytics. Insight from advanced reporting not only aids smart-driven strategy decisions but can also give you an edge against competitors and deliver an excellent member experience across your workspace portfolio.

Executing business decisions based on information from data and numbers will guide you to perform better, retain more customers, and help you allocate your budget more intelligently. Having a 360-degree view of your operation and workspace portfolio helps operators to make intelligent business decisions that result in slick-running and profitable shared workspaces. It also allows you to get closer to your tenants and understand them better by identifying consumption trends with real-time and accurate insights. Read on for a selection of reports that can make your workspace more efficient, support fundamental business decisions, and allow you to tailor customer value propositions.

Drive Value with Occupancy Rates

The primary revenue driving force for your workspace is occupancy rate which can be evaluated by both space and workstation. It’s fundamental to have a report showing both current occupancy and forecasted occupancy to identify whether you need to undertake a demand-generation campaign for unused space. A good benchmark for success is when monthly rent constitutes 80% of your total workspace revenue. In our experience and working closely with operators, we’ve found that most operators are profitable at an occupancy of between 80 and 85%.

Once you reach maximum occupancy, extending additional services is an organic way of increasing wallet share and new revenue streams from customers already in your space. Most tenants will find it easier and more convenient to purchase all their business needs from a single provider, through a single relationship and invoice. Understanding service consumption trends via cross-site reporting capabilities is critical in developing a strategy to upsell and cross sell services to your members.

Keep Track of Rent Renewals

Equally important as occupancy reports is keeping an eye on when rent renewals are due and what rates are being charged to each tenant. With rent renewal reports you can track how your renewal rates are fluctuating. If they are increasing (or decreasing) over time, it may speak to a more significant trend of your overall workspace rental prices and the need to take a deeper look at how the market is impacting pricing and your overall customer base. You will also be able to compare renewal rates across multiple sites, providing insight into other spaces across your portfolio that you can offer to renewing customers.

Spot Revenue Leakage

Revenue reports that show total contracted revenue against actual revenue on a monthly basis are critical to the health of your organization. If the two numbers don’t match, you’re leaking revenue from somewhere. In these cases, check your discounts and make sure you’re not giving the farm away. If your sales team are discounting your offices just to get them rented, you may be losing more revenue potential than if you hold out until the market improves or a prospect comes along who is willing to pay the full price value of the space.

When it comes to the finances, if you’re not an experienced CFO, financial controller or bookkeeper, the task can become daunting. To make the job a lot easier, operators must seek automation, integration, real-time information, data integrity, and the ability to track services and payments. These capabilities can be leveraged with a comprehensive workspace management platform.

Make the Most Out of Your Meeting Rooms

Understanding meeting room usage is essential in any flexible workspace as it allows you to spot opportunities for extra revenue and the necessity to push a marketing campaign where meeting rooms are unoccupied. Reporting on which customers are using your services and how much they are consuming will allow you to target customers and upsell your services. For example, a non-resident client who uses the same meeting room at the same time every week could potentially be converted into a resident client.

Identify the Money Makers

Keep a keen eye on total spend from your various product groups and compare month on month sales to identify the most popular products and services consumed. From private office tenants and meeting rooms to virtual and resident members, you must have a view of how your product offerings are performing over time. This will give you valuable insight about which products generate the most or least cash. It also lends insight into the need to repurpose a space during a period of time when it isn’t performing well to maintain profit levels.

From a bigger picture perspective, when you analyse your product groups over time, you may be encouraged to adjust your offering longer term to drive more income. The measure of supplementary services can serve as an indicator of how well your team is performing; if they are creating stickiness with your members and keeping them coming back to your workspace, your services revenue can quickly increase. Scrutinizing your data through real-time reporting can help identify where changes need to be made across your entire workspace portfolio.

Unlock Valuable Member Data

Wi-Fi stats and reporting captures member usage on the Wi-Fi networks, enabling operators with invaluable information and helping guide better business decisions.

The main benefit of Wi-Fi reporting is that it gives you greater visibility of data across your entire workspace portfolio. You can use this data to identify up-sell opportunities, tailor compelling propositions and improve both service performance and member experience based on usage trends. You can also prevent churn by identifying inactive members.

Identify users that have visited multiple sites across your portfolio or which sites are commonly visited together to understand user behaviour and help shape multi-site tenancy packages.

High-level and granular Wi-Fi usage stats help you see where your members are most connected in your workspace so you can improve occupancy rates and utilization. You can tailor your network infrastructure, products and services based on this data. This all has a knock-on effect to delivering a frictionless member experience and a stickiness with your products and services. Happy customers increase retention and occupancy rates, which in turn justify increased rates and greater profits for your business.

Create Bespoke Bandwidth Packages

Take advantage of bandwidth shaping to build custom bandwidth packages and gain greater control and visibility over IT services consumption. Use bandwidth graphs to analyse consumption trends and ensure you design the right bandwidth offerings for your customers, aiding better capacity planning for your members. With bandwidth reports you can drill down to specific customer and at a site level, giving you complete transparency over your workspace portfolio.

Knowing your customers’ needs and how they consume services is critical to being able to deliver an excellent in-space experience. With these insights you can tailor bandwidth services to meet specific tenant needs. For example, if a tenant is experiencing slow internet this may be because they are not on the right package for their bandwidth needs. This highlights an upsell opportunity for a dedicated bandwidth package, where other tenants can’t affect the internet speed, improving service performance across your site. It’s common for corporate tenants whose head count is upwards of 35-50 members to have specific, strict IT requirements. These tenants generally require dedicated and custom bandwidth packages that provide greater security and private traffic that can’t be accessed by other tenants.

Invest in Workspace Management Software

Successfully operating a shared workspace requires constant scrutiny of your entire real estate and business profile over time. Comparing your square footage and occupancy against actual performance gives you benchmarks for accountability and profitability. Metrics are a beacon that guides operators towards the future.

Collecting data, accessing insights and viewing reports doesn’t need to be a headache, nor should it be. Imports and exports from multiple systems and manual handling of data with spreadsheets falls short of providing the narrative required of how your customers interact within your space and consume products and services. Investing in a comprehensive software platform that not only performs daily administrative tasks, but also underpins the core levels of your business – sales and marketing, operations, finance – enables you to run your workspace with confidence and project your success into the future.

Data attained from your workspace management software can be used to estimate revenue goals, track real-time occupancy trends and help operators hold their staff accountable for performance. It seems obvious to say but visualizing your data in graphs and tables and reviewing it on a regular basis will guarantee a consistent bird’s eye view of how your coworking business and overall portfolio is running. Using a management tool saves time, removes manual tasks and most importantly allows you to focus on other important things such as member engagement and business growth.