Skift Take

Why this year should be about seeking out new networking partnerships, as well as creating better spaces.

Series: Future of Work

Future of Work

As organizations start to embrace distributed work and virtual meetings, the corporate travel and meetings sectors are preparing for change. Read Skift’s ongoing coverage of this shift in business travel behavior through the lens of both brands and consumers.

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Hotels could soon find themselves competing with shops for their share of distributed workforces, as flexible workplace provider IWG trials a new concept in Napa Valley, California. “We’re trying to utilize retail space, and incorporate places to work within a bigger retail setup. It depends on the type of shop, but we’re trialing things,” Simon Loh, its chief operating officer, UK, told Skift. IWG, which owns brands including Regus and Spaces, has taken on 500,000 new members in the past six months. Now it needs to test new models to meet new demands, and hotels should watch carefully. Part of IWG's effort centers around creating safe working environments. While it's already offering Covid testing pods at some locations, it goes further than medical needs. It has now acquired a majority investment in The Wing, a community and co-working space company designed for women. [caption id="attachment_423287" align="alignright" width="300"] IWG operates Basepoint Business Centres in the UK.[/caption] “It’s a membership lounge, so a slightly different business model," Loh said. "Our aim is to scale that business … We’ve put our markers down on a few things. The Wing is all about female networking, and having that space to collaborate, and do it safely, that’s front of mind for us." And as some brands, including Selina, start promoting the social side of their properties, Loh said this was also a challenge IGW faced: “In today’s world, how do we facilitate that, in a way that works for more people.