Skift Take

With the return of business travelers to the skies, more flexible office providers are honing in on airports as havens for remote workers.

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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“We’re not a WeWork,” the boss of Delta Air Lines’ Sky Clubs once famously said, as the airline began capping the amount of time passengers could stay in its airport lounges.

That could be about to change.

Airports continue to transform as they keep up with new post-pandemic travel trends, including the rise of blended travel. Airport hotels, for example, are becoming more popular meeting venues for companies with geographically diverse teams.

But now co-working is set to feature more prominently, as flexible office platforms and lounge operators capitalize on corporate work-from-anywhere policies. And the number of flexible workspaces located in airports has already grown 83 percent year-on-year since the end of 2021, according to data and analytics platform CoworkIntel.

Now Departing

One of the biggest players, IWG, has just opened its second Spaces co-work venue at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, as part of the Lounge 1 redevelopment. There are six working areas, four meeting rooms and spaces for 100 people.

It’s designed for transfer passengers who need to work while they are waiting for connecting flights, as well as people working nearby. IWG said it had ambitious plans for growth and was delivering that by scaling up the variety of locations it operates.

To date it has nearly 50 hybrid workspaces in or close to airports across the world. That includes hubs including Los Angeles, London’s Heathrow, Berlin, Sydney and Tokyo, as well as Schiphol, but there are smaller locations like Geneva, Abu Dhabi, Accra, Munich and Bordeaux.

“We are seeing rapidly growing demand for hybrid working solutions with today’s worker wanting to stay productive no matter where they are,” said Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG. “The Spaces Lounge at Schiphol Airport is a good example of the work we are doing to provide high quality hybrid workspaces where people need them.”

IWG plans to add 1,000 locations over the next year.

Hub Focus

Rival WeWork is also keeping an eye on work-from-anywhere trends.

“We’ve seen a behavioral shift in where and when people work as the proliferation of workcations continues,” said a WeWork spokesperson. “We are seeing this trend contribute to the growth of our monthly subscription product, with All Access bookings growing 79 percent year-to-date and our pay-as-you-go product On Demand bookings growing 171 percent”.

It was also seeing the greatest demand for flexible workspace continue to come from major metropolitan areas which are closer to major hubs of transportation like airports.

Lounge operator Plaza Premium Group, meanwhile, recently launched “Their Patio” at Dubai International Airport, which combines the “work from anywhere” with “co-working space” concepts. “We see a behavioral switch from just business to ‘bleisure’ (business and leisure) travel happening,” it said.

The company also said it was looking for new opportunities to cater to this new travel segment, and was transforming its lounge experience accordingly.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, will be speaking at Skift Global Forum East in Dubai on Dec. 15.

Sidenotes

After selling lifestyle brand Vienna House to Wyndham for $44 million, HR Group Berlin has been busy filling the void; it’s just opened a new hotel.

Its Revo division even developed a concept for it, “tribrid hotel living,” which it says blends “hospitality, living and social ambition.”

The 607-room Revo Munich opened in Munich-Neuperlach this week. It’s one of the largest buildings in the city, and the idea is that business and leisure guests can choose from flexible short and long-stay travel when they check into its apartments or studios.

“City living the way you want it,” says the company, claiming it is offering a glimpse of what the future of traveling, living and working will look like.

It certainly wraps up a lot of the popular lifestyle themes. “The Italian restaurant, the bar, the concept store, social staircase, the gym and the garden, among other things, will be open to the public,” said general manager Carla Lopes. Some social spaces like the “theatre, library, gaming and illusions” are reserved for guests however. Longer stay guests can book a workspace in the “Work and Meet” area providing privacy and a home office at the same time.

It suggests long-stay tourists, weekend visitors, overseas students and academics, local entrepreneurs and business owners are all viable markets. What would hybrid hospitality startups like Zoku, Selina and The Student Hotel make of it all? Will “tribid” catch on, or miss the mark by marketing to too many demographics? Either way, it’s a strong contender for the Travel Buzzwords Skift Loves to Hate.

10-Second Corporate Travel Catch-Up

Who and what Skift has covered over the past week: American Airlines, American Express Global Business Travel, Capital A, Delta Air Lines, EasyJet, Hertz, Oyo, Standard International, sustainable aviation fuel, TravelPerk, Travelport, TripActions.

In Brief

Amex GBT Reins In Out-of-Policy Bookings

Off-channel or “leakage” bookings continue to annoy travel managers, as employees go their own way to book their business trips. Now one company that specializes in tracking them has teamed up with American Express Global Business Travel. Dallas-based travel tech company Traxo is now running a pilot with the travel agency. It can automatically capture out-of-channel booking data, and bring it back into the travel management company’s systems.

“By bringing out-of-policy bookings back into the Amex GBT marketplace, travel managers can better understand what travelers are booking and improve visibility into total travel spend,” said Mark McSpadden, Amex GBT’s vice president of product strategy and user experience.

As well as capturing potential spend savings, Traxo says it helps to keep an eye on any safety blind spots. “Locating a traveler during a period of disruption is a risk management concern for companies of all sizes, in all industries, around the world,” said Traxo CEO and founder Andres Fabris. “When bookings are made ‘off-channel,’ they are invisible to the reporting tools and systems typically used by corporate travel managers.

Global Business Travel Association Steps Up Sustainability Efforts With Alliance

Hot off the heels of its inaugural Sustainability Summit, the Global Business Travel Association has formed a partnership with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. One of the challenges both organizations want to tackle is the lack of transparent sustainability data. They want to drive the uptake of a consistent approach to carbon measurement for the accommodation sector through the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, developed by the alliance.

“Harmonizing the way emissions are measured on an industry-wide, global scale is critical to allow corporations to effectively calculate and compare emissions from their hotel stays,” said Delphine Millot, senior vice president of sustainability at the Global Business Travel Association.

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Tags: airports, american express global business travel, business travel, corporate travel, delta air lines, dubai, Future of Work Briefing, gbta, iwg, remote work, sgfe2022, wework

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