Elevating mixed-use spaces: The crucial role of hospitality and technology in community management

Elevating mixed-use spaces: The crucial role of hospitality and technology in community management

Go to any gym, cafe, or hotel lobby in the city and we guarantee that you’ll spot a remote worker amongst the hustle and bustle, with a laptop, notebook, and coffee to accompany them. Empowered by hybrid working lifestyles, white-collar workers are regulars in mixed-use spaces – developments that seamlessly blend a range of activities, from working, living, eating, and exercising under one roof. 

Think – apartment living above a cool cafe and workspace, or a member’s club that accommodates a lounge, restaurant, gym, and yoga studio. Right now, mixed-use properties are on the rise, with ‘developments under construction in every major UK city,’ according to the University College of Estate Management. 

What makes mixed-use spaces even more popular is how they fuse a certain level of hospitality and community by bringing the right technology into the mix. Let’s explore this further.   

A strong community, that’s distributed.

Driving the demand forward for mixed-use space is the need for a holistic experience that promotes convenience. People are seeking spaces that meet their needs around flexibility, well-being, sustainability, and not least, a sense of belonging and community. 

As mixed-use spaces offer flexibility, the model forces no one to come in and so people come and go as they please. Take, the digital nomad who is hopping around a new city every few weeks. A solo traveller may stay in a coliving space to make connections, without the intention of staying there in the long term. 

Although this all-too-common example of coliving might indicate that the nomad isn’t going to be an intrinsic part of the community, a community manager, who’s role exists to gather people and forge connections, can work with a distributed community. All that’s needed is the right technology to bridge the gap between people in a physical space, and those accessing the virtual. 

Nexudus Virtual Rooms facilitate a level of community online with discussion board features that enable community managers to keep members in the loop about exciting news and events. These can be organised and booked through the Nexudus app too. People can easily meet one another on the app, whether they're looking to connect with someone with a particular skill set for a project, or they just want to introduce themselves to another traveller. 

The expectation for tech.

Here’s the thing about coliving spaces though – they’re not just spaces for people to stay in. Offering more than just accommodation, coliving spaces are being developed more frequently as mixed-use properties that incorporate cafes, workspaces, or leisure facilities, for instance, within the same building. 

Locke Hotels, for instance, provides several residential aparthotel accommodations on the upper floor, with the ground floor having a cafe workspace. Its position on high streets around London makes it more accessible for members of the public and locals as a third place to simply walk into and work. 

Since the pandemic, remote workers have been keenly attracted to the energy, spirit, and design of third places. In 2022, JLL reported that 36% of employees worked in a third place at least once a week. Hotel lobbies have transformed from what were once quiet spaces into buzzing hives of activity, under a trend known as ‘lobby culture’ – which occurs in “a dynamic, multifunctional space, where people can stay, work, eat and drink, and socialise,” says hospitality expert, Ian Minor. The benefits of opening hotel doors to the public has led to “a massive revenue stream” from local visitors. 

In some residential developments, like at Locke Hotels, the lobby concept has been ditched altogether in favour of a cafe/workspace. The receptionist has gone too, with a coffee barista or community manager taking their place – who is friendly and welcoming by nature. They set the tone when people walk through the doors, and when that’s done well, it produces the perfect scenario for locals to come back again and again. It builds community. 

Whether a mixed-use development hosts remote workers in a cafe environment or a hotel lobby space, there is an expectation for high-quality technology amenities whatever the space, including super-fast WIFI and plug sockets. Some hotels even go so far as to incorporate meeting rooms or phone booths. After all, who wants to take a phone call when there’s a lot of background noise? 

Making these amenities bookable is convenient. For the user, the experience is seamless and more positive. They don’t even have to be in the space itself to book a room or booth, making it handy for their work day. Teams who live locally might even pop in just to use these facilities. Meanwhile, for the operator, the ability to gather data to better understand who users are and at what times they come in helps consistently make business improvements and scale up faster.  

Part of the club.

More than just a workspace, a bar, hotel rooms, a restaurant, or a gym, members' clubs operate across a range of functions that suit the lifestyle of their target audience. Unlike a mixed-use coliving space where a resident might not come back for a year or two, members' clubs exist to bring the same people back day after day. After all, customers are paying a monthly premium to be part of that club.   

Members clubs are all about ‘offering a feeling of belonging,’ says Claire Reynolds, Co-Head of Prime Central London, Savills. It’s where “the staff knows your name, the newspaper you read, and what you like to drink.” It’s not only about the high level of hospitality on offer, members clubs attract a like-minded group of people, so the essence of community, that feeling of belonging is very important too.

Typically, members are nominated and a network between the community has already been established. There are plenty of activities to join to get to know people better too. Utilising technology enhances the level of hospitality and community in members' clubs. 

Smart technology, for example, can change the function of a mixed-use space. For instance, in some lounges, the lights automatically dim at 5 pm to indicate the end of the working day and the beginning of the evening. The space transforms from a workspace into a bar. 

Technology also facilitates sales. Nexudus CRM supports operators across the entire customer lifecycle so that, from the moment someone books a tour of the space, the CRM manages the opportunity to sell and upsell across the customer journey. This can make teams a lot leaner, and allow for more attention to detail spent on hospitality and customer service.

The bottom line.

As mixed-use developments continue to grow in popularity, merging visitors with locals through a high level of hospitality, and community, in whatever way the space functions, is really important. Technology too, is key to facilitating frictionless experiences that bring people together, whether that’s in a physical way or a more distributed manner, all while providing excellent customer service. This essential combination is really powerful in enabling operators to scale and grow across the world.

At Nexudus, we’re passionate about creating fully customisable, easy-to-integrate software that manages your entire space - from reception to rooftop. For over 11 years, our award-winning tech has helped workspace owners and operators be more efficient, provide users with an unforgettable experience and gather advanced analytics for better decision-making. Discover how we can help you today.

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