by Maor Cohen
It’s official – there are a bazillion coworking spaces. And as a result there are plenty of people who might be interested in coworking but are left confused. In this brand new jungle, people need a knowledgeable guide.
That’s where coworking space directories come in. Companies like LiquidSpace, ShareDesk, DesksNearMe, Pickspace and newcomers like Raaly are leading the charge by making the industry more approachable and personalized. No longer do people have to rely on word of mouth to find the right space. Now users are empowered to search, filter, receive information and book coworking spaces online via convenient and easy-to-use interfaces.
But since there are a bazillion coworking spaces, there are quite a number of coworking space directories. This has led to a fair amount of differentiation.
Some, like Raaly, and my company, Pickspace, try to push it one step further. Both companies offer exclusive discounts to their customers, and Pickspace has formed a star rating system which is defined and monitored by a group of industry experts.
However, end users are only one side of the story. Directories cannot make it in the market without providing value to both sides.
One example is ShareDesk Optix, ShareDesk’s space management platform which offers networking capabilities and payment handling. Pickspace’s Community App is another, an app that uses machine learning to enable coworking spaces to manage their community, leads, locations, and to update their prices on the directory. Systems like Pickboard and Pivotdesk’s Dashboard offer features that can only be provided by systems that have access to both end user data and coworking space data. Pricing suggestions – which help coworking spaces define an ideal price range – are but one example.
Aside from providing management tools for coworking spaces, some directories take the frontline in actual sales as well. One such way is via membership programs like the ones offered by Copass and Pickspace Card. Though there have been many early networks of coworking spaces, like as LExC, they have remained fairly small, and in general only large coworking brands have been able to offer access to multiple locations. Membership programs instead allow users to access multiple spaces in different locales for one single rate. For coworking spaces, this provides more reach and brings new people in the door.
Still other platforms have broadened their reach beyond just people looking for shared coworking space. LiquidSpace, ShareDesk and DeskNearMe enable the subletting of private offices on their platforms.
Like the evolution of the hotel industry, coworking directories are becoming the go-to solution for coworking space seekers. The ones with feature-rich, innovative platforms that service both coworking spaces and their potential members are the ones who will last. In the meantime they serve as market accelerators and all signs show they will continue playing a leading role in the industry’s growth for years to come.