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Accor joins co-working scene

Image: Accor
Image: Accor

There is more movement in the increasingly crowded ‘co-working’ domain. Accor Hotels, owner of brands such as Ibis, Mercure, Novotel, Sofitel… has announced plans to open WOJO, 1200 coworking spaces in under 3 years. The move is in line with the company's augmented hospitality strategy and seeks to make WOJO, a joint-venture between Accor and Bouygues Immobilier, created in July 2017, the leading co-working brand in Europe by 2022. The WOJO co-working spaces will be launched within Accor hotels worldwide with different offerings, across all segments (economy, mid-scale and luxury segments).

Stephane Bensimon, CEO WOJO: “As we are directly in touch with companies and workers on a daily basis we have a thorough understanding of their needs and expectations in the workspace. A personalized welcome, premium services, a friendly atmosphere and designer spaces are all essential features covered by our expertise. Through our new range of spaces, we are now able to meet a key customer need: combining the quality of work life with mobility. WOJO will offer three different products and experiences to deliver the broadest range of co-working solutions in the industry.”

There is no word yet on actual locations, but Accor has hotels or partner hotels in 42 Belgian cities. It is certainly unlikely to miss out on hotspots such as Brussels and Antwerp at the very least.

Looking at all this from a distance, and using Belgium as an example ( a pertinent example because this is where Regus started…), the market is attracting more players. At the start, there were the pure players such as Regus, renting other people’s existing offices and sub-letting them in his innovative way. Then these players moved away from traditional offices only and started opening in transit zones – railway stations and hotels. Then the office developers and owners themselves moved in – such as Befimmo with its agreement with ‘pure player’ Silversquare’. And now another ‘transit zone’ is making an entry – hotel operators. Within this context, the thoughts of Franck Gervais CEO Accor Europe, are more than pertinent: “We have the assets (brands, spaces, teams), we have the services (restaurants, bars, meeting spaces) and we are open 24/7. By participating in WOJO’s ambitious development, we are optimizing the use of these assets and are creating value for our owners by being open to a new type of customer, i.e. co-workers.”
Tim Harrup

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