Hotels are increasingly creating lobbies and common spaces that are destinations for guests and locals seeking a quiet place to meet, sit, and increasingly, work.

This is according to the New York Times, which reports that some hotels are responding to the rise of co-working spaces like WeWork and the work-travel ‘program’ Remote Year.

In spaces like Ace Hotel in New York, the trend has emerged naturally, explained Aytan Litwin, Founder and CEO of White Space, a design company focusing on commercial and hospitality spaces.

“The trend emerged organically and accidentally,” he told the Times. “The [Ace Hotel] lobby seemed to be perpetually full with people talking, drinking, and working.” It didn’t set out to create a co-working space, because the term didn’t exist, but the hotel didn’t kick these people out. Instead it expanded with lots of outlets to cater to a creative, digitally nomadic crowd.

The benefit is clear: the more locals that come and populate the hotel’s public spaces, the more it feels like the locality that guests are visiting. Authenticity is increasingly attractive to travellers now.

“What we wanted was for our lobbies to act as community gathering spaces and designed them with that in mind,” said Kelly Sawdon, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Ace Hotels.

The trend has expanded globally with firms like Link in Tel Aviv, Ryse Hotel in Seoul, and Graduate Hotels based in US college towns. Then Marriott, noticing the trend, launched Moxy in 2013 to focus on open-plan working areas and smaller guest rooms. The brand is now working on 80 sites globally.

The decision, according to Toni Stoecki, Global Brand Leader and VP for distinctive selection brand at the company, was driven by a growth in co-working and proprietary consumer insight.

“In many cases, solo travel would meaning working in a guest room, maybe hanging in the bar,” Mr. Stoecki said. “But even if you’re alone, you want to be alone together, ideally making connections with locals that are actually hanging out in that public space.”

The strategy seems to be working – the Moxy brand is growing more than four times as fast as the rest of the Marriott International Portfolio.

Elsewhere, hotels such as Amsterdam-based Zoku offer short-stay apartments. “It’s a new category in the hotel industry,” said Hans Meyer, co-founder of Zoku. “It’s a hybrid between a home and office with hotel services.”

Sourced from the New York Times