The merits of coworking have been well-documented, but remote workers can’t always find spaces within travelling distance, they may be too expensive or are at full capacity.
Based in the Midlands but with a UK-wide reach, Dispace has partnered with every type of space – from bars and cafes to restaurants and hotel chains – to create affordable, on-demand and worker-friendly environments for digital nomads.
It’s worked with an eclectic mix of venues – everything from independent working members’ clubs like The Trinity in Burton Upon Trent – to established hotel chains such as Fuller’s and Great Northern Inns.
As its partnerships with venues grew, Dispace increasingly worked with coworking spaces to offer exclusive passes, as well as all-day private space hire for meetings and events. It was then that CEO and co-founder Ross Cox discovered a “broken system”.
“Seeing this process from a venue perspective, added to our team’s own experience in hospitality tech, helped us identify an opportunity,” says Cox. “Research shows us that – while roughly 73% of bookings made are for 30 delegates or less, making them perfect for smaller venues – the majority take place in large hotels and conference centres.
“Why? Because the current experience is characterised by offline processes, long lead times, value leakage, unclear pricing and, for venues, stacks of admin.”
Switch to a new space
In finding a solution, Dispace has taken its ethos of being creative with space and finding diverse ways to grow revenue to develop a real-time booking and event management tool called Switch.
Switch takes a holistic approach, allowing venues to automate several aspects of events management. They include the management of communications and providing live availability, booking, and dynamic pricing from a single system. It also offers growing integrations, allowing listings, third-party marketing and advertising to get more eyes on their spaces.
“As a company, we are excited about working even more closely with venues by implementing Switch to help them become more effective in generating enquiries, converting bookings and lowering the admin and non-value-add of running private hire space,” says Cox. “It will allow us to further build on the value we’ve created for venues.”
Switch will help Dispace build on the experience it has gained by collaborating with partners across the UK. One project saw it work with partner venue Works Social and PR business Big Old House to research the future of work and the average working day.
It has also collaborated on a podcast with members of its community across Nottingham and Birmingham, hosting guests including freelance charity consultant Sarah Gosling, and personal trainer and Brum radio host Dan Braithwaite. Another project saw Dispace work with Collaborative Futures, a social enterprise programme for 18 to 24-year-olds.
“It’s a project we’ve been very excited to be a part of as it gives young people work-experience with small businesses and freelancers,” says Cox. “They get the opportunity to build connections, find out the practicalities of working for themselves (or as part of a close-knit team) and look at potential opportunities suitable for their skills, or areas they may want to explore.”
Looking ahead to the future, Cox is confident that Dispace will be able to further grow its flexible working community, extending its reach by adding venues and fostering more collaboration between its members – all underpinned by his company’s new Switch solution.
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