Coworking: A Peek into the Future of Hospitality


Imagine a hotel where you book your actual room, when you first reserve space---similar to choosing a seat on an airline seating chart. The difference is that instead of choosing a window or an aisle, you choose high or low floors, close proximity to the elevators, your preferred bed configuration, and even your room category, depending on size and view: “Smart Street”, “Smart Garden” or “Smart Maisonette” (two-level suite). Welcome to the Hotel Schani in Vienna, Austria!

Know your room number on arrival

Then because you already know your room number, on arrival you can bypass registration and go directly to your room, where you will open the keyless door with your Hotel Schani Smartphone app. This system allows the hotel to provide greater personalization, because the staff knows, in advance, where everyone is staying. It is also exactly what the Millennials and Gen Zers are looking for; they can take care of every aspect of their reservation, check-in, and check-out processes without in-person contact. 

A working partnership

A partnership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering’s FutureHotel initiative at University of Stuttgart, the 135-room Schani has been open since April of 2015. The goal, which it seems is accomplished is to “create the most streamlined hotel user experience as possible---with the most opportunity for end-to-end, on-demand personalization as possible”---all of which can be controlled using mobile technologies.

Guests can choose amenities ahead of time

Though all of these systems are still in beta testing, future guests will eventually be able to choose---pre-arrival---different amenities they want delivered to their rooms at the tap of a screen. Of course, the purpose is a higher level of customization to build stronger relationship with the brand.

More staff time to enhance the guest experience

With the use of these innovative technologies, the Schani staff has more time to focus on their guests’ individual needs, freeing them to offer concierge duties, mostly expected at more expensive hotels. In addition, the Schani app provides a full array of destination content, aimed at a young, German-speaking web audience.

The hotel as coworking space

The next phase of “The Smart Hotel for the Modern Traveler” involves creating a dedicated coworking space in the lobby, rentable for both guests and locals, and connected to private, on-demand meeting and event spaces. Local members and paying guests can already create a user profile with both professional and personal information in Schani’s online Coworking Marketplace, that people can use to connect with others.

The future is here today

Similar to the arrangement at San Francisco’s Workshop Cafe and other coworking spaces around the world, expect to see more leading edge hotels, including the big brands, begin to offer coworking spaces. This trend goes hand-in-hand with the increase in the number of free agents. Anyone who has ever tried to work at a Starbucks or other coffee shop with the ambient noise will particularly appreciate this new type of working space.

Joyce Gioia


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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