Tushar Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO of HubbleHQ, the leading online marketplace for finding and renting office space in London joins Bold Founder, Caleb Parker, to talk about the changing demands for the office. Agarwal shares why the traditional office is dead using data to back up his claim, and explains how landlords should respond.
The discussion covers how remote work going mainstream has created a new type of demand for the hotelification of workspace, a potential new model of CRE management services that is similar to corporate travel agents, and why brand has never been more important in commercial real estate.
Questions in this episode
- First off, on your website you talk about Office Search Alchemy – what is that?
- Tell us about HubbleHQ and some stats on the amount of space, average size and number of enquiries/transactions you facilitate on your platform
- You harvest a lot of data. Can you share how you use the data and what you learn from it?
- As Hubble helps companies find office space, how has it been these last few months?
- What solutions are needed for a productive workforce?
- A lot of people have talked about the death of the office. But other people in CRE are predicting post pandemic demand to remain the same, but with less density in office footprints. Do you think people will pay for the same amount of space for less people?
- How would you define the post-covid office? What do you think the future office looks like?
- Now that remote working is mainstream do you think we’ll see a significant demand for daily, or even hourly bookings of work or meeting space?
- Will CRE agents end up looking like travel management companies?
Columbia Property Trust, A Manhattan landlord just took back control of a 155,000 sqft WeWork space.
Are landlords going to operate Space-as-a-Service themselves?
- The office as we know it is dead
- Over the last 2-4 years we’ve seen a shift in the market towards Space-as-a-Service
- Small businesses and large corporates who used to sign 5 year leases are now looking for managed solutions
- Average transaction size has gone from 3 people for 3 months to 20-30 people for 1 year
- Office search enquiries picked up 75% in May and June
- New demand is for a hybrid office solution
- Central HQ’s are still in demand, but with a smaller footprint
- 70% of people love working from home, but also want an office of some sort
- 41% of people want a quiet place to do focused work outside of their home
- The office of the future is solutions based
- People need choice
- There’s a difference between the “In-Covid” office and the “Post-Covid” office
- We’re going to the the unbundling of the office, and the hotelification of workspace
- When landlords and operators are making expensive decisions on how to design spaces, analysing multiple data points can help identify customer demand
- Enquiry to transaction data and list price to deal price is important to understand what customers want and are willing to pay
- If landlords want control of the future they will need to embrace Space-as-a-Service
- So we’ll see more landlords understand and respond to Space-as-a-Service as something that’s going to become mainstream
- Flexibility is needed but service is imperative to protect building valuations
- With Space-as-a-Service, creating a predictable experience that comes with a brand is what keeps paying customers in a building, not long leases.
- Generic spaces lack brand loyalty, consistency and a network effect.
- Specific brands add layers of service, attract the right mix of customers, and create new revenue lines.
- Selecting the right brand solution adds tremendous value by delivering a predictable customer experience, making the building attractive, and increasing asset value.
- To manage risk, many landlords will outsource hospitality and management to experienced Space-as-a-Service operators
Agarwal is co-founder and CEO of HubbleHQ, the leading online marketplace for finding and renting office space in London for fast growing companies and flexspace operators and landlords.
He studied economics at LSE and spent two years working in investment banking before launching HubbleHQ in 2014. He was Amazon’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2019. He has led Hubble’s growth as it has gone on to raise £6.4m over three rounds, from the likes JLL Spark, Pi Labs, Downing Ventures, Starwood Capital and Concrete.
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