Google Trips Up Coworking Spaces with New GMB Guidelines
In early-February, Google announced new guidelines for Google My Business (GMB), a tool to promote your Business Profile and website on Google Search and Maps.
GMB is a useful tool for workspace operators as it allows you to share details and videos, post updates, connect with customers and see how people interact with your business on Google.
GMB enables workspace operators to list their business and (though not without glitches) it previously allowed member companies within spaces to list their business, a significant driver of virtual memberships.
Not so anymore.
Google recently tripped up coworking space operators with new GMB guidelines aimed at shared workspaces, stating the following:
Businesses can’t list an office at a co-working space unless that office:
- Maintains clear signage
- Receives customers at the location during business hours
- Is staffed during business hours by your business staff
This impacts all coworking spaces and could have a particularly negative effect on those that rely heavily on virtual mail and memberships.
As Hector Kolonas, founder of included.co and co-founder of Syncaroo, explains, “At the very least, this will require a change in messaging, rules and guidelines for many virtual office providers.” He continues, “At the worst, this could deal another blow to coworking spaces (and flex workspace providers) who’ve been leveraging virtual office products to stay afloat during the pandemic and its lockdowns.”
But this can provide a real opportunity for you and is clear information for your members. Here are a few things you can offer as additional products/services for your virtual plans:
- Directory board near your front door (Satellite Workplaces charge $20/month for directory board placement.)
- Reservation credits to use offices by the hour with virtual office plans. This way, your virtual members have an additional incentive to meet clients at the space
- Staffing packages: Offer a plan that greets members’ clients and dispenses information, verbal or written
We’re sure more ideas will come to you, but truly consider this an opportunity to offer more and increase revenue.