Flexible workplace solutions, value added hospitality-driven services from Convene. An interview with Elliot Sparsis, Head of UK, Convene.

We continue to see the benefits of a flexible workplace and an elevated experience offering. 

We caught up with Elliot Sparsis, Head of UK, Convene to discuss Convene's approach to catering for class A Landlords.

1 – How is flexible working shaping the value proposition of your events space?

In a post-COVID world, employees continue to demand workplace flexibility and so hybrid work is cementing its position as the new standard.  As a result, companies seek creative and collaborative ways to bring teams together in person and are willing to invest in outsourcing the delivery of an elevated experience worth leaving home for.  While individual work can be done anywhere, technology can’t substitute for the magic that happens when you are physically in the same place, which leads Convene to believe that the workplace of the future is a meeting space.  In fact, we’ve seen a nearly 70% year-over-year increase in demand for our premium corporate meeting and event spaces; we expect the adoption rate to continue to grow in 2023.

2 – In the UK, is your co-working offering a sideshow to the event space offering, or a significant part of your business plan? And how does that differ to the US?

Convene was founded in New York City in 2009 to initially serve as a premium provider of corporate meetings and events.  In 2018, the company expanded its offerings to include flexible workspace solutions in response to client demand – our high-end design, professional atmosphere, and hospitality-driven services resonated with users of the space and it was a logical next step to expand into becoming a flexible workplace provider.  Last year, Convene opened its first UK location, 22 Bishopsgate in London, and we recently announced the acquisition of etc.venues, which adds 16 new meeting and event locations to our global network – 13 of which are across the UK.  As we cultivate our business in this new market, we are continuously evaluating the best ways in which to serve our local clientele and will grow our product offerings in the UK accordingly.

3 – What is Convene’s offering to UK landlords over the next 12 months?

As a hospitality company that designs and manages premium meeting, event, and flexible office spaces, Convene can be a value-add for both building landlords and tenants.  We are partnering with Class A landlords to help them amenitize – and monetize – their commercial real estate assets, increasing attractiveness for occupiers; going back to the idea of employees demanding workplace flexibility and companies investing in elevated experiences that bring people together, to accommodate this shift landlords are rethinking buildings to be more of an integrated ecosystem.  At 22 Bishopsgate, we’ve already seen this model prove successful – 80% of tenants are utilizing the in-building Convene offering for their meeting and event needs and have, in turn, been able to take an average of 5% less square-footage for their independent needs.

4 – Where do you plan on expanding to next? And what do you see the UK offering being in five years?

As I mentioned earlier, we just completed the acquisition of etc.venues, which we’re very excited about.  etc.venues is a leading provider of events, training, and conference venues with 16 locations across London, Manchester, Birmingham, and New York City; with this addition, Convene now has a global portfolio of nearly 40 venues.  While our focus right now is on learning from each other and integrating these two best-in-class companies in order to best support clients and maximize operational efficiencies, we also have our sights set on additional expansion opportunities throughout the UK and key European destinations, as well as across the U.S. and into Canada.

About SPACE+

SPACE+ is a global collective of progressive and alternative property leaders. Our members have access to all SPACE+ live real estate events and unique content. Our live property events – both virtual and physical – are enjoyed by those who thrive in creative environments. www.space-plus.org

SPACE UK, now on it’s 4th edition, will be taking place on 10th November at exciting new venue Convene, Bishopsgate in London.  It is now regarded as the UK’s premier property event – thoughtfully curated, with meaningful engagement and is the flagship UK event of SPACE+.

Notable for its human-centric focus, 50% female Co-Hosts, creation of industry ‘Tribes’ and unique venues, SPACE+ events are increasingly seen as the ‘new school’ of the property industry.

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