Portal to help businesses find services offices goes live

by Scott Douglas

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

A PIONEERING web portal for serviced offices has been launched in a move that is set to revolutionise the sector.

Cityoffices, created by the team behind the hugely successful Citylets brand for residential property, is transforming the way serviced offices are marketed.

The new portal means that for the first time businesses have a central database on which to view up-to-the-minute details of serviced offices to let.

Prospective tenants can also contact business centre managers direct rather than having to deal through a broker – saving them precious time and saving the centre managers costly commissions.

Thomas Ashdown, managing director of Cityoffices, said: “I was astonished at the length businesses had to go to in order to find suitable serviced office premises.

“There was no central online resource for office availability, just a list of business centres that you couldn’t even contact direct. When forced through the broker systems offered we were then inundated by calls from centre managers who clearly hadn’t been given accurate details of our requirements. It was just a waste of everyone’s time.

“But now Cityoffices.com offers those searching for premises both transparency on office availability and services plus the means to contact providers direct. It’s a much simpler process as it should be- the procurement of serviced offices is generally very straightforward and easy move ins are part of their appeal.

“We have been offering the same service in the residential sector through Citylets for years and I’m delighted to have introduced this model to the office sector. Our subscription based charging is a sea change for Business Centre managers but I am confident that when the cost savings become apparent it will be embraced as their preferred way of marketing.

“Additionally, their leads will now be highly targeted coming direct from prospective tenants about office units which they know to be available. The days of high volume, low conversion prospective enquiries are over.

“Our portal will be a relative delight to consumers too with photographs, detailed descriptions of premises at a glance and in many cases Virtual Tours – as has been the case in residential lettings for years.

“The site also provides full listings on virtual office services and ad hoc facilities such as hot desks and meeting rooms- ideal for home workers wanting a more professional image or business execs needing to host meetings / work away from their own premises.”

The Cityoffices concept has been in development for 14 months and is now being pioneered in the key Scottish cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

It is the second property portal created by Thomas Ashdown, who set up the hugely successful residential portal Citylets in 1999 from home after graduating from Edinburgh University.

Since then Citylets has gone on to become the number one residential letting site in Scotland and has also expanded into the booming property markets of Northern Ireland.

Such has been the success of Citylets that Thomas is considering expansion to other cities across the UK and he believes that Cityoffices will experience similar success.

He added: “The bottom line is that Cityoffices, like Citylets before it, is filling a much needed gap in the sector by bringing businesses and business centre managers together in a transparent way.

“The serviced office sector in the UK is expanding and I believe Cityoffices.com will now play a key part in fuelling this growth. We believe there is a large number of people who are unaware of the benefits of serviced offices and the ease with which they can be acquired. We aim to reach various business sectors including home workers and offer them the chance to regain that work/life separation. I remember only too fondly the day I was able to reclaim space on my kitchen table!”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • A serviced office is business space provided on a flexible basis, the cost of which includes a comprehensive range of services. These two characteristics, flexibility and inclusive services, differentiate a serviced office from a conventional office lease.
  • Serviced offices mean business incur no hidden costs, such as maintenance or repair charges, making it easier to budget.
  • Research has shown that businesses can, on average, make a saving of 78 per cent on the cost of conventional offices.
  • The most recent research has shown there are around 900 Business Centres in the United Kingdom, providing 145,000 workstations, although this figure is now expected to be more than 200,000.
  • Although serviced offices only account for less than 1% of total office stock it is a growing market in the UK and further expansion is forecasted. For comparison, in the United States the serviced office market is more mature and accounts for 15% of total office stock.
  • ENDS

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