The Business Centre Association (BCA) has announced the results of a recent study which surveyed member and non-member business centre and mail box operators across the country.
The BCA received 299 completed surveys as part of the project. Results have revealed some interesting, and positive, insights into the current state of the flexible office space industry which, overall, suggest that operators are feeling optimistic about their business prospects in 2012.
A number of highlights from the shared data include the fact that 93.7% of those surveyed selected ‘enquiry generation’ as the most ‘essential’ or ‘important’ issue from a list of pressing business concerns. The list also included ‘reducing client churn’, ‘increasing yield’ and ‘improving facilities / services’. Interestingly, ‘reducing client churn’ was voted as being ‘irrelevant’ by nearly 10% of operators, however this was far outvoted by those that considered it to be either significant, important or essential.
Operators also demonstrated a clear understanding that, in current economic conditions, the highest priority of their clients is in finding the best office deals. 72% of those surveyed said that ‘leaner pricing’ was the most important need of clients, far outranking other concerns including ‘additional services’ and ‘increased flexibility’.
In regards to the economy, 30% expected to see green roots on the horizon with 28% stating that they had already seen a pick up in conditions.
Finally, a majority vote suggested a positive industry outlook for the year; when asked if they expected their business to be more profitable in 2012 than during last year, 65% of those surveyed answered in the affirmative.
The overall results of the survey suggest that the business centre industry is identifying with their clients’ need for affordable pricing structures during a tough economy. Operators are also looking towards a positive pick up in economic conditions during this year and a subsequent increase in their own business profits.
The fact that operators are searching for more lead generation does not necessarily mean that they are seeing a drop in client interest, nor an increase in clients moving out of their premises. In fact, over 70% of those surveyed said that they were experiencing increased yields from client renewals, suggesting that existing clients are satisfied with the flexible office service they are receiving. 44% also stated that the most common reason for clients deciding to leave was due to that fact that they had ‘Outgrown space – moving to own / conventional space’. In the BCA’s conclusion of the survey results it was quite rightly pointed out that clients which are moving under these circumstances have been enabled to do so because of the flexibility and support that they have received from their business centre.
In keeping with the current trend for home and mobile working a substantial portion of companies opting to leave business centres were doing so to work at home. This does not necessarily spell bad news for business centres with 41% of operators reporting an increase in meeting room sales and a massive 68% reporting an increase in virtual office sales of 10% or more. A number of our blogs have shown that business centres are adapting to an increase in mobile working, as explored in our recent article The Popularity of Hot Desking: Interview with Airport House Business Centre.
Established in 1989, the BCA is a not-for-profit, member’s organisation which encourages, and helps to maintain, a high standard of professional business practice across the flexible office space sector in the UK, Dubai, Mexico and Florida. Visit the BCA at http://www.bca.uk.com/
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