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Office provider gets creative

April 2015 | SCMP

While the popularity of services offices has been growing exponentially, awareness of the advantages of virtual offices hasn't caught up with this development.

“Not that many people know what a virtual office is and how it can help grow the business,” says Simon Smith, vice-president, virtual offices at Servcorp. “We have data to suggest that our [virtual office] clients' businesses are more likely to succeed than similar businesses.” Smith is in Hong Kong from the Sydney head office, working on how to take the serviced office concept to the next level.

Virtual offices are generally used by people who need a business address for the company's registered and mailing address because they work from home or in clients' offices most of the time. They can benefit from a prestigious address and a phone number which is answered professionally with the company name, while other advantages are also offered with expanded packages.

Company looks at bundling services to raise appeal

Although virtual office packages are modestly priced, they can provide an important revenue stream for the company. According to Smith, they provide about 25 per cent of the revenue in the case of Servcorp, which has more than 20,000 virtual office clients globally.

Since more people are becoming self-employed entrepreneurs and serviced offices expect their virtual office segment to grow, Servcorp is working on making packages more attractive.

“We are experimenting with adding new packages and looking at how to bundle services to increase appeal,” says Smith, who was previously an eBay executive in Sydney for more than eight years.

The company is experimenting with top-of-the-line co-working office space in their latest business centre in New York's World Trade Center to make use of this trend, and has also been creating “ better business lounges”, as Smith puts it, in its properties, It is offering more business lounge user time to virtual office members. In Hong Kong, its virtual office package includes three hours of complimentary access to business lounges worldwide. This includes complimentary use of a day suite in any other city for three days a month, targeting business people who have to travel a lot.

The company is considering prepaid cards from which payment can be deducted according to usage worldwide. Meeting rooms and personal assistant services are also available for booking on a pay-as-you-use basis, charged in 10-minute increments.

Smith says another edge will be the IT service offered to virtual office clients. “People have greater expectations of IT systems, and we are an internet service provider with our own cloud and network,” he says, adding that 100 staff work around the clock globally at their IT help desk.

Servcorp has apps to directly book meeting rooms, and the OneFone service, which allows business travellers to use the same phone number anywhere in the world on a wireless service with competitive rates.

Servcorp's business lounge in the Hong Kong Club Building is popular.