Musical Chairs

Be Their Guest

Hoteling started about five years ago, spearheaded by professional services companies such as the major accounting firms. The innovators tended to have big hoteling facilities, warehouse-sized blocks of desks with bustling concierges upfront directing workers to their temporary locations, funneling messages to the right phones and otherwise keeping things under control. More recently, operators have been reconfiguring their facilities to offer hoteling-like arrangements to a wide variety of customers.

Most early users reported success with the tactic. That, combined with rising real estate costs and falling prices for information technology, have made hoteling one of the hottest current concepts in facilities planning and management, says Hammer.

"We probably haven't had a client in the last five years who hasn't asked about the concept," says Hammer. What companies researching hoteling are finding is a technique that offers alluring cost savings--but only for those who master its intricacies.

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Musical Chairs.

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