Think of a Members Club and what springs to mind? Images of men engrossed in broadsheet newspapers, perhaps, or old-fashioned business types sealing deals over whisky and cigars. Whatever your mental image of members clubs might be, it likely seems at odds with the modern, digital world of startups and entrepreneurs. But thanks to some cool new concepts, members clubs and virtual offices are evolving to cater for the next generation.
Right now, co-working spaces are all the rage – particularly with startups looking for a professional, creative place to work from without all the expense of traditional office hire. These spaces are cropping up everywhere from London to Berlin, covering everything from basic warehouses to outlandish hubs with hundreds of desks, fitness centres and swimming pools. But increasing numbers of people are looking for something a little more refined to give their business an exclusive edge – and that’s where the new breed of members clubs come in. Shaking off their fusty image, many clubs now offer all the benefits of a co-working space combined with the exclusivity of an elite address.
In order to appeal to a younger audience, many members clubs in London and New York, for example, are starting to offer lower tariffs to make them more affordable to startups and new ventures. For a monthly or annual fee, members can access facilities such as meeting rooms, gourmet restaurants and designer workspaces – perfect for wowing potential clients and mingling with the cities’ most successful business brains.
Traditionally, members clubs were conceived as spaces where the business elite could spend a few hours socialising and enjoying the exclusive atmosphere, but more and more clubs are transforming into spaces where you can just as easily settle down for an afternoon’s work as sip cocktails in the members bar. And although the joining fees are often high compared to coworking spaces, the extra benefits enjoyed by members can often justify the expense.
As well as high-end facilities such as state-of-the-art multimedia rooms, guest bedrooms and screening rooms, some, such as our partner the Union Club in Soho, offer a virtual office address service to their members. This means that any members can have all their correspondence forwarded via an exclusive city address – even if most of their work is done from their spare bedroom at home! It’s proving a huge hit with new businesses wanting to create a professional image for their venture – just another example of how members clubs are evolving to cater to modern tastes.