In an exclusive interview with Travel and Tour World, Mr. Murray Clark, CEO and Founder of Neigbourgood talks about the importance of co-working spaces for MICE travellers and shares details on the unique brand-new co-working space Neighbourgood East City.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us something about Neighbourgood. What led to the creation of the unique co-living and co-working spaces?
Murray Clark: The world is changing. People are searching for more collaborative flexible all-inclusive living and working spaces that are both affordable and accessible. We recognized how the world’s biggest asset class was slow to change to the needs of the modern-day renter and we wanted to create a company that responded to the needs of what people actually need. Community centric living and working spaces across the city of Cape Town where you know your neighbour, where you appreciate the word good and what it means to society and where you can stay with us for a day or a year based on whatever you requirements are.
Travel And Tour World: Do you think co-working spaces hold a specific importance for MICE/business/corporate travellers?
Murray Clark: Absolutely. Business travellers from both small and large companies have the need for flexibility and a stimulating collaborative working environment and our product offers that. Because we also offer living spaces (short and long term) it is super convenient because when you stay with us you have access to our co-workspaces across the city. We also offer daily wellness events and activations, socials and an opportunity to meet with other like mined neighbours which encourage people to get to know each other and in a post-Covid world we believe that that’s really important. Authentic human connection.
Travel And Tour World: Share something about the latest hybrid co-living, co-working and hospitality concept in Cape Town Central Business District.
Murray Clark: Our East City location consists of 106 suites, a co-working space, members lounge, wellness area, ground floor café, a Barbour and is located within 100m from the famous Company Gardens and parliament itself. We offer space based on our customer demands (anything from 1 day to a year) and we layer your stay with us with access to our daily events and activations that speak to the core of who we are as a community brand. Our ground floor café (Bread Milk and Honey) is an institution in the area and is open every day for our guests to enjoy. Our workspace and common lounge areas are located on the first floor and offer a place for our members/guests to relax, watch a movie or just get some work done on a busy day. It also offers a shared kitchen which by design, bring people together as we believe cooking and sharing a meal around a table with friends is important part of what we stand for as a brand.
Travel And Tour World: Do you think the Neighbourgood East City will attract more MICE travellers to Cape Town CBD?
Murray Clark: Absolutely. We believe Neighbourgood East City is perfectly positioned within the city to offer MICE travellers a completely unique and authentic travel experience where you can live like a local Capetonian and meet other like-minded people from across the world. Our location is superb and our integrated living and working spaces offer a solution to the modern business traveller. The space is also both inviting and warm which is important to us from a culture perspective.
Travel And Tour World: What were the challenges faced by Neighbourgood due to the COVID-19 pandemic? How did the company overcome those challenges?
Murray Clark: Neighbourgood as a company was founded during the epidemic. Our model is defensive in that we can flex between both defensive long stay client requirements (3-6-9-12 month membership agreements) that offer stability and then as and when the market returns, short stay as well. At the moment, 70-80% of our spaces are filled with longer stay members (digital nomads and Cape Town locals) who are living with us at any one of our locations across the city. Our model is highly flexible and efficient which for us is an absolute necessity where space and traditional hospitality as we know it has changed forever.
Travel And Tour World: What does the future of co-living and co-working industry look like, especially in the post-pandemic world?
Murray Clark: We believe the future is GOOD! Whether you are 23 year old post graduate or a 35 year old professional we all seek community and a place where we can connect with other like-minded people. Both the co-living and working industry is synonymous for providing opportunities to collaborate and meet with people and so in a post pandemic world I believe the future of both industries is extremely bright.