It used to be that “co-living” meant sharing a one-bathroom house with 20 fraternity members or fellow summer interns. There was little privacy, minimal amenities and the only positive was that you were saving money to upgrade to something better.
Those days are gone. The co-living (and co-working) concept has “grown up” and evolved into something chic and sophisticated. This is especially evident as the concept becomes part of the already diverse extended stay space. More and more, properties are offering travelers the opportunity to socialize and eat meals together while also offering them their own private bedrooms and bathrooms. But how did co-living come to the sector.
With the advent of disruptors like Airbnb, traditional and alternative accommodation providers alike have had to adapt quickly to stay relevant in the face of change while also shifting to meet the modern traveler’s demands. And today’s savvy business travelers are demanding more as they move from concepts like work-life balance, which has proven enigmatic at best, to work-life alignment – a more holistic approach to life that includes the often-necessary business travel.
Co-living experiences offer enriching opportunities for travelers who are no longer content to wait for the weekend to embrace life. Instead, modern travelers are willing to risk the discomfort of the unfamiliar to experience more satisfaction and meaning in the moment. Further, these communal experiences could be the answer to some of the common problems that plague business travel like loneliness, anxiety, stress, poor nutrition and reduced activity. A quick Google search yields over 14 million hits on combatting loneliness while on business travel alone, and herein lies one of the greatest potential benefits to co-living – offering business travelers options for privacy and time to recharge in a variety of ways including group yoga, family-style dining, or urban bike excursions.
While it remains to be seen how successful these co-living concepts will be in the long run, what we do see are the many benefits of the concept to our guests, along with the ingenuity of the sector to embrace change and remain sustainable. New operating models provide an upside for existing operators too - new revenue opportunities, better guest experience, and innovative product offerings that propel the sector to new heights.