Imagine a brand new world, where nobody owns anything. A world of shared vacation rentals, living and working spaces.
It`s already here. Co-living is the new buzzword in the hospitality industry and beyond.
Because millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 2000) are focused on building a global sharing economy. And they`re successful in their endeavors as it`s expected to reach an estimate of $335 billion by 2025, according to PwC research.
Co-living: what is it?
Ever moved to a new place for work only to find out that housing is overly expensive? Apart from your financial difficulties, your friends are far away and you`re lonely.
Co-living tries to solve these problems.
Simply put, it`s the trend of sharing space with other like-minded residents. The idea is to encourage interaction between the dwellers, who tend to be young entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other professionals with shared interests, goals, and values.
Who`s powering the co-living revolution?
Millennials move all the time. The world is open and flexible. Digital nomads and entrepreneurs can work from every corner of the world. Young professionals are not attached to places and local communities. They`re glued to the technology that allows them to travel and form new communities everywhere they go.
But if you`re running a co-living business, you already know that.
Co-living is a brand new and unexploited niche in the sharing economy. The latter is mainly powered by millennials, as the statistics show. Let`s step into their shoes and find out what drives them.
Keeping millennials happy: here`s how
Since millennials are the driving force behind the co-living movement, it`s fair to ask: what do they want?
Let me admit something: I`m a millennial. As such, I can tell you one thing: sometimes we don`t know what we want. Because we hate standing still. Here`s what I mean:
# Embracing change
Millennials are notorious for constantly changing jobs and houses. We like agility: from flexible working hours to the possibility to change roles and countries. If there`s one thing that we`re really afraid of, it would be stagnation. Because stagnation means boredom. And boredom is uninspiring.
But relocation means extra efforts in finding a home, furnishing, and proper maintenance services.
Want to please millennials? Provide an affordable and flexible living space with no strings attached.
# Invest in experiences
The American dream has changed. The new dream looks like that: own less, experience more. Our generation doesn`t care too much about material belongings. We prefer spending money on unique experiences like exotic road trips, far-fetched hikes, and expensive ski vacations. This is opening an untapped new market for caravan rentals and campings, and in an urban context, hostels and co-living places.
# A sense of community
Whereas we`re constantly on the move, we long for meaningful interactions and bonding.
A recent survey conducted by IKEA`s Copenhagen-based innovation laboratory found that co-livers like the model because of its socializing aspects. This is in line with the overall trends that see more and more young people constantly moving places, prioritizing their careers and choosing to remain single. As a consequence, they`re reporting high levels of loneliness.
Another report from the Royal Institute of British Architects and architecture firm Studio Wave suggested that co-living models could fight the rising levels of loneliness among young and aging populations.
Over to you
Millennial buyer personas are changing the overall perceptions– from owned to shared living; from a private space to a community. That`s how co-living is slowly but surely becoming mainstream.
But how to benefit from these changes? Delve into the minds of millennials, research their needs and values and cater to them. If you give them what they want, they`ll stay with you.
Do you run a co-living space? What are the biggest challenges you face? How do you manage to retain millennial and other types of customers? Share your experiences in the comments down below.