Updated: Oct 24
With her background in hospitality and her experience as a nomad Leah quickly figured out she could bring her expertise to coliving spaces that lacked the "je ne sais quoi" to get colivers to stay longer and/or come back. During the webinar, she shared with us some very concrete and essential tips for any coliving owner, whether you are starting out or have been around for a while.
DESIGN IS NOT JUST FOR SPACES
One common "mistake" Leah notices is that coliving owners spend a lot of time designing the perfect space but much less time designing the ultimate customer experience.
It is understandable as it is not as tangible as making a room cosy and practical but it is just as important, if not more.
It is an oversight to believe that building community is simply bringing people together in a beautiful space.
THE JOURNEY STARTS BEFORE THEY BOOK
and hopefully never ends.
This is the moment people first hear about your space. The key here is to make things EASY and CLEAR. Ideally, they should find the answers to the 6 most asked questions within 60 seconds spent on your website.
A lot of spaces tend to bury the prices at the bottom of the page or even forget to state the exact location, focusing on the beauty of the surroundings and the extra services.
QUICK EASY CHECK: ask a friend who is new to your page to find the answer to those questions while timing themselves!
2. Curation and consideration
The community-building process starts here.
How do you make sure that the people who book with you are the "right" people for your community?
It is important that your users share something. A lot of Colivings use the term "like-minded". Of course, you should welcome diversity, but Leah reminds us that these people should at the very least share a desire to be in Community for the benefits it brings and not simply for practical and financial reasons.
How to ensure this compatibility? From personality tests to forms before booking, there are quite a few options out there. The simplest way is still to make sure that you show who you truly are through your branding, so you will attract the "right" people.
3 & 4 -Onboarding and integration
Once people book, it is easy to lay back and relax thinking the hard part is done. That is how you overlook the essential phases of onboarding and integration. Those first impressions will influence how long people stay and if they even come back and tell their friends about you. Brush up your communication templates and be consistent in order to build trust from the start.
Onboarding is also the key moment to empower your users within the space and show them how they can take care of themselves.
Make sure they connect with a team member, with the community but also with the neighborhood and the brand right away.
5 - The living experience
Where hotels and tourist resorts have the traditional top-down approach with scheduled excursions and activities led by staff, Colivings tend to embrace the bottom-up approach which increases a sense of community and belonging among residents.
That does not mean you should not do anything. As the owner or manager, it is your role to build the structure on which residents can create their "flow". You provide the space, the resources, and the opportunity.
So often overlooked and yet so powerful, off-boarding is the last impression your resident will have of your brand. In addition to the logistics and the reviews, make sure there is an element of emotional ritual as well as continuity through a newsletter or a loyalty program. These people are now your ambassadors outside of your space.
Why does thinking through the customer experience this way matter?
This is important for all the obvious and less obvious reasons. If you decided to start. a coliving space, chances are you genuinely care about your residents having the best possible time with you. Especially if you live on-site, happy residents just enhance your own experience. On a business level, when the whole journey is thought through, the experience is positive and the feeling is long-lasting you will see:
- higher retention rates
- higher word-of-mouth marketing - you will stay competitive But you will also elevate the industry as a whole!