Coliving: How To Build Community At Scale
The coliving industry is booming, and we're seeing startups pop up left and right. If you have a great property, a defined target market, and a passion for community, starting your own coliving space can often be a pretty straight-forward process.
But, what if you want to create more than just one individual coliving space? What if you want to build a larger coliving brand?
One of the biggest issues that operators struggle with as they expand is how to build a thriving community at scale. How do you expand from a single location, to a recognized coliving brand without compromising your community?
If you're looking to build and scale your coliving brand, here are 3 things you need to be doing right now:
1. Shift To Community-Led Experiences
One of the biggest mistakes that I see large coliving operators make, is confusing 'community-building' with 'event planning.' You will never, ever build a strong community if you're solely focused on hosting events. You absolutely have to get your community involved and actively engaged in building your programming.
Focus less on event planning and more on facilitating. With coliving, it's all about creating an environment that encourages organic connections between members. Create opportunities for members to interact with each other in meaningful ways, such as through shared meals, activities, and conversations.
2. Hire A Head of Community Experience
Many co-living brands start off with the intention of creating unique community experiences, but quickly get distracted with property management tasks. And, at that point, your coliving brand simply becomes just another real estate company. To avoid this, you absolutely need someone on your team who is solely focused on the Customer Experience strategy.
The average Head of CX makes $200k/year in the U.S. Understandably, most growing coliving brands can't afford to commit to that just yet. Luckily, you don't have to. Working together on a monthly basis, as a CX consultant, I can act as your Head of Community Experience at a fraction of the price, and keep you on track from the very beginning.
3. Measure Your Community Health
When it comes to building a thriving coliving community, occupancy rates are certainly important. However, the strength of your community is measured by more than just how many people are living in your space. To truly measure the success of your coliving community, you should consider setting KPIs that focus on the health of your community through retention rates, engagement levels, referrals, and the strength of relationships among members.
Also, consider taking a look at the number of leaders inside your community. (Community leaders are members who are initiating gatherings and are regular conversation-starters in your community chats.) Your coliving community needs to be larger than just one person. In order to scale, you need a community of community builders.
4. Implement The Right Tech Solutions
Technology is an essential part of building a successful co-living brand. It can help you streamline processes, increase efficiency, and provide a better experience for your customers. Many co-living spaces opt to incorporate a white-labeled app to create a more user-friendly living experience.
One thing to consider when choosing your tech solution:
To build a strong sense of community, members must have a place to engage with one another virtually. Whether that's through a branded app or through existing tools such as WhatsApp or Facebook, make sure you are actively connecting those within your space. When members are creating events and having conversations amongst themselves, this is where real community thrives.
In conclusion, building a successful coliving brand requires more than just acquiring more properties. It requires an intentional focus on community-led experiences, hiring the right people to lead the charge, measuring your community health, and implementing the right tech solutions.
If you're in the shared living industry, you likely gravitated toward it because you have a strong passion for community yourself. Make sure you don't lose that by getting too wrapped up in your day-to-day. By following these steps, you can ensure that your coliving brand will be able to scale while still creating life-changing community experiences for your members.
There's a lot to consider when building a thriving coliving brand. If you'd like to chat more about it, feel free to book a chat with me here: Book A Call