Have you ever wondered why some coliving spaces struggle to fill rooms, while others have a waiting list a mile long? As a coliving consultant, I've had the privilege of collaborating with some of the most innovative players in the coliving world.
What's their secret, you might ask?
As the coliving industry continues to propel itself forward, we're not just witnessing it's growth; we're the ones shaping it. There's a treasure trove of knowledge to be shared among us, and I want to shine a light on what the world's best coliving brands are doing really, really well.
So, I've created the Coliving Spotlight blog series. My goal here is simple:
Showcase the tried and true strategies that the world's best coliving brands are using. In hopes that you'll be inspired to fine-tune your own coliving customer experience strategy.
In this blog series, we'll peel back the layers of the world's most successful coliving brands. And, I'll share insights that can reshape the way you run your coliving space. If you've ever wanted to start a coliving space, or are already operating one, you're in the right space.
Our first deep dive is into the heart of Sun & Co Coliving, where “community” isn't just a buzzword - it's the core of their success. Here are 3 things you can learn from the Sun & Co business model.
Coliving Spotlight: Sun & Co.
Location: Javea, Spain
Target Demographic: Digital Nomads
Size: 16 Beds
1. Optimizing The Off-Season:
The way that Sun & Co. has managed to optimize their off-season is GENIUS. This coliving space is located in a small city on the Spanish coast. In the summer, this destination is packed with local tourists. In the winter, it's the perfect destination for digital nomads seeking some European sunshine.
So, what has Sun & Co. done here?
In the busy tourist season, they operate as a hostel called Youth Hostel Javea. It has a completely different brand name and a completely different demographic. They even rearrange the physical space itself, and change the sign on the door.
In the low season, they operate as the incredibly popular digital nomad coliving space known as Sun & Co. During 'nomad season', things are run a bit differently. They turn a social space into a coworking, they focus on entrepreneurial events, skill shares and masterminds, offer discounts for month-long stays, and specifically draw in remote workers.
The two brands are so separate from one another, that most of the hostel customers don't even know that Sun & Co exists and vice versa.
Why This Is So Smart:
Sun & Co. recognizes that their target demographic in the summer is much different than their target demographic in the winter. And, they don't try to mix the two.
If you try to appeal to everyone, you'll appeal to no one.
In this case, Sun & Co has created an optimal experience for BOTH demographics by creating two separate brands.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
Do you have an off-season that could be better optimized?
Does your target demographic change depending on the time of year?
2. Creating Community-Led Events in Coliving:
The team at Sun & Co are masters at creating community-led experiences. Their weekly events are nearly all co-created by a member of the community.
There are several different ways to create community-led experiences, but the way Sun & Co does it is so simple and beautiful.
They start each week with a family meeting. In it, they ask two simple questions:
"What do you want to teach?"
"What do you want to learn?"
From there, they build an event calendar for the week based on those answers. And, based on what they actually want to do.
No guessing required.
Each event has a community member who's in charge of making sure that event happens. They are empowered to build and shape that event however they'd like.
Not only does this make for a more diverse experience, but it also engages the community in a much more authentic way.
This method also takes a HUGE burden off of you as an operator.
Hosting events is expensive, time consuming and not a great way to build a community.
Facilitating events on the other hand (what Sun & Co does best) leverages the power of the community itself to build the community.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
Are you hosting events or facilitating them?
Are you utilizing the Provide, Prompt, Structure method?
3. Generating Additional Revenue Streams:
The Community Pass:
Sun & Co. has become famous among the nomad crowd. So much so, that it books up well in advance, and many people return year after year. Javea has become a second home for many nomads - some even opting to establish a part-time or full-time home base there.
Because of that, they now offer a Community Pass. The Community Pass gives members the ability to book their own accommodation in Javea, while still gaining access to the coworking space and community events.
Why This Is So Smart:
The Community Pass creates an additional revenue stream for Sun & Co. They're also able to expand their offering, and reach a wider user-base.
Not everyone loves the idea of shared living. Some people want to be part of a community, AND have their own private apartment. This offering appeals to them.
Plus, the Community Pass also appeals to the expat community in Javea, as well as families and couples, who might be interested in having their own apartment instead of staying in the coliving.
The Pop-Up Coliving Experience
Another super smart revenue stream Sun & Co has built over the years is it's Annual Coliving Pop-Up Experience. For the past three years, they've host a pop-up coliving experience in a different part of Spain. The coliving is held for four weeks, and enables members to have the same award-winning community experience of Sun & Co, in a completely new (and limited time) location.
Hosting a pop-up experience is a great way to test market demand, trial a new region, or to just give your users the chance to connect in a different location. I love the pop-up model, for many reasons. If you're new to coliving, hosting a pop-up can be a great way to test the waters before you dive all in.
There's SO much to unpack and learn from this space.
But, one thing is clear - Sun & Co’s success is no happy accident. It’s a clear-cut case of smart, intentional community engagement, a deep understanding of their audience, and consistent delivery of an outstanding customer experience.
Their popularity with digital nomads globally is impressive. Their often sold-out-status is a sign that they’re doing things right, setting the bar high for what a coliving experience should be.
If you're looking to keep pace in this dynamic coliving market, being intentional with your community-experience strategy isn’t just advisable; it’s critical. Whether you’re fine-tuning your existing approach or starting from scratch, I’m here to help.
👋 I'm Leah. Since 2019, I've been helping coliving spaces develop their sales, marketing and customer-experience strategies to grow their communities and their brand.
Book a Mini Strategy Session with me for just $50 here. Let's work together to implement the best practices of coliving into your business.