Tech-enabled spaces: Managing hybrid communities in coliving spaces

Tech-enabled spaces: Managing hybrid communities in coliving spaces

A thirst for travel combined with the technology infrastructure to facilitate working from anywhere has enticed more and more people to a lifestyle packed full of adventures. 

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review reported that “over 17 million American workers identified as digital nomads, an increase of 131% from 2019, and they included workers from a wide array of professions.” This has snowballed demand for alternative housing models, such as coliving, transforming our relationships with places – and people. 

The expectation is for coliving businesses to curate meaningful experiences based around human connection. So, the challenge for operators lies in managing the people, and an all-to-often hybrid community. But here’s where technology comes in handy. 

Community curated living.

A membership-based renting model where “consumers can rent move-in-ready apartments for any length of stay in hundreds of cities,” coliving isn’t just about the ease of moving from place to place. The “co” of coliving is key. Today’s tech-savvy residents expect community-curated experiences at the touch of a button. 

Generally, community building in coliving comes down to the natural charisma and friendliness of one individual alone – the community manager. Hiring a dedicated community manager is highly beneficial for coliving companies, says Coliving Consultant, Leah Ziliak, resulting in “longer resident stays, more referrals, and a stronger reputation.” 

The community manager’s day-to-day involves multiple tasks, from onboarding new members, forging connections between community members, organising and marketing events, and constantly making business improvements to the running of the space. That’s enough to keep anyone busy yet, digital tools are usually on hand to streamline workloads. 

White-label Nexudus software supports the coliving business throughout the customer journey. From proposals to managing opportunities, setting tasks, emails, and reminders, our CRM gives a complete overview of sales and opportunities. Streamlining operations with technology gives community managers the headspace to focus on building a strong community. The good news is that technology can simplify this too. 

Connected on a global scale.

From sending messages about the latest events, to shining a spotlight on members in blog posts and newsletters, Nexudus communication tools increase engagement between members. Chat apps “help members [get to] know each other better which, in turn, may spark conversations and engagement down the line,” explains Nexudus co-founder and CTO, Adrian Palacios. It also enables conversations between members to flow freely, strengthening bonds across physical and virtual spaces. 

However, one of the limitations of expecting members to connect on their own terms is that they may not know everyone within the community. But here’s where a member’s directory comes in – it gives an overview of who is in the community, what they do, and where they’re based. Members can search for others to connect with, whether that’s for a collaborative project, to explore a new city together, or just to get to know a few like-minded people staying in the same property. 

Matthias Zeitler uses member directories in his coliving (and coworking) spaces so that members understand who is part of the community. He’s built one of Europe’s leading nomad communities in the Bulgarian mountainous town of Bansko by founding Coworking Bansko and Coliving Semkovo. 

Not just a physical space.

Speaking on a recent episode of the Coworking Values podcast, Zeitler expresses that maintaining nomad communities is challenging, as members typically only stay for a few months at a time. The constant turnover can be unsettling for community dynamics, but Zeitler believes that a transient community is exciting ‘because there’s always new people, new connections, you can make.’ Nonetheless, when a coliving resident is ready to move on, it doesn’t mean they need to totally unplug from the community. Introducing – Nexudus virtual communities

Virtual communities “meet up in a dedicated digital space, where they can form connections with each other, tap into each other’s stories and experiences to fuel progress and build meaningful relationships.” Say, someone is primarily based in a London coliving space but they go off travelling every few months. A virtual membership enables them to continue their participation in the core community, allowing members to flex up or down depending on their circumstances.

With hybrid communities being the norm these days, it’s not unusual to offer more than just a physical membership. Diversifying membership and introducing a virtual community is a smart move to maximise revenue, and manage a distributed community. But it’s simply not enough to expect members to pay to stay connected. 

Living and breathing brand values.

Coliving spaces typically offer more than just rooms to sleep in. They may also include a coworking space, cafe or restaurant on the ground floor, a rooftop terrace or outdoor space, or top-of-the-range leisure facilities. Some of these spaces might be open to a wider audience, including members of the general public. 

But to bring people into mixed-use spaces, the company’s brand values and culture must be visible to a large pool of people. Technology supports this by enabling businesses to share their message with a global audience. For instance, Nexudus white-label software facilitates the creation of a fully customisable website and app, where upcoming events are visible for people to understand the type of community that’s being curated, and to book these activities.  

In coliving, the mixed-use model merges transient residents with local people, creating a rich cultural experience for short-term residents, and a convenient range of services for locals. The brand, values, and culture of the business tie it all together. Commercial real estate expert, Carlo Benigni, explains that “a strong brand identity can really help a company build a ‘tribe’ of customers who start naturally gravitating towards it because they believe in its long-term vision.” 

So, what better way to connect people together than using technology to automate operations, build community, and create a strong brand?

At Nexudus, we’re passionately building technology that provides space owners and operators with fully customisable, easy-to-integrate digital solutions for their spaces, across coworking, commercial real estate, hospitality and beyond. Since 2012, our award-winning technology has helped workspace owners and operators in over 90 countries digitally transform their spaces, manage them more efficiently, provide exceptional customer experiences and gather advanced analytics for better decision-making.

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