New Guests The main focus should not ONLY be to find new guests. If you focus on getting guests to stay LONGER and keep on coming back, you need fewer guests overall. Normally, a large part of your costs will be spent on acquiring new guests.
Sell the dream Sell the dream of freedom of choice – Guests can choose to be around similar like-minded people – they can choose where to live – they can choose fewer distractions – and most importantly they can choose to live on their own terms. Now THAT´s what I call freedom.
It needs to be experienced Coliving is the new way to live, work and interact – it needs to be experienced. Sure, you may get your friends and family excited – and perhaps some might say that they lived like that in college, but it’s certainly not something they would ever consider now. That’s fine – they are not your target market. So when you explain it to people, accept that it can sometimes be hard to understand the concept until you are in the middle of it – and living it.
Needs Focus on the need for connection – of community – a sense of belonging – being in the presence of others like them. To be around people who are pursuing their career, whilst also having an instant social circle. The sense of belonging when you get to a coliving space is like nothing else. It’s instant acceptance, instant connection, and friends who will lift and inspire you. You won’t get that from sitting in a Starbucks – that’s for sure.
So, lets focus on practical ways of getting people to move in:
Online Be where the guests are. Google Maps, social media, TripAdvisor Forums, Nomad Forums, etc. You should be participating in conversations that people get inspiration from. Your own website/blog, where you tell about the problems people have before finding you, and how you / coliving can solve this problem.
PR Coliving is still a new concept and many journalists are happy to write your story if they get a glimpse behind the curtains. Opening in a new location or doing things in a new way will always attract PR. Make a list of journalists or influencers that are writing about your niche, and reach out asking what they want to write about. This will open a dialogue and they get to know you before you need your PR. Do this sooner than later.
Existing guests Existing guests are your safest bet – because people trust people 7 times more than marketing directly from a company. Word of mouth recommendations are everything!! If people are happy staying with you, they may refer friends, especially if you entice them with some commission – in the form of vouchers they can spend with you on their next stay – a win-win for both you and them.
Partnerships Make partnerships with coworking spaces, incubators, accelerators, startup hubs, even companies seeking accommodation for traveling employees.
Marketplaces Add your listing to marketplaces like Coliving.com of course. Classifieds pages. Room-mate sites. Anywhere you can place an ad, but remember to describe which kinds of people you are looking for so that you can build the community you want.
Competitions Have competitions in social media, for example getting people to invite friends in exchange for a chance to win a month’s free stay.