People everywhere want to travel and see the world, but only very few of us are ever afforded opportunities to do so in an affordable and enjoyable manner. Oftentimes, individuals yearn for a vacation or once-in-a-lifetime-journey only to discover it’s prohibitively expensive. At other times, they’ll simply desire a travel experience devoid of hotels and the loneliness that can come with renting a single room for yourself to inhabit for days or weeks on end.
These days, however, that’s beginning to change. Thanks to co-living, or arrangements where one can rent a shared living space for a brief period of time, new travel opportunities are surfacing. Is co-living the future of travel? Here’s what you should know about co-living and how it’s impacting the tourism and hospitality industries.
What is Co-Living?
The easiest way to explain co-living is by describing what you actually get when you sign up for a co-living arrangement. Most co-living arrangements are defined by the renting of a private bedroom that’s part of a broader, dormitory-style building with shared facilities for such things as cooking and cleaning. You may have a communal kitchen or garage shared with other people, but your bedroom is your own private space which you may inhabit for days or even weeks at a time. Co-living is actually one of the oldest living arrangements in human history, but it dipped in popularity for some time and is now coming roaring back to life thanks to the power of modern apps.
A collection of apps like WeLive, Ollie, and others are gaining in popularity because people want to roam the world in order to experience its sights and sounds firsthand without having to rely on such services as Airbnb or a more traditional hotel. Co-living arrangements grant you the privacy that most travelers look for after a long day on the move, but they also provide you with a sense of community and belonging to help stave off loneliness. After all, many tourists and travelers foraying into a new area for the first time often feel as if they’re entirely alone and isolated within their bedrooms.
Co-living arrangements hope to change that, and in doing so they could shake up our tourism and hospitality industries. This is because modern co-living arrangements are far more specific and detail-oriented than ever before. While hostels and other commune-based temporary living arrangements have existed for countless centuries, modern co-living arrangements usually involve putting like-minded people together to bolster the quality of everyone’s vacation. There are some debates about their worthiness, however.
Some people have argued that co-living arrangements are toeing a fine line between eroding urban loneliness and allowing yourself to be exploited by corporate cynicism. It’s thus unclear if co-living will be able to fully reinvent itself for the modern era, but millions of people are nevertheless eagerly interested in it all the same.
Tourists are Embracing Co-Living
Some tourists around the world are embracing co-living as a welcomed alternative to more traditional hotels or newer innovations like Airbnb, which may be enjoyable but is also quite lonely and seldom focused on groups. The broad co-living market is generating truly impressive growth figures right now; according to one report, the supply of co-living opportunities doubled in 2018 alone. This communal lifestyle that nevertheless offers you privacy in a relatively affordable fashion is clearly popular with modern professionals and young travelers who yearn for something different when it comes to their living arrangements.
For the most part, co-living is working because it’s being micro-targeted towards younger, wealthier professionals in urban areas who are eager to meet like-minded individuals through apps. We can nevertheless expect co-living arrangements to become popular elsewhere, too, especially in smaller cities where apps haven’t yet penetrated but have immense potential. Larger and larger co-living communities will likely become the norm as time goes on, too, if only because this ensures the entire thing is more affordable and thus more likely to appeal to a greater number of consumers.
Co-living is changing the tourism and hospitality industries, but it’s only just really getting started when it comes to penetrating the American housing market. Expect co-living arrangements to hit your city sooner rather than later, as this affordable means of living with others is now more accessible and enjoyable than ever before thanks to modern technology.