Open note to other space providers and coliving operations
I have set up and run a very successful holiday estate in Provence France.
I met Kyron, who posted a question about co-owning a chateaux in France. In ensuing chats and conversations, we came to the following conclusions.
Firstly we need to understand the history of the short let market.
In the past few years, people have piled into the holiday let market across the world. They looked at owners like us and said what a great life, in fact, almost every guest who came indicated they would like to do the same.
This situation created a boom in the listings market, loads of people set up listing websites.
Soon the big boys got into the act and realised that they could take lots of small operations and make big ones out of them; Tripadvisor, Booking.com, HomeAway... and then, Airbnb who zoomed onto the market, expanding it by even more by adding private bedrooms.
What was the method that all these mega groups offered to gain the market?
Suddenly, all owners properties became "supermarket specials". We became heavily reliant on the marketing muscle of the big listers and them, in turn, looked at us as just a "stock" to move up and down according to demand.
Why should we, the owners, continue to invest in a different and quality product when what we offered couldn't be seen, even if we tried to compete on the web or was beaten down in price if we joined the listers?
Secondly: what alternative?
Look for a "niche" to join/create, and there was the Nomad movement and Coliving, and many of us have set up for this.
Niches can only work if they have "Presence" and to do that we need to have base agreements about what the niche-market represents. Standards, quality, price levels, cooperation, networks.
Networks that inter-exchange enquiries will work better than trying to be alone and the "only one". People who enquire have many different criteria to satisfy; no one place can offer them all.
The Digital Entrepreneur and the Nomad worker want to move on after a while, let them move within a network that announces itself and abides by a standard, so that the traveller's life is not ruled by a "pot luck" service forced to reduce standards by the big listing companies price plays.
If we do this, we will all succeed.
Original thoughts and discussions behind this piece by Kyron and Rod.
Since writing this piece we have now set up a global NGO, not for profit, to expand and promote Coliving. It's members are the most active and successful Coliving spaces and is rapidly expanding throughout the world.
PS: For the Coliver who reads this, if you only compare us against the Airbnb marketplace, then you will get what they can afford based on the fact that they will have been forced down in price. If you want to have a better place to live, then we need the funds to re-invest, and we also wish to "have a life". We believe we have something special to offer and that comes with a reasonable price tag.