The increasing popularity of coliving in the UK can quite literally be mapped. Although London still dominates the UK coliving scene, with 82% of operational beds, the recent UK Coliving report 2023 released by Savills found that the majority of coliving beds in construction and at the pre-planning stage are outside the capital.
From regional cities like Glasgow and Birmingham to towns like Guildford and Reading, coliving operators who have harnessed the power of coliving management software are managing operations remotely to scale their businesses across the UK. That's not the only way coliving software supports coliving operators.
Here are our top 10 coliving software features in 2023.
- Property management system (PMS)
- Community app
- Keyless access control
- Channel manager
- Booking portal
- Housekeeping & Maintenance Automation
- Digital inventories
- Automated Billing
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Dashboard reporting
1. Property management system (PMS)
Let’s kick off with the most critical piece of coliving software: a coliving property management system (PMS). A coliving PMS cultivates community, ensures sustainability and provides great guest experience, while also increasing revenue generation. It streamlines all of your properties across multiple sites, using one central system accessible by all team members - which enhances management and operational efficiency - and simplifies the relationship between residents and management. Whether it’s taking a monthly rental payment, signing contracts, updating T&Cs or sending important announcements, a coliving PMS digitises administrative tasks and removes the need for lots of onsite staff, saving you time and resources in the process.
What’s more, switching to a coliving property management system ensures that all new features are specific to the unique challenges of coliving. For instance, Finnish coliving concept, Noli Studios, uses res:harmonics PMS to produce scalable pricing that matches stay lengths with an availability grid so every unit can be marketed for seven-day stays or seven-month residencies.
“With res:harmonics, we have done something extraordinary and created a new way of living.” Ilkka Kaakinen, Commercial Manager at Noli Studios
2. Community app
Community is what coliving is all about. Yes, the location is important. Yes, the amenities are a great draw. Yes, the rooms must be affordable. But all those pale in significance to the sense of community, especially when it comes to retaining residents.
A study by Apartment Life noted that ‘neighbours are amenities’, finding that residents with 7+ friends in a building have a 47% chance of renewing their contract compared to 29% for those with no friends. Cultivate community friendship (and therefore boost occupancy) by including a community app where residents post messages, organise events and ask for advice; it’s a hub to sign-up for evening dance classes or set-up their own film nights. An interactive app lets residents take control of their lives together and reduces management burdens for operators. That’s what a community channel is all about.
3. Keyless access control
Keyless access control is now a must-have innovative living feature as it provides greater efficiency (i.e. no front of house or lost key costs) and a better guest experience (i.e. seamless check-in), but simple ‘tap and enter’ functionality does not cover the unique safety and operational needs of coliving.
That’s why innovative access management solutions have been specifically designed to address access complexities at coliving spaces. Having chosen a lock, door type and software that suits your properties and preferences, coliving operators can manage resident access to both your private spaces (i.e. resident rooms) and public spaces, such as swimming pools. As such, residents can seamlessly and securely move around a coliving property, and use the amenities, communal spaces and individual rooms with the same token.
In addition, by using providers like SALTO Systems, coliving operators can remotely update settings for specific times or amenities. Hosting an event in the lobby? Temporarily open room access with the touch of a button. Closing the swimming pool at night? Remove access between 9pm and 6am. Keyless access control gives back control to coliving operators.
“Coliving thinks outside the box and needs an access management solution that thinks outside the box too.” Christian Schmitz, Global Lead Shared Living and Coworking at SALTO Systems.
4. Channel manager
All coliving operators need to attract residents. But given the importance of community to the concept of coliving, not just any guest will do; managers want to attract like-minded people if you’re cultivating a group of friends, not just a group of neighbours.
A dynamic channel manager boosts occupancy, minimises gaps between bookings and attracts your ideal guest profile. Select a range of photos, rates and descriptions according to various sites. For example, highlight your wellbeing-related services at your city site and focus on the adventure aspect at your rural coliving property. Moreover, with a dynamic channel manager, all bookings sync with your internal property management system, so you can easily update all your channel listings in a few clicks.
5. Booking portal
What’s the most important channel of all? Your own. Given the distinctive appeal of coliving - i.e. the need for residents to find the right blend of location, amenities, services and fellow guests - potential long-term residents are much more likely to browse your website before booking than someone who is staying for a week. This is where they’ll stay for a potentially extensive period, so they want to make sure their new place ticks all their boxes.
Prospective residents also want to book directly and easily. That’s why coliving operators should have a direct booking portal on your site, which delivers bespoke quotes in seconds, a carousel of key photos, easy-to-understand floor plans and a direct communication channel. Clear payment terms, secure deposits and a simple reservation process will also encourage custom from a global audience (and save you 15-30% on OTA commission).
6. Housekeeping & Maintenance Automation
It’s unavoidable to clean and maintain coliving developments, but any housekeeping and maintenance management issues are avoidable with automated processes. No matter the location of your units or the location of your management team, schedule housekeeping tasks across your portfolio with automated housekeeping software. Linked to bookings and customer preferences, you can use this software to automatically assign daily housekeeping to-do lists, update these schedules with priority tasks in real-time and use the chat function to stay in direct contact with housekeepers.
The same goes for maintenance. Be it proactively checking a building’s fire alarms or responding to an emergency flood, use a coliving property management software to allocate tasks, send digital keys and wait for digital confirmation of the completed assignment, resolving issues instantly.
Combined with property operations services like Opago, housekeeping & maintenance automation make rapid high-quality turnarounds a possibility - meaning you can reuse a unit within 24 hours of a tenant’s departure.
“It’s like a snowball effect: you save time and cut costs, you enhance guest experience and increase bookings, you boost revenue and grow the business.” Antanas Perez, Co-Founder & CTO, Opago.
7. Digital inventories
Ensuring your units are up-to-scratch happens long before residents walk through your doors. In fact, you have the opportunity to impress residents with your slick operations even before your residents sign their tenancies – with the help of digital inventories.
What used to be a cumbersome manual process complete with clipboards, print-outs and tenant anxiety is now a seamless digital experience that gets residents off to a flying start.
Integrating a coliving management PMS with Inventory Hive, for example, provides 360° virtual tours of your units pre check-in, so residents can review the property on their own and collaborate on the inventory. This then serves as a reference point throughout their stay, so there are no issues at departure either. It may seem simple, but starting on the same page and stress-free departures help ensure good reviews and return custom.
“By integrating with res:harmonics' market-leading PMS, the collaborative inventory process not only makes the resident feel more responsible for the property’s condition, but also reiterates how much you value them throughout their tenancy.” Alex Gooch, Head of Build-to-Rent & Customer Success, Inventory Hive
8. Automated Billing
Creating, updating, sending and chasing invoices is a thing of the past. With automated billing, a coliving PMS auto-generates invoices based on the initial booking details, updates with extras during a guest’s stay and sends friendly reminders for late invoices if need be.
Automated billing is like having an accountant who never makes any mistakes and can draw on the expertise of a wide range of tech colleagues via integrations. From tracking sales and expenses with Quickbooks to staying on top of incomings and outgoings with Xero, a coliving PMS with automated billing software saves both hours and errors. In fact, it’s so efficient at eliminating mistakes and saving time that one res:harmonics client, EasyFlat, didn’t need to hire an assistant CFO (saving them even more money).
9. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Although flexibility, community and simplicity is attracting a wider range of demographics in coliving, such as older and international residents, the sector’s core market remains recent graduates and young professionals. These tech-savvy residents require virtually-enabled experiences and high-spec physical settings.
This means understanding individual customer preferences and delivering a slick personalised stay. CRM software retains all customer interactions - from preferences made at booking to extras requested in-stay - as well as any correspondence between you and the guest. It then converts all that information into easy-to-use data, treating each resident like royalty and increasing repeat custom along the way.
10. Dashboard reporting
The key to personalising the resident experience? Data collection. Coliving management software captures lots of information about tenant stays (i.e. the events they’re interested in) so you can better segment and serve your residents.
For example, if you have more sports enthusiasts or foodies living in one location, you can host more events tailored to those preferences. If a resident has had multiple maintenance requests, you know you need to resolve them and put in the extra effort to make their coliving experience even better. With each different property location, and every resident community changing throughout the year, data collection helps you understand current tenant needs and treat them as individuals, as well as a collective.
Many coliving operators agree that decisions ought to be informed by data rather than pure instinct. For instance, leading coliving operator Gravity Co initially used technology to cut costs and reduce human error. However, by using data gathered by res:harmonics coliving software, they’ve enhanced their guest experience now too.
"We’re making data-driven decisions to make sure we’re offering what our tenants want. We listen, we adapt and we grow together." Rob Birch, Head of Operations at Gravity Co-Living.
All in one platform
Imagine if all of this amazing coliving software was available in one easy-to-use platform with excellent customer support. Imagine no more.
At res:harmonics, our unified platform is designed with coliving in mind, developed specifically to solve the plethora of challenges that coliving operators face. With a vast array of features and industry-leading integrations at your fingertips, you can make the most of your coliving business and work towards growth and scaling up.
Download the Ultimate Guide to Coliving Management Software 2023 to learn how property management software supports coliving operators.
Request a demo to speak to someone at res:harmonics about how our coliving software can automate and scale up your coliving business.