Ascott launches brand targeted at millennials

CapitaLand president and group CEO Lim Ming Yan (far left) and Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon trying their hand at baking in Lyf's social kitchen.
CapitaLand president and group CEO Lim Ming Yan (far left) and Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon trying their hand at baking in Lyf's social kitchen.PHOTO: ASCOTT

Lyf range of residences to get guests to mingle by having more communal spaces

The Ascott serviced apartments firm has unveiled a new brand, one designed for millennials by millennials.

The brand is called Lyf, which is pronounced "life" and stands for "Live Your Freedom".

The concept aims to get guests to mingle, which is why room sizes are generally smaller than the usual Ascott sizes, said Ms Mindy Teo, Ascott's vice-president of innovation, who led the team of millennials who conceptualised the project.

Millennials are those born after 1980, although Ascott said it defined this cohort not by age, but as a "social generation who crave discoveries and desire to be part of a community".

While each Lyf property will have its own unique personality and local flavour, depending on the location, all of them will have plenty of communal spaces.

These include a lobby that doubles as a co-working and event space and a "wash and hang" laundromat, envisioned to have entertainment such as foosball so that residents can socialise while waiting for their laundry.

There will also be a communal kitchen where guests can cook, eat and take cooking classes together.

Even customer service will be different at Lyf. There will be no front desk, and customers will check in on their own.

The properties will also have a different breed of customer service officers, called Lyf Guards. They will be employed by Ascott, but could also be residents at the property, said Ms Teo.

Lyf Guards are meant to be outgoing community managers who can organise events such as innovation talks and workshops with local craftsmen and baristas.

Ascott chief executive Lee Chee Koon told The Straits Times that he gave the millennial team "complete creative control", although the concept was inspired by his observation of trends.

"People like to work together, spend time together... This is the way I believe living will be like in the future," he said.

The Ascott, which is a unit of CapitaLand, aims to have 10,000 units under the Lyf brand globally by 2020 but no details were given as to where and when the first project will open. However, Mr Lee said that he hopes to reveal details early next year, adding that at least two will be in Singapore.

He did not reveal the pricing, but said that "it is not budget" and that rates will be comparable to those of its Citadines brand.

Mr Lee noted that the average length of stay for its customers in Asia is between three and six months, adding that Lyf hopes to attract those who will stay a bit longer to build up a "vibrant community, creating friendships and bonds".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Ascott launches brand targeted at millennials'. Print Edition | Subscribe