SINGAPORE - Lodging company Ascott aims to sign 150 properties with more than 30,000 units under its lyf co-living brand by 2030, said the CapitaLand Investment unit on Monday (April 11).
Five lyf properties are slated to open this year in Bangkok, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Xi'an, with five more scheduled to open in Beijing, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Paris by 2025.
Ascott announced these plans at the official launch of lyf one-north Singapore on Monday. The 324-unit property, which combines hotel, serviced residences and co-living services, is owned by Ascott Residence Trust.
"The property serves to meet the co-living needs of many innovative start-ups, research and development firms, as well as high-tech and media enterprises located nearby, while injecting more vibrancy into the district through its experiential programmes and placemaking activities," said Ascott.
Ascott currently has 17 lyf co-living properties, with more than 3,200 units in 14 cities. These include lyf Funan Singapore, the company's first property under the brand, and lyf Farrer Park Singapore, which opened in February.
Mr Kevin Goh, CapitaLand Investment's chief executive for lodging, said lyf Funan Singapore achieved 80 per cent occupancy level within three months of its opening in September 2019.
Meanwhile, lyf one-north Singapore welcomed its first guest in November and has already achieved an occupancy rate of above 85 per cent, said Mr Goh.
Long-term stays of a month or more make up 75 per cent of all visits, and the property has a roughly equal mix of local and foreign guests. Rooms go for $130 to $175 a night for short-term stays, or $2,800 to $3,200 a month, at current rates.
"In addition to growing the lyf brand via management contracts, we also see attractive opportunities for our private funds and Ascott Residence Trust to deploy more investments into this product class," added Mr Goh.
He said people now prefer to work remotely and demand new experiences and opportunities to connect due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He told reporters that many guests at the one-north property are in their late 20s and 30s, and come from the tech and media industries, as well as from institutes of higher learning.
lyf has seen an uptick in enquiries from overseas guests as travel picks up, he added.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, who was guest of honour at the launch, said lyf has embraced both the virtual world and sustainability, such as by equipping the one-north property with an end-of-trip bicycle facility.
Its other amenities include an outdoor amphitheatre and lawn space where events can be held, as well as a seven-storey-high mural – the tallest on a private development here – by Singapore-based Colombian graffiti artist Didier “Jaba” Mathieu.
The one-north property features amenities such as a communal lounge, meeting rooms and an outdoor amphitheatre where events can be held.
Ascott also launched the lyf Innovation Lab - a collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic's School of Informatics & IT - on Monday. The space aims to be a test-bed for virtual and augmented reality technologies and digital experiences for the lyf brand.
Its first pilot that aims to harness these technologies to merge lyf's physical environment with the virtual space is currently under way, said Ascott.
It cited research by consulting firm Gartner that notes that a quarter of people are expected to spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026.
Solutions will be tested at lyf one-north Singapore and successful pilots will eventually be implemented across other lyf properties worldwide, said Ascott.
Ms Tan Bee Leng, Ascott's managing director for brand and marketing, said co-innovation with industry partners, domain experts and institutes of higher learning will be a key focus in the company's brand development work.
"We are in talks to set up more innovation labs for our other brands to field-test new lodging concepts and hospitality programming. These living labs will enable us to rapidly prototype anything from eco-gyms to the latest cutting-edge technology," she said.
She added that insights from guest usage patterns and preferences can then be used to improve and expand Ascott's hospitality product and service offerings, and upskill staff.