Ascott targets 150 properties with over 30,000 units under lyf co-living brand by 2030

26 April, 2022

Serviced apartment group Ascott Limited has set an ambitious target to open 150 additional properties under its co-living lyf brand by 2030, adding over 30,000 units to its portfolio before the end of the decade. The brand, pronounced ‘life’ and standing for ‘live your freedom’ is a lodging concept designed for next-generation guests with apartments, social spaces and experiential programmes designed for guests to “forge connections and nurture a strong sense of community”.  

lyf was launched back in 2016 to meet changing traveller needs and was designed to offer a more community-based experience that connects guests with other travellers and tailored and managed for millennials.

Ascott currently has 17 lyf co-living properties with over 3,200 units in 14 cities and nine countries. The growth will be facilitated through management contracts, but also Ascott sees “attractive opportunities” for its private funds and Ascott Residence Trust (ART) to deploy more investments into this product class.

Singapore properties enjoy strong initial demand

Ascott has opened seven lyf properties in Singapore, China, Japan and Thailand to date and the Singapore properties have enjoyed particularly strong initial demand.

Its first lyf property – lyf Funan Singapore – achieved an 80% occupancy level within three months of its opening in Sep-2019 and its new lyf one-north Singapore, which welcomed its first guests in Nov-2021, has already achieved a strong occupancy rate of above 85%.

The new lyf one-north Singapore, which was formally opened in Apr-2022, is owned by Ascott’s sponsored hospitality trust ART. The 324-unit property a key part of one-north, Singapore’s research and innovation hub. and supports the co-living needs of many innovative start-ups, research and development firms as well as high-tech and media enterprises located nearby.

A lodging concept designed for next-generation guests

lyf is described as a lodging concept designed for next-generation guests. Kevin Goh, chief executive officer for lodging at parent company CapitaLand Investments (CLI) describes the offer as a “unique lodging product in a class of its own”. He adds: “Ascott developed lyf as a solution that combines the best of serviced residences, hotels and co-living apartments.”

Digitally-enabled co-living concept ‘continues to resonate well’ with guests and partners

The Ascott Serviced Residence Global Fund currently owns two lyf-branded coliving properties – the aforementioned lyf Funan Singapore as well as lyf Gambetta Paris, Ascott’s first lyf-branded property in Europe that is slated to open in 2023.

Mr Goh says that as a digitally-enabled co-living concept the brand “continues to resonate well with our guests and partners across the world” with new signings and property openings “on track despite COVID-19”.

In 2022, five lyf properties are slated to open across the globe in gateway cities such as Bangkok, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Xi’an. Five other lyf properties are scheduled to open in Beijing, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Paris by 2025.

Soon after the launch late last year of lyf one-north Singapore, lyf Hongqiao Shanghai and lyf Farrer Park Singapore opened their doors in Feb-2022. lyf Hongqiao Shanghai has a prime location within the Hongqiao Central Business District, surrounded by iconic landmarks, famous scenic spots and a variety of restaurants while lyf Farrer Park Singapore is located in one of Singapore’s most culturally rich neighbourhoods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a new way to live and work.

Ascott sees more digital nomads and self-starters “preferring to work remotely, demanding novel experiences and opportunities to connect,” according to Mr Goh. “The lyf brand, with its co-living spaces and innovative in-house activities, offers something that is hard to quantify – the community of like-minded individuals at one’s doorstep and social interactions with one’s neighbours,” he explains.

New lyf Innovation Lab to power up digital-enabled offerings

Ascott is empowering lyf as a co-living concept through digital technology. The service model of lyf is anchored upon the Discover ASR mobile app which enables functionalities from room bookings, check-in/check-out processes, keyless room access, management of social spaces and community events, communication board with guests to cashless payment.

It is expanding upon this with its new lyf Innovation Lab. Created in collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics & IT, it will explore, design and testbed immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies and digital experiences for lyf. The new lyf one-north Singapore property will serve as a living lab for field testing these digital innovations with successful pilots implemented across other lyf properties worldwide.

Currently underway, the first pilot is the expansion of lyf’s co-living experience into the metaverse by harnessing VR and AR technologies to merge the physical world of lyf with the virtual space. It is predicted that one in four people are expected to spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026.