How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

#21

“The MVP for this is simply around coordination.”

+1 for this. The real attraction for me would be people that I would value spending time with.

Coworking spaces/camps that include accom might also be related, for that sort of thing someone shared this list with me recently:
https://docs.google.com/a/endzone.co.uk/spreadsheets/d/1vZedhL3KIefM_7lruukJM48QAimBn8OMZ9LQFgzDct8/edit#gid=0

Also check out sites like findanomad.com for coordinating locations.

#22

Tbh I don’t really have a burning desire to house share with other nomads. I do have a huge need to know which are the nomad-friendly hotels in a given a city (i.e. affordable on a weekly or monthly basis, clean, have good wifi).

A votable list of hotels or recommended airbnbs would be huge - and would answer 90% of the questions that get posted to the Chiang Mai Facebook group. Icing on the cake would be a mini-forum for each city, so I could meet people who are there currently. That’s where the coordination could happen. my 2 cents

#23

That’s a great Link there, wish it were more complete.

@dylanized

I agree with you in cheap hotspots like Chiang Mai, but for more remote places without a significant community it can be a challenge. I for myself for example would love to do Kansas or Kenya or something like that. Sharing housing (and transportation, activities etc.) is critical there.

#24

Oh, Kenya or Uganda would be cool

#25

I would like something that was broken up by calendar months.

It would behave something like this…

  • I choose August 2015
  • I’m added to a group that’s looking to group-rent a house for that month
  • There would be subgroups for which country I’m interested in
  • In the subgroups people would vote on Airbnb listings, hotels, etc.
  • We could commit with escrow somehow until it tipped
#26

Have any nomads used the a16z startup teleport.org ? It’s still early and in mostly early-access. Thanks!

#27

Hot topic!

Right now I live in the coliving house Art House Medellin with other fellow online entrepreneus in Medellin, Colombia.
In August my girlfriend and me, we are a nomdic couple, stayed on Canary Island Coliving Camp The Surf Office.
There are more exciting projects like Nest in Copenhagen…
These spaces are full with like minded nomads and have services like cooks, cleaning and activities on demand.

On Coliving.org you find a map and manifest about that concept.

We started to seek for coliving communities rather than styaing in hostels or apartments…

#28

Did you know Marriott doesn’t own a single hotel? They’re just a management company. They set standards to which properties using their brand must adhere and are paid franchise fees by anyone using their brand.

There is a similar opportunity in this space for the right entrepreneur. The proof of concept is a single property. Ideally, a nomad house for startups will be a cross between a really nice hostel, a co-working space and a hackerspace.

Honestly, for what incubators are spending on office space in the US, they could provide a live/work space in many places around the world and their investment would go much farther toward building an MVP. I don’t see why more incubators aren’t interested in branching out, since a fully immersive experience would likely be more valuable during the product building phase anyway.

4 Likes
#30

We might be able to test out the concept in Zagreb if there were enough people interested. One of my co-founders (an American guy) lives there and heads up our engineering team.

So, what would people need? Should the living space and the working space be separate or together? It’s much easier to do it separately but in the same building, for example, the working space on the ground floor and the living space upstairs. Do people want their own apartment, or shared apartment but own room? Or shared rooms?

The nice thing about Zagreb is that it’s in the European Union so you can order from Amazon etc., and it’s easy to travel from there to other parts of Europe (lots of air service elsewhere). It’s generally a very civilized place, you can drink the tap water, things are well organized, there are fun things to do, beautiful nature nearby and Croatian people are friendly. You can buy anything you need there, both Carrefour and Interspar are available. English is widely spoken and is generally excellent. However, Croatia is a lot less expensive than western Europe.

The main hang-up is visas. What period of time would people be willing to commit to? People from the EU (or holding EU residence cards) can stay in Croatia indefinitely, but people from other countries can only stay for 90 days without applying for a Croatian visa. Staying beyond a year is generally not possible.

1 Like
#31

We are working on cross of hostels,co-working spaces in exotic places of India.
Our only concern is size of market, can anyone help us in estimating market size?

#32

Personally, I’d love to see more opportunities to go in together with other nomads for housing (which could bring the prices down significantly). The only “nomad house” type situations I’ve seen where people are living and working together usually have way more amenities than I need (or am willing to pay for) and I never see them in Europe (where I spend most of my time). I’d love to see a nomad retreat that didn’t include all meals + yoga + group sessions of one sort or another. Would just like to have the creative space to work in with other nomads around.

I also (and this is a unique situation, I know) travel with my dog, so for me the only things I can be part of are the ones willing to accept her too.

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#33

Each nomad member could rent long term (1-3 years) in a place he likes and then switch with —or sublease to— other members.

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#34

That wouldn’t really work unless you could be guaranteed swaps/rentals during the periods you wanted to be away. Everyone has such divergent schedules.

#35

You need a lot of members and could rent on AirBnB if it’s empty. It’s probably easier than

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#36

There is a ton of things we can still do to solve this problem. Right now I am almost finishing a journey around South America and this week I am pre-launching a new venture that focuses on booking nomad accommodation. Happening from Cochabamba, Bolivia :wink:

I plan to offer accommodation through a platform that will only list apartments, houses, or rooms that are well-prepared to allow a digital nomad to work from day one. This means, book your stay, jump on a plane, and once you arrive only worry about your work. Every service you like will be close by: cafes, co-work spaces, gyms or fitness centers, even laundries. Also, I aim to connect nomads between them throughout the platform so they can pin-point new places around, rate them, maybe even get exclusive deals ! @levelsio has already done an uber fantastic work with connecting people so we can only make it better and bigger.

We can also work together with companies so we push the remote work idea further than ever. Imagine companies seamlessly booking the stay for your next 6 months contract anywhere you like in the world, just like you book a hotel ! Without bothering about anything else other than you to comfortably live and work from day one. I just want to make it unbelievably easy for anybody to move around the world, knowing that upon arrival they have a nomad-perfect place to live and work, with all the amenities that nomads need or require.

If this sounds good to you and want to bring your 2 cents, please guys subscribe already on nomadstays.co (as nomads or hosts :P). There is a tiny form to fill so I will know better in which countries do I have to concentrate efforts to find apartments that fit the best our nomad criteria.

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#37

I suggest to consider workaway. It is very good way to stay with local families and help them with some of their work. The idea is that you help them up to a max. of 5 hours per day and in return you receive free accomodation and food. The rest of the day you can usually do what you want. Many hosts offer free internet service and therefore it is ideal for digital nomads.

I have done it for three months in Costa Rica in various locations. One was next to the largest national park. I was working there as a receptionist in a small local hostel and could even use the interenet while was on duty. Just a perfect arrangemtment for me. But i also worked on an organic farm in the mountains and at a finca close to the beach.

You can sign up as a workawayer at http://www.workaway.info.

#38

I’m very skeptical of this idea.

True, there are nomad houses popping up here and there, but I fail to see the critical mass (now), and way to achieve scale, which would make it feasible to address - this said problem.

Also, I’m in the camp that it’s not that much of a problem, yet.

Airbnb, Craigslist, forums, on the ground, FB groups, the list goes on.

I don’t see nomads who put in any effort have that much of a problem connecting. I see it as more of a cash problem.

Even that, the nature of the problem is dependent on the market and inventory.

Here in Hoch Minh City, it is quite easy to drop in, stay for a week and live like a local. I’ve seen it take an hour for some people to get set up with housing.

Back in New York, yeah - sure, you can do that. If you have a lot of money, and I don’t see that fact changing.

On Airbnb, I was an early adopter.

I remember being booked for SXSWi and using it to find cheap accommodations in Austin, due to the fact hotel prices were insane then.

It was a great value then.

Same when I would return to visit NYC.

Great value in the early days.

In some markets it’s still a good value, but I think that’s shrinking.

In fact though, I try to avoid Airbnb in some markets and go as local as possible.

The Airbnb market has now adjusted in a large portion of their markets. The hosts have caught on, Airbnb is now an entire “business” for many people, and Airbnb has a big incentive to get prices to a mean, which are right there below hotels.

Almost, not quite.

As far as CouchSurfing.

It’s a different culture, and I don’t see people taking on the financial risk of a nomad house, and not wanting to maximize the profit.

Why would you?

As a host of a house, it can get costly, tiring and - why would you not want to maximize your investment of time and return on a platform like Airbnb, which has scale.

The proposition doesn’t make financial sense to me.


If you really want to do something about - housing for nomads, I would think in terms of going after progressive hoteliers, regional hotel chains in key hubs.

Create a massive nomadic housing blueprint you license to them.

I would create an end to end customer journey map based on the nomadic experience, housing and leveraging their properties. Give them a specific blueprint on amenities, pricing, work centers, food, fitness, entertainment and “living like a local”.

Work with them on the implementation plan - and observe end to end, by mapping every single obvious trigger. Internet login (fucking pain) - sort it. Workspace (fucking pain) - sort it, etc.

These hoteliers are scared shitless of Airbnb, yet they do not even have the means to evaluate the nature of the threat in their analyses of markets and competition. It’s a horizontal market attacking them. Incumbents suck ass at evaluating and responding to horizontal threats.

Give them the antidote.

Airbnb is the “local experience”.

Further, they see the writing on the wall, but have no idea how to address the threat. The “business customer” that pays the bills is changing. As the J O B continues to die, and independent nomadic people take on the roll of the new middle class (mobile) - current hotels offerings are sorely out of date for the mode and impetus of nomadic travel, which will surely grow, but isn’t quite there yet.

With a partner approach, at least you have the potential to launch with scale versus having a house or a platform, which will lack inventory.

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#39

Thank you so much for contributing with your time to this Jon.

You are right, there is already AirBnB, and that is the answer I get from some people.
You say that there is no market, you are right with that too.

Also you have pointed out communities like FB, Craiglist. Yes, of course, there is also people who advertise their apartments on there since for ever.

You address my project like I want to build the next Airbnb. The reality is different, I am not even aiming to make a living from it, at least for now. Just this week few other old colleagues joined me in my venture and I made it clear that at the moment our target market (I prefer to call it community) is ridiculously small.

So what ? Google didn’t wait to get millions of users to address the searching problem. And I am sure that you don’t book your hotels by looking at the road signs and making a phone call once you land somewhere.

Enough funny things said. What I am trying to say is that I believe in this community and this way of living. I started to believe in it few years ago and for me it is a dream that I want to be living. It is so deep in my blood that I will make anything as a nomad to push this community further. Right now (and I repeat, you are probably right), there is maybe no need for it, but I believe there will be.

Don’t you think that there is a lot of people also awaiting to join you and live the dream you are already living in Vietnam ? Of course they are ! So instead of just staying “let’s stick with what we have" why not build something that fits this purpose specifically ? A website that keeps them away from having to filter, search, and filter more, until they find a place where they know they will be able to work comfortably, maybe even meet other nomads around, from day one ?

Did the founder of the first nomad house in Thailand waited for companies to start promoting their remote work offers ? No, he didn’t, and it wasn’t until individuals like @levelsio builded up services like remoteok.io that his pioneer idea started to make more sense than ever.

A while ago I became myself a nomad and for example in South America AirBnB really doesn’t make it.

  • They are overpriced (who would be paying more than 700 Euros for a decent apartment in Bolivia)
  • They don’t put me in contact straight away with other nomads, although I like to be with the community
  • They don’t offer me extra services or comfort I would like to have
  • The list goes on (for long) but there is no point in only chatting. I will build it first.

You talk also about the nomad houses. Actually, I didn’t even consider them when I brainstormed all this, and only yesterday (this is how fresh we are!) I was contacted with the founder of a nomad house in Austin, US, who sees my website as an opportunity to list his house and future ones.

And hell yeah, why not ? This is what it is all about ! Let’s move this forward.

In the future I want people to be able to book a comfortable place where they can actually live and work without even having to think before booking the stay if the place suits them. The most important thing for me here, is not to become rich. This is before anything a nomad making something for nomads.

If you would like I can even send you over the guidelines of my project, there is no reference to the green notes on it. It only expresses what I believe in, and the reason why I am building this.

On NomadStays I want to offer much more than a booking platform, so yes, it makes sense to build it. I don’t know where it will lead, maybe others will pop up with a much better infrastructure, but at least I will have done my part. In a way it’s only the top of the iceberg, I am only planting a seed. I believe that the work scene is only starting to shift, an for now still it makes no sense for people who think it is enough to use Airbnb, Facebook groups, email lists, and post-its on the streetlights of Bangkok or Bogota.

Sorry I don’t answer all your questions Jon. As I said before, I will build this and only then we will see if it’s worth or not :slight_smile:

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#40

No worries man, I wish you well in this venture. However, as I said, I was and remain skeptical.

I’m not seeing the parallels to the early stages of Google and search. The market for search was then - a broad stroke market.

Housing for nomads is a subset market of a market and a short stroke, immature market.

Also, like I said, there is a pricing tension in this market and having the inventory offline - actually works to our advantage.

Digital platforms bring pricing effencies to markets.

Much of the reason the pricing of housing in Saigon is so low compared to market is precisely for that reason.

Digital effencies and markets of scale have not touched the inventory.

You have to simply get here, get on the ground and work the streets.

That leads me to another point.

This is a perceived problem not a real problem and I see a lot of entrepreneurs go into denial and go down a rabbit hole due to anecdotal evidence and unsound business fundamentals.

Not to pull old man rank.

But, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. Been to over 30 countries. It has never been easier to find housing.

If you can’t find housing or connect to networks these days, either you’re lacking Google, a browser and Internet connection or just not cut out for this life.

As far as living the dream.

That’s easy.

The answer is through entrepreneurship, building real skills and businesses that make money - and raising your income.

Nobody is going to sustain this lifestyle through a low cost housing mentality and race to the bottom.

#41

Guys, maybe not relevant question. Inherently working remotely means that you can work from your home or work office. With all the SaaS tools we have. This remoteok.io has lots of job offers to work remotely. So what to you see, to people rather travel or in the future they will find work from hometown? And sure more likely persons with age between 20-30 will travel.