Essential Business

Sign up and tune into a community – Society to launch in Lisbon

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Society, a company that offers homes you don’t have to buy by creating personalised, design-led apartments in well-connected thriving neighbourhoods, is to move into the Lisbon market.

The brainchild of hotel entrepreneur Gerard Green, his revolutionary concept of flexible housing contracts underpinned by a seamless digital platform is aimed at young professionals used to travelling, living and working in different cities and whose nomadic lifestyle means they may not want the financial responsibility of taking on a mortgage or inflexible fixed-term rental contract.

“Lisbon is just the perfect city for us to launch Society, probably even more so than any other city in Europe” Gerard Green tells Essential at the Essentia Live #1 conference “Global Brands, Tourist Destinations and the Real Estate Market” which ran in Lisbon on Thursday. 

“For someone who has done deals all over the world, from Singapore to San Francisco, so far its been an incredible experience” says Green talking about his forays into housing and accommodation. 

“I have seen so much passion at this conference, that I don’t think I’ve seen at any other,” he said adding that with “so many people fighting our corner, I think Lisbon is going to be an incredible place to expand Society.”

Green says his innovative product is born of his experience as “natural-born hoteliers”. “Our aim is to take the hassle out of life. You’ll find us at each Society building and online 24/7. We help our members move and can organise weekly apartment cleaning or take care of food deliveries and even fix plumbing problems,” he explains.

Green believes that the traditional  full-service hotel concept is not threatened by the various innovative niche offerings in the hospitality market. 

“There’s a place for every type of hospitality offer, from co-living, which will become a new hospitality class, to micro-hotels like the Yotel which we did and the Mandarin Oriental and so forth,” he explains. 

For Green, the key is that it “always comes back to good customer service”. 

“Hospitality is ultimately about delivering good service and whether you edit that service through technology, or whether you draw on the community to provide services to each other, then that is still hospitality, in the same way that having three staff to every guest at the Mandarin Oriental is hospitality. 

“I think there’s a place for everything. I believe that the people who don’t invest in their people, their staff and guests — and that includes hospitality schools and training, — then they can’t provide hospitality and they will be the losers,” he warned.     

“My main message is that there is a younger generation that are travelling a lot, technology is having a big impact on our lives. We are creating residential and co-living communities that draw on influences from the hotel industry, with fantastic experiences and customer service all underpinned by a digital platform which makes life easier and fun, but ultimately it is about building communities,” he says.

“I believe that because the younger generation often aren’t able to afford to buy their own homes or because of their nomadic lives, the idea that you can rent apartments in different cities, that are flexible and you can ‘dial up and tune into’ a community really quickly is extremely appealing. With what we’re seeing with the co-working and startup businesses, the question is where are all these people going to live and we can be part of the answer.”


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