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How We Adapt During the Pandemic, Converting Resorts to Coliving Spaces – The Founders’ Story of Baybayin Hub, Philippines

Being a hostel owner in the hospitality and tourism industry, I was one of the very people who faced the imminent threat of closing down the business during the pandemic.

When our government declared the initial nationwide lockdown, I thought it was temporary. Maybe a month or two at most and everything will return to normal. And as instructed by the government to help stop the spread of the virus, we followed the protocol and closed our hostel for a month.

When the announcement of the extension of the lockdown came, fear came over me as I saw the drop of our occupancy from full capacity to zero. Just like everyone else, we held our breath for what is to come.

This prompted me to think and plan ahead as our finances will leave us no choice but to permanently close our hostel if we are to have no revenue for the next two to three months. This is something I am not ready to do or even willing to entertain the possibility of as I have a responsibility as a hostel owner to my staff. I had to come up with a solution and act fast.

Birth of Baybayin Hub

Baybayin Hub Founders, Orly (right) and Rey (left)

Like most people, no one thought this pandemic will last this long and may last longer. Sadly, many businesses will continue to struggle and will eventually close. The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the hardest hit businesses across the globe and I have witnessed the closing of hotels, resorts and all the hospitality establishments.

For us to succeed in adapting to the ‘new normal’, we all must adjust to the needs and demands of our new customers, the digital nomads and remote workers.

In order for our hostel to survive, I pivoted and converted our hostel into a co-working and co-living space.

I came to realize that the 16 years of working remotely prepared me and gave me the edge to foresee the needs of digital nomads and remote workers. It came naturally for me create and design spaces that specifically caters to their needs as a remote worker and what could be done to further improve their stay by integrating the human factor in their technological needs.

This allowed them to perform their tasks in an environment that caters to other aspects of their lives. We launched the revamped business model and I invited freelancers and remote workers to stay with us for long term lease during lockdown.

Within a few months, we successfully booked all our rooms for long term lease and saw an increase in our net income despite the pandemic. We moved from barely surviving to thriving.

New opportunities

My newly converted hostel to a co-living and co-working space caught the attention of a friend. She introduced me to an associate who needed help with his resort via Zoom. I gave them a brief idea of what I did and he believed in the vision. I soon found myself driving to the resort. I duplicated and tweaked what I implemented in my hostel to a 3 hectare eco-resort and trained the owner and the staff.

A few weeks later, we launched the new business model for his resort and booked long term guests which are remote workers. We were overwhelmed and surprised at the success of his newly converted vacation resort to a co-working and co-living eco-resort.

After the success of converting my hostel and the eco-resort to a co-living and co-working space, I found that many establishments in the hospitality industry were interested and seeking help in how I turned this potential tragedy of losing my business to a solution that could really help them. I started receiving calls from different hospitality business owners requesting for my services to convert their business to a co-living and co-working establishment.

I started to study how I can assist establishments in the hospitality industry and help them convert their businesses to accommodate the needs of the digital nomads and remote workers.

Each hospitality business is unique and made up differently so I developed a plan to convert spaces for co-living and co-working hub and convinced the business owners to create a program that would allow guests for medium to long term stay rates with access to their kitchen or discounts on their restaurants and bar. In addition, we convinced them to convert their private function rooms to a co-working or common space.

The overwhelming request for this service took us by surprise. We came to find that there are a lot of local digital nomads and remote workers in the Philippines who are looking for this kind accommodation.

The pandemic surely has changed the way we work. We are now mostly conducting our business and work within the four corners of our home.

People, not only digital nomads and remote workers are looking for alternative places where they can proceed with their professional lives while also being able to return to some form of normalcy prior to the all these lockdowns.

Baybayin Hub has delivered the chance for digital nomads, remote workers and everyone else to conduct their work safely in their choice of location.

Pearl of the Orient Seas

The Philippines is a beautiful country found in an archipelago in Southeast Asia. It boasts of biological and cultural diversity that cannot be found elsewhere. Beaches whose fine white sands lick the middle of the ocean, lush forests hiding secret lagoons, active volcanoes whose lava can be seen trickling down the mountains, emerald green rice fields nestled at the foot of water falls and many more.

Being home to over 7,000 beautiful islands, the Philippines makes for a perfect country to be a digital nomad.

There is an island that suits every taste and with Baybayin Hub Philippines, working and living in paradise becomes easy.

To date, Baybayin Hub has established partnership with beach resorts, mountain resorts, farm resorts, hotels, hostels, boutique resorts, unique properties and many more that are located all over the country. Each establishment can accommodate medium to long terms stays and can cater to the needs of every digital nomad and remote worker without breaking the bank.

The trends of the ‘new normal’ have definitely reshaped the way we live and work. And while it gets mentally challenging at most times, we are lucky to have been presented with opportunities for flexible and affordable sanity breaks in the form of Baybayin Hub.

Community

Many of the people I have encountered in my 16 years of working as a remote worker remains to this day good friends of mine. And as I have observed with the residents of my coworking and co-living space, they too have created connections with the people they live with that will remain long after they have left the hub. This connection is what inspired me most.

Baybayin Hub’s coworking and co-living space is a curated community that gives importance to every individuals’ holistic wellness. A harmonious place where every custom is welcome and appreciated and skills are shared and learned with each other. Our community is an environment of safety and home to most people as our relationships to each other grow with respect as we learn and experience new things together.

Baybayin Hub community is a fast growing movement. There’s only a handful of people who practice the work anywhere lifestyle and that has a deeper understanding about what a co-living space really is about.

And in this crisis, it is not only the work and business we need to pivot, it is also our mindset that needs to shift for us to accept and embrace the new normal before anything else.

We focus on encouraging people to take a look at their lives and self-reflect on what really matters with the support of like-minded individuals. To constantly remind ourselves about compassion, humility and empathy. To adopt in these times we call “New Normal”.

People

What I am most proud about with Baybayin Hub is that it not only showcases the natural beauty of the Philippines but the genuine warmth and hospitality of Filipinos.

Baybayin Hub owes a lot of its success to the Filipinos natural openness to everyone. Filipinos are known all over the world for their kindness, warmth, generosity and their genuine smile. These traits makes anyone from all walks of life feel the like they are at home with us. We Filipinos are naturally happy, loving people and it extends to everyone we meet. Baybayin Hub community is guaranteed to make you feel welcome and accepted no matter where you come from.

People more than anything else, is what’s most important to us. We at Baybayin Hub, not only offers paradise and a safe place where you can conduct your work but a place that will open you up to the world by the means of the people you encounter.

Baybayin Hub’s intention is to integrate a work life balance that will help you achieve and enjoy a fuller life while meeting your responsibilities. We present you with opportunities for flexible and affordable sanity breaks in the form of Baybayin Hub. So , if you’re ready to become a part of our growing community of digital nomads and remote workers, simply become a member of Baybayin Hub’s community and get ready to be swept off your feet by the multitude of possibilities awaiting. After all, with the rate the world is going, it seems like remote working is here to stay.

Work, Stay & Explore Ilocos Norte , Philippines!

If you want to know more about becoming a digital nomad, simply head to https://www.baybayinhub.com/ and start browsing. Or start a conversation with us by shooting us an email at baybayinhub.philippines@gmail.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article. Come on down to Birdland Beach Club where we now have converge fiber at 400 mbps and back up PLDT fiber at 150mbps. Thanks for the pictures of our resort in the article.

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