Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic

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Booking a room on the phone, ordering food from an app and shopping online with smart lockers, people are increasingly using technology, changing the habits of consumers.


Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic

At present, home-sharing is no longer simply renting out unused apartments. It has become a real estate investment channel with the highest level of development in the world.

Nguyen Van, 25, who owns a homestay business in Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, said that her house, which is leased in the form of homestay, has a modern layout located in the city center, and is always fully booked.

During the tourist season and national holidays, homestay is a favorite form of accommodation chosen by a large number of tourists for the competitive prices, usage values and novel experiences. Paying from VND500,000 ($23), through online homestay booking channels, tourists can hire an apartment equivalent to a 3-star hotel. Homestay has become popular as it is imbued with local culture, while offering a cozy feeling “like at home”.

According to Outbox Consulting’s Homesharing Vietnam Insights 2019 report, within nearly four years, the number of listings on Airbnb in Vietnam increased more than 40 times, from 1,000 in 2015 to more than 40,000 in early 2019. Particularly, the annual growth rate of listings in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang fluctuates around 100%.

The report also shows that up to 69% of listings on the Airbnb platform in Vietnam are multi-listing hosts, i.e. people who have more than one apartment/room for rent at the same time. The average revenue of an apartment/room for rent per month on Airbnb in HCM City is VND8.3 million ($400) for the low season and VND11.5 million ($500) for the high season.

According to this report, in the future, along with the optimistic development of Vietnam’s tourism industry, home-sharing promises to be an attractive investment model, contributing to diversifying forms of accommodation for tourists in Vietnam.

Shared kitchen

Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic

Located in Thu Duc district, the GrabKitchen invested by Grab has been operating since October 2019. This is the first multi-brand sharing kitchen model in Vietnam.

Shared kitchens – also known as “cloud” kitchens – provide a central space where restaurants prepare food exclusively for takeout. GrabKitchen operates from 8am to 10pm. Each unit has its own kitchen, which is equipped with basic furniture and an order taking machine. The processing tools are installed by the restaurant itself. Grab does not charge for space rent, but only charges for electricity, water and a ‘commission’ on orders.

Jerry Lim, Director of Grab Vietnam, said: “We chose Thu Duc City because according to the data collected by Grab, the orders for fast food here are very large, thanks to the young customers from many universities located here.”

However, not everyone can participate in this model. Grab only invites brands with unique dishes, favored by Grab’s customers, having standard cooking processes. Once a restaurant joins GrabKitchen, it will be subject to quality control as well as food safety and hygiene issues. As a member of GrabKitchen, restaurants/stores only send their chefs to the kitchen to prepare food, and the others such as marketing – sales or logistics are performed by Grab.

This model has mushroomed in China and India, and is flourishing in many Asian markets. GrabKitchen first launched in Indonesia. In addition, other names can be mentioned such as Panda Selected (China), Cafe Coffee Day, BOX8 (India), Sentoen (Japan). Shared kitchens are expected to explode in the near future, as a necessary step to support the development of the food delivery industry, Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) concluded.

With this model, delivery time is 33% faster than normal, while users can order many dishes from many different brands at the same time with just one order. This, the shipping fee will be cheaper.

“In China, 62% of users of food delivery apps are 29 years old or younger. The rate keeps increasing because the younger generation is very fond of this. This will be the main factor driving the growth explosion for the upcoming shared kitchen model,” said Tyson Wang, Retail Specialist at JLL East China, said.

Shared lockboxes

Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic

After the shared kitchen model, shared cabinets have appeared on the e-commerce market. Smart lockers and goods pick-up at fixed locations are a prominent trend. Customers can order goods online and then choose a pickup location that is most convenient for them. For smart lockers, customers receive a password to unlock the cabinet to receive the goods after completing the online order.

According to JLL, the boom in online shopping has led retailers and logistics providers to look for new ways to deliver orders as quickly and efficiently as possible. Parcel lockers or store pick-up options are among the latest delivery options for shoppers. For store pick-up, shoppers can visit the nearest stores for their package after checking out online. For parcel lockers, shoppers receive a QR or SMS code upon checkout that will open the locker once the parcel is delivered.

In the future, refrigerators for food orders may also become popular in urban areas in Vietnam, JLL said.

Delivery service DHL has a network of 340,000 lockers in Germany, and major British fashion giants like ASOS have also invested in lockers to allow customers to return products anytime they want.

Sports brand Decathlon has also ordered 1,500 lockers to support its click-and-collect delivery option. These boxes are even creatively used as self-checking device for many Airbnb homes, with house keys stored in a lockbox with a unique code provided only to registered guests. The landlord will put the key in the lock box and the tenant can follow the instructions to check in.

“The accelerated growth is both good and bad news for retailers, who are in need of better delivery options to tackle the challenges of last mile deliveries from warehouses to homes and offices. Trying to deliver packages to customers who aren’t at home can cause delays on delivery routes, while getting orders to individual addresses often means putting vehicles on the roads before they’re full, raising costs and contributing to city center congestion and air pollution,” Stephen Wyatt, Country Head of JLL Vietnam said.

According to JLL, a good location for lockers depends on retailer customer profiles – how frequently customers order and where they live. Wyatt said this is where big data can provide insight into the most effective locations. What’s key is that customers can pick up the parcel along their usual journey, without a detour. Furthermore, lockers need to be in secure locations with good surveillance to minimize the risk of theft or vandalism.

The sharing economy has been flourishing in many industries but also requires certain conditions. For example, with a home-sharing business, participants must have a clear business strategy, specific understanding of the market and business environment as well as competitors, thereby optimizing revenue and room rental capacity. For the shared kitchen model, to save costs, kitchen owners can offer an attractive revenue-based discount policy with the shared kitchen operator.

Duy Anh

Traditional markets and groceries still hold the largest share of the consumer retail market, but new business models are scrambling for a piece of the pie.

E-commerce platforms in Vietnam have seen the number of new users grow by 41% since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the new users said they would continue to use the new form of shopping even after the epidemic ends.

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