Co-living is a growing trend, locally and abroad. The life insurance joint venture of EastWest Bank and Ageas, Troo, embraced co-living early on as it just announced its third year anniversary of accommodating its trainees at MyTown, a pioneer in the rapidly expanding market for co-living in Metro Manila.
We sat down with JP de Castro, the Facilities and Administration Manager of Troo, to discuss Troo’s reasons for offtaking co-living units from MyTown so early on:
LM: What was the initial motivation for Troo to offtake co-living units?
JP: “New hires at Troo go through extensive training at the Manila head office to ensure they know and understand the company, its passion and its values. Prior to MyTown, we had to book mid-range hotel rooms as temporary housing for its trainees. This posed a difficult challenge, especially during the peak season. As a start-up company, we wanted to focus on ensuring cost-effective strategies by finding alternative options for hotel accommodation.
“But in 2016, there was no middle solution for us; there was only a hotel or a low-end dorm. We wanted both the convenience, security and quality of a hotel, but also the guaranteed beds and value-for-money of a dorm. And we wanted to provide our employees quality service without going over our budget. This is exactly what MyTown is. Work-life balance is important to Troo. And MyTown helps us make sure our trainees live it.”
LM: There are a number of co-living providers by now, why did you pick MyTown?
JP: “In 2016, when we started our operations, MyTown introduced its third building, MyTown New York, which came full with common areas and amenities such as a lap pool, gym, study room, convenience store, laundromat, and cinema. There was, and is, no co-living player who provides that kind of amenities to its tenants.”
“Moreover, through a series of ocular visits, we assessed MyTown’s compliance with building codes, standards of safety and security, living quarters, and corporate governance. MyTown was the only party who easily passed our compliance standards.”
“Finally, MyTown builds a partnership with trust, professionalism and flexibility that helps run a training center smoothly. It was important to us that we could trust an all-round housing provider that was flexible enough to deal with large-scale training operations.”
LM: How has Troo benefited from leasing co-living units for its trainees?
JP: “Firstly, Troo employees get to enjoy top-class and worry-free accommodation where they can combine leisure and learning to stay on top of their careers, because they can enjoy all the benefits of staying at a premier co-living space with modern amenities.
“Secondly, MyTown guarantees bed availability, either a floor or the entire building. This really gives us peace of mind, especially during peak season when most hotels are full. Troo values MyTown’s flexibility as it is always on top of bookings to accommodate last-minute changes in checking in and out, stay extensions, and even transfers.”
“Thirdly, MyTown enables our Troopers to achieve work-life balance by organizing exclusive classes, events and workshops for leisure and learning for trainees. There are also monthly social, educational or wellness events for tenants, and they provide additional services such as transportation, daily meal plans, housekeeping, and even out-of-town trips.
“Lastly, MyTown provides better value-for-money compared to alternative housing options, as well as traditional HR benefits typically extended to employees. And I don’t have to worry about budget overruns, since MyTown has no hidden charges or rate hikes during peak season.”
LM: We reached out to MyTown to ask how they have experienced its partnership with Troo.
Jelmer Ikink, Group Director of Philippines Urban Living Solutions – the company behind MyTown: “Troo’s background as a start-up looking to shake things up is very similar to ours, so we were able to quickly understand each other exactly three years ago. We are very happy to continue our strong partnership as their sole corporate staff housing provider. We look forward to a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with Troo, and will continue to help Troopers have a higher quality after-work life by making sure that they co-live the dream with us.”
Troo is the life insurance joint venture of EastWest Bank and Ageas in the Philippines.
MyTown is the pioneer of co-living for young professionals in the Philippines, catering to the BGC and Makati central business district. The brand boasts of world-class accommodations with impeccable amenities to help young professionals achieve work-life balance while providing tailor-fit needs to corporate clients for staff housing.