GuestReady is a unique online service that allows Airbnb hosts to professionally manage their property. Nearly two years old, the startup has attracted funding from the likes of Impulse VC, a fund backed by Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich to Swiss Founders Fund. To date, it has helped nearly 20,000 hosts in nine cities around the world.
Q: London has always prided itself on being a hub for start-ups and disruptive businesses. Did you find that for GuestReady in the early days?
London has been a great starting point for us and out of 5 cities we started our operations in, it has been the biggest success story for us, contributing approximately half of our business today.
London is a very large market in terms of number of properties, in terms of people, in terms of money and in terms of demand. According to our recent study, London has more than £110 million worth of short term rental potential in vacant properties, which is one of the biggest potentials in the world and makes it even more lucrative for us and our industry.
London is also full of potential clients, who are very open minded and acceptive of innovations in terms of new businesses and industries, not to mention capital that is available for the right idea.
It is a great business hub.
Q: Were there other cities that gave you any grief or relief when expanding abroad?
Every market has its own advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. So far, we have always been very lucky finding strong team members on the ground to navigate the intricacies of each of those markets and establishing ourselves as front runners of the industry. Our rapid growth and expansion into new markets is the testament of the success of this strategy. There are markets that are more complicated from the regulation perspective, but we always managed to navigate those markets through local expertise and thorough research. Some markets have been more receptive to our marketing practices than the others, but that only meant that we needed to adjust and find new avenues to reach potential hosts where usual practices failed. It is important that we stick to our philosophy, our expertise and trust our teams on the ground.
Q: GuestReady operates globally, but are there any regions or countries that you wish to focus on over the next two years?
We see huge potential in Europe and Asia, hence our focus on those two regions today and the foreseeable future. I think UK has still enormous potential not only in London, but also in the regions, hence our latest additions of Edinburgh and Manchester. We are not planning to stop at this either, as we plan to launch few more regional markets in UK before the end of this year. We also see big potential in Southern Europe, hence our latest additions of Cannes (FR) and Porto (PT) to our portfolio, which will be followed shortly by launch in Lisbon.
Dubai, another of our 2018 expansions, is another city worth mentioning as it has numerous UK property owners and is ideal location for city breaks as well as beach holidays. With the run up to Expo 2020 it becomes doubly lucrative.
Q: Unfortunately, it has become standard practice to ask about Brexit but it is a question that I nevertheless must ask: has Brexit affected your business in a particularly negative or positive way?
I guess you can never get away from this question, as it is a big factor in business, economy and everyday life of the UK and Europe overall.
For our company so far, Brexit hasn’t had much impact, but for the industry overall, it has played on our hands a little bit, as we have witnessed a slowdown in London property market. As properties for sale stay longer on the market, property owners have been turning towards short let to cover up the mortgages, which means higher demand for services that we provide. Some owners also try to increase their yields via short term rental with long term rental slowing down comparing to previous years.
Going forward I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out as there are still many unknowns that hopefully will be cleared out in upcoming year.