GuestReady launches, aims to 'professionalise' the Airbnb experience
By Chong Jinn Xiung August 17, 2016
- Launches in six cities, including KL and Singapore
- Its services help Airbnb hosts better manage their properties
IN recent years, platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, Couchsurfing and others have revolutionised the concept of home-sharing, allowing owners to rent out their rooms or entire homes to guests for short-term stays.
But there is a problem: While incentivised by guest ratings, there is no consistency in how well homeowners maintain their property.
Having personally experienced this in her professional career, self-described ‘digital nomad’ Tan Wen Dee and some friends have decided to solve this problem for homeowners with their London-headquartered startup, GuestReady.
GuestReady aims to professionalise the short-term rental industry by offering a set of hosting services designed to help real estate investors and Airbnb hosts better manage their properties and have them always ready for guests.
The service launched yesterday (Aug 16) across six cities: Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris and Singapore.
It provides Airbnb Management and Standalone Services such as property listing, guest communications, cleaning, laundry, toiletries, and guest check-in and check-out for what it claims is a hassle-free hosting experience.
During a phone interview with Digital News Asia (DNA), Tan – GuestReady cofounder and managing director of its Malaysian and Singaporean operations – said that during her days as a ‘digital nomad,’ staying at hotels and Airbnb accommodations was the norm.
“I enjoyed my homestay experience with Airbnb as some of the accommodations were just as good as a hotel. However, there were times when the host was not on par – which meant dirty premises or simply not providing basic amenities like soap and shampoo,” she said.
With this in mind, Tan and a group of friends – all former executives from Rocket Internet ventures such as Zalora, Foodpanda, Kaymu and Wimdu – decided “to do instead of just talk about the idea of GuestReady,” said Tan.
Her cofounders are Alex Limpert, Bertrand Desies, Lou Chan and Joana Van Kalker.
Realising the importance of local market familiarity, each cofounder acts as the country leader.
“We are all from a startup background, so we understood that from day one that it is absolutely crucial to localise the service to each market,” said Tan.
“This means making sure that we curate the best cleaning and laundry services for our hosts,” she added.
A benefit of outsourcing all the various aspects of keeping a property in top shape is that it keeps GuestReady asset light, a key component of startups looking to ride the wave of the sharing economy.
In preparation for GuestReady, Tan (pic above) managed two properties herself to experience first-hand the challenges in maintaining and managing a property for short-term stays.
“I know that Airbnb hosts … are often required to work long hours per booking to deliver an excellent guest experience. With the increasing demand for short-term rental stays, this can add up and create pressure on hosts, making it hard to cope,” she said.
Though the objective is to provide hotel-like service to guests, Tan and her cofounders nevertheless want to maintain the unique experience of Airbnb.
GuestReady operates on two pricing options. The first is a service fee of 12% to hosts on their Airbnb revenue. According to Tan, the more the hosts earn, the more GuestReady earns, thus aligning both sides to earn more.
The second is a fixed income option, where GuestReady evaluates the value of a host’s property on Airbnb and guarantees them a fixed monthly fee. It is currently looking at signing up hosts for three- to six-month contracts on this fixed fee model.
“I would say this is quite a bold move on our part, but it goes to show the amount of confidence we have in the Airbnb market,” Tan declared.
“We see this trend as the big opportunity for GuestReady. The sharing economy is exploding, with demand and supply at their highest levels in history,” she added.
Declining to be specific, Tan said GuestReady already has around 100 property listings in total, even at the prelaunch phase.
The startup is also backed by Switzerland-based Swiss Founders Fund with an undisclosed pre-seed round to kick off operations.
“We are definitely looking to expand, though at the moment our entire focus is on operations and in getting as much traction as possible,” said Tan.
The short-term goal is to expand to other cities within the countries it has launched in, with expansions to other countries to come later.
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