Short-term property management startup Guesty has launched into the Australian market as short-term rentals, including Airbnb and HomeAway, continue to grow in popularity.
Founded in Israel, the privately held startup raised $US60 million ($86 million) in its latest round of funding earlier this year, led by Viola Growth.
There is limited data on the number of short-term rentals in Australia but property manager Made Comfy estimates there are 174,000 unique short-stay listings which have had a booking in the past six months on either Airbnb or HomeAway (previously Stayz).
In 2018, the short-term rental total reservation volume was estimated at $1.4 billion, with Sydney and Melbourne the main contributors.
It is a market that Guesty is keen to tap and co-founder and chief executive Amiad Soto said growing demand is being driven by travel becoming cheaper and more accessible to more of the population.
“Short-term rentals allow millennials, especially, but any traveller to have a much more local experience,” he said. “They get to feel like a local and understand what it is like to live there.”
Before opening an office we had millions of dollars in revenue here.Guesty CEO Amiad Soto
Guesty’s partners include Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, Agoda and TripAdvisor.
The startup offers property management companies on the platforms tools to manage their home-owner relationships: publishing properties across multiple platforms, providing dynamic pricing strategies, handling guest communications and assigning staff tasks.
It charges users a fixed fee per property each month, or a variable fee of between 2 per cent and 5 per cent, depending on users’ services and growth rates.
Mr Soto started Guesty in 2013 with his twin brother Koby after renting out a property on a short-term rental site and discovering there was “way too much work involved”.
Initially, the brothers focused on property management but then realised their “operational advantage” was in building the software for these businesses to use.
Guesty now has 310 employees worldwide and 11 offices around the globe, including its Sydney office.
“Short-term rental businesses are operated by people and they prefer a one-on-one approach,” Mr Soto said. “It allows us to be close to them and understand their needs better.”
While Guesty has just opened its Australian office, the startup has had customers in Australia for years, as it has had a global outlook from day one, said Mr Soto.
“Before opening an office we had millions of dollars in revenue here,” he said. “It is very much a blue ocean market, even though we are the biggest player by far we have a lot of room for growth.”
Short-term rentals in Australia have been the focus of scrutiny by regulators, with the Australian Tax Office putting hosts on notice earlier this year and criticism both from neighbours dealing with “party houses” and concerns about the impact on long-term rental availability.
Mr Soto said Guesty supports regulation in the sector, which focuses on security, safety and trust.
“Apartments that are not up to specific safety standards we need to look at,” he said. “By automating many of these procedures and producing things like tax reports, we provide so many tools to be compliant and make it easier to run these businesses.”
Source: Thanks smh.com