Many traditional high street worry about the threat from online and hybrid agencies, but a new digital competitor is fast establishing itself too – the Airbnb management company.
The biggest in the UK is GuestReady, a proptech startup that offers a management service to owners of Airbnb properties.
It has today announced that it has raised £2.3 million in seed funding to expand its business outside London.
The company, which recently acquired London-based competitor Easy Rental Services, has told The Negotiator that it now has 300 properties under management in the capital.
The new funding for GuestRead also includes some heavyweight backing from famous venture capitalists including Impulse VC, which is backed by Roman Abramovich and Xponova, backed by LastMinute.com CEO Fabio Cannavale (pictured, let).
The rapid spread of Airbnb and management companies like GuestReady which manage properties on owners’ behalves, has begun to worry many agents as Airbnb begins to eat into the short-term rental market in many cities, once the preserve of traditional letting agents.
Airbnb hosts are not supposed to rent their properties out for more than 90 days, a regulation the website announced in December last year, but a recent report by the Institute of PublicPolicy Research (IPPR) revealed that 11% of Airbnb listings in London were for more than six months.
The IPPR said it found that some landlords were removing properties from the long-term rental market and offering their properties for rent on a series of short-term lets instead.
In London there are currently approximately 50,000 live Airbnb listings, according to consultancy Airdna, an increase of 100% compared to the start of 2015.
GuestReady was Initially started as a platform for individual activities like cleaning, laundry, and managing the check-in and check-out of guests, but has has morphed into fully managing properties that they advertised on Airbnb as well as other short-term let websites including HomeAway.com and Booking.com
It also operates in other markets including Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and, following the acquisition of Easy Rental Services, now manages nearly a thousand properties.