Hostmaker, one of the UK’s most high profile Airbnb property management companies, faces going into administration, it has been revealed.
The company behind the business, Flying Jamon Limited, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators at the High Court, The Times has reported, giving it until early March to keep the business afloat.
Hostmaker says it is in talks with several investors. Founded six years ago by former hotel industry strategist Nakul Sharma (left), it has raised £30 million during two funding rounds.
Armed with this cash, the business has expanded from London into Thailand, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Its model is to offer property owners and landlords the ability to rent their properties out via Airbnb using Hostmaker’s digital platform, while Hostmaker outsources and manages each booking.
Investors have got excited about platforms such as Hostmaker because, by piggy-backing the rise of Airbnb and other short-lets platforms, it was clear they could make significant margins and gain volume quickly.
But gaining market share and instruction proved to be expensive, as its most recent accounts show for 2018. That year Flying Jamon spent £9.9 million generating a £12 million turnover but had administrative expenses of £16 million and therefore made a loss of £14.3 million.
Hostmaker also got into hot water last year when its aggressive tube advertising was criticised for suggesting landlords should abandon long-term lets for short-term ones.
The company told The Negotiator at the time that it wanted to apologise for the tone of the ads and recognised that it was misguided.