Starting a travel revolution

Tech April 30, 2017 12:56

By  ASINA PORNWASIN 
THE NATION

FAVSTAY AIMS TO EXPAND IN ASEAN AND CASH IN ON |RISING POPULARITY OF SHARE ACCOMMODATION 



SHARE accommodation is a trend that's growing rapidly around the globe, as it offers choices for tourists to experience a new way of living at each destination they go to. More service providers are entering the fray in many countries, including Thailand, opening up more opportunities for travellers and .

Favstay is a Thai start-up that came up with the concept of share accommodation in Thailand, and it aims to become a leader in non-|traditional forms of accommodation in Asean.

Early this month, Favstay raised US$2.88 million funding, with Dusit International as the lead strategic investor among three others, both Thai and international investors, included 500 Startups family. 

Suchada Taechotirote, co-founder and chief executive officer of Favstay, said that Favstay's goal is to cover 15 big cities in four other Asean countries - Vietnam and Laos in the first half of the year, and Cambodia and Malaysia in the second half of this year. It aims to sharply increase the number of [accommodation] listings, the number of guests, and the occupancy rate. 

Currently, there are 11,000 accommodation listings on Favstay.

Favstay has adjusted its business strategy since the middle of last year, turning its focus to international travellers because of the huge demand, wide understanding and familiarity with this kind of accommodation sharing service. 

As a result, now around 70 per cent of guests are international travellers.

Favstay is based on the same concept of sharing accommodation service, but it differs in the details, said Suchada. 

Favstay focuses on 'service' to enable guests have a comprehensively comfortable experience. 

"Service means we take care of the guests for their hosts including local transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation. Now we have a call centre in the Chinese and English languages for the convenience of our guests," said Suchada.

She said Favstay also differentiated itself by the quality of its listings, in terms of within and outside the accommodation, as well as the location of the place.

She admitted that competition in the business was rapidly increasing but said it was good for the industry as it would lift up the whole standard and tourists can enjoy a lot more choices. 

"We are an active platform for both guests and listings owners. We do both offline and online marketing campaigns so that our listings can deliver a higher occupancy |rate. Currently it is around 50 |to 60 per cent, which includes repeat customers. We hope to get more customers from recommendations by our guests as well," said Suchada.

Currently Favstay can be accessed via website, including mobile web. But the Favstay app will be launched by the end of 2017. 

Platforms offering accommodation

HousingAnywhere.com

The international exchange student-housing platform, HousingAnywhere.com, has raised Ä5 million (Bt188 million) this year in its latest |funding round. The Rotterdam-based start-up offers students housing options - from studios and single rooms to sublets and rental houses - to international students around the world. HousingAnywhere.com will use this Series A funding to accelerate its platform's growth and to expand to more university cities in western Europe and the US. The funding comes from Italian Real Web, owner of Italy's largest online housing platform, and Dutch venture capitalist henQ. 

Major funding comes from Real Web, the Italian company that owns the online real estate platform Immobiliare.it. Dutch VC henQ is also investing in HousingAnywhere.com. Previously henQ led a seed funding round for HousingAnywere.com, raising Ä1 million. 

At HousingAnywhere.com there are 32,307 places to rent, 47 countries, and 212 cities.

Airbnb 

Airbnb last month announced the launch of "Trips in Bangkok", following the global debut of this new platform in Los Angeles in November 2016. 

"Trips" moves the company beyond a home-sharing concept to an end-to-end hospitality solution comprising three core offerings: homes, experiences and places. 

Trips brings unique local experiences, insider guides and events designed and led by locals to guests staying with Airbnb and those not on the platform.

The company said that Thailand is an important and fast-growing market for Airbnb with a 149-per-cent increase in the number of Thais using the service to travel in the past year alone. And the appetite is not only for travelling on Airbnb. There has been a 93-per-cent year-on-year increase in the number of Thais wanting to share their homes.

Thailand is an incredible tourist destination, with inbound travel on Airbnb growing by 149 per cent in the last year alone.

Its community marketplace provides access to millions of unique accommodations from apartments and villas to castles and treehouses in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries.

onefinestay

It is the leading brand in the luxury segment of the serviced-homes market, combining the homes and the finest service. Leisure and business guests stay in hand-picked distinctive private homes with made-to-measure, personal service from a personal welcome on arrival to a team on call 24/7. 

For homeowners, onefinestay provides peace of mind, convenience and flexibility, by taking care of everything from marketing, distribution and insurance to screening each guest, to professional cleaning, management and maintenance.

Launched in 2010 in London, the company today operates a portfolio of 2,600 properties under exclusive management with strategic locations in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Rome.

AccorHotels, a leading global hotel operator, last year acquired onefinestay for Ä148m and makes a further commitment of Ä64m to help the company scale internationally.

HomeAway.co.th

HomeAway.co.th, formerly known as travel mob, is a social marketplace where travelling "Guests" can locate and book cool places owned by local "Hosts" in Asia Pacific. 

The unique places can be an extra cozy room, a cool loft or even a private villa. Guests can develop real connections with their hosts, live like a local and immerse themselves in the culture of their destination.

In July 2013, travelmob was acquired by HomeAway, Inc the world's leading online marketplace for vacation rentals. As part of the HomeAway family, we are continuing with our mission to reach out to global travellers who want an authentic travel experience in Asia Pacific.

Booking.com

Booking.com is the world leader in booking hotel and other accommodations online. It claims to offer the best prices for any type of property, from small independents to five-star luxury. 

Guests can access the Booking.com website anytime, anywhere from their desktops, mobile phones and tablet devices, and they do not pay booking fees. 

The Booking.com website is available in over 40 languages, offers over 1.1 million hotels and accommodations including more than 579,000 vacation rental properties and covers over 105,000 destinations in 225 countries and territories worldwide. It features over 112 million reviews written by guests after their stay, and attracts online visitors from both leisure and business markets around the globe.

Booking.com operates its own in-house customer service team, which is available 24/7 to assist guests in their native languages and ensure an exceptional customer experience.

Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of places to stay, recently announced the launch of its new accelerator programme, Booking.com Booster. Designed to identify, mentor and fund enterprising start-ups from around the world that are seeking to have a positive impact on the global tourism industry, the three-week programme taking place in June 2017 in Amsterdam will culminate in a chance to pitch for grants of up to Ä500,000 from Booking.com.

As an extension of the company's existing Booking.com Cares programme, an internal company initiative where employees partner with local NGOs on projects that help improve destinations worldwide, the goal of the new booster programme is to support start-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism in the following areas: protecting the environment, preserving cultural heritage and/or promoting inclusive growth in tourism that supports and develops local economies and communities.

Nornn.com

Nornn.com, is another Thai-based sharing accommodation platform which is designed an online one-stop property rental services with offers vast selections of short and long term rental properties. There is no extra cost, a service fee will be charged only after a reservation has been confirmed.