In travel tech, 4 rivals merge in Europe to form Altido for property management of Airbnb-style homes

The growth of Airbnb and other big travel startups has given a
fillip to the wider travel industry, and today several smaller
startups in the short-term property sector are announcing that they
have merged to tackle the opportunity with more scale.

The UK’s BnbBuddy and The London Residents Club, along with
both Hintown from Italy and RentExperience from Portugal — all
companies that help manage properties that are listed on platforms
like Airbnb — have combined to form a new startup called Altido.

Going into the merger, all four were profitable, having all been
boostrapped from day one. But Michael Allen, the MD of the
BnbBuddy, said that now the combined entity is using its scale and
raising outside funding to grow the business. Altido is looking to
raise a Series A in the tens of millions of dollars. It is not
disclosing its valuation currently although the fact that it
already has an international presence and profitability have helped
it in this area, Allen said.

The combined company will have about 1,700 properties under
management in 21 European destinations, which it will be using as
the anchor for an aggressive push both on existing markets as well
as other parts of Europe and beyond. There is a long way to go: as
a point of comparison, when Guesty
— which provides services to manage rentals of private homes on
Airbnb and other services —
announced $35 million in funding
in March, the number of
properties managed on its platform had reached 100,000 across 70
countries.

Other competitors will include the platforms themselves where
these properties are getting listed: as Airbnb inches to an IPO,
it’s adding ever more services and features to its platform to
diversify its revenue streams and also bring in more revenues per
customer. (As we’ve said before, that could also make Altido and
others like it acquisition targets.)

The growth of Altido’s individual businesses up to now has
been on the back of the massive growth surge we’ve seen around
platforms — marketplaces, to be more precise — that help people
easily list and rent out travel accommodation in private homes as
an alternative to hotels; and would-be visitors to find, book and
pay for these in an efficient and reliable way, alongside a wider
growth of self-catering accommodations that exist as alternative to
traditional hotels.

The wider market for “homesharing”, as the first of these
categories is sometimes called, has become massive — with Airbnb,
the outsized startup leading the charge, now valued at $35 billion
— and it now accounts for some 20 percent of the supply of rooms
globally by Altido’s estimate.

Some property owners are happy to play host and run and manage
their own listings on these platforms — which include the likes
of Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO, and many others — but a big part of
the scaling of these services has come by way of third-party
management companies that handle different aspects of those
listings, from cleaning before and after guests and stocking
kitchens and bathrooms with consumables; to managing the
relationship with the visitors; to managing the listings
themselves.

Altido provides an end-to-end service for those who do not want
to play host, alongside a business where it also helps maintain and
manage service apartments and aparthotels and guesthouses.

Today the companies that make up Altido rely on third-party
platforms to disseminate all those listings, but longer-term, the
plan will be to build out more services to offer listings directly
as well, alongside more technology to help hosts and other
management companies optimise pricing and details around the
properties themselves to make them more attractive.

“We see tech as a big enabler,” Goncalo Ribeiro, the
founder of RentExperience, said in an interview. He said that his
company already has proprietary algorithms that it uses to help
calculate property risk factors, which it already uses and will
roll out across the whole of the merged company, and the different
operations have already been building technology to help onboard
properties more efficiently. Areas that it hopes to address include
“regulation risk, potential growth rates, historic market data,
marketing calculations and more. Any decision we take we want to be
proven by data.”

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
In travel tech, 4 rivals merge in Europe to form Altido for property management of Airbnb-style homes