Airbnb’s rich history goes back to 2007 when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford rent on their San Francisco apartment. To raise the rent fee, they turned it into a lodging space for travelers during a conference because there were limited spaces in the hotels in town. Seeing the idea’s attractiveness, they decided to patent and venture into the business. Out of a miserable situation, they created one of the most revolutionizing ideas in the industry, Airbnb. After its emergence, several other companies have used the same idea to create a platform for travelers to enjoy home-like housing services. In this article, we shall look at other companies like Airbnb.
Wimdu is based in Germany and attracts most of its clients from Europe. The company is powered by HomeToGo, a search engine for accommodation. HomeToGo is still the principal operator of Tripping.Com. Currently, it boasts of more than 350,000 registered rentals. From the water shows of Spain to the studio apartments in Paris, you can easily book a house using Wimdu.
It exploits the opportunity left out by Airbnb in offering rental services across the pond. Wimdu offers you an easy and pleasant booking and unique rental experience that is simple in its navigation, enabling you to get on your way to the best vacation. Arne Bleckwenn, Gergo Kalcsics, Emilian Popa, Karim Hardane, Hinrich Dreiling, and Marius Luther founded the company in March 2011. It has a capital funding of more than $ 90 million. Kinnevik and Rocket Internet are the latest known investors in Wimdu.
9. Glamping Hub
If you are eco-sensitive and a great promoter of glamping, then Glamping hub is your best company for booking a house. It majors on luxury camping accommodations with top-notch amenities and services. Like Airbnb, the company was founded by two friends: Ruben Martinez and David Troya. Their main idea was to find a business venture to strengthen their relationship. In 2016, they raised more than $1 million in funding, which they used to streamline their business operations.
The company boasts more than 22,000 campsites, unique accommodations, and ranches. Guests have the rare opportunity to rent any accommodation, from luxury treehouses to traditional Mongolian hurt tents. In addition, you can access train cabooses which have been converted into leaving places. The main difference between Airbnb is that it focuses not only on glamping but also on outdoor-style accommodations. Glamping Hub has revolutionized camping by giving it more flavor. It takes away the tedious work of carrying temporary structures for camping. All their properties are in quiet, isolated areas where you can enjoy your stay with the highest privacy levels.
Brian Egan and Adam Sherry saw how guests were stressed and overcharged by some hotels and lodgings and decided to solve this problem. Evolve started in 20211 and has its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. It focuses its attention on the U.S and its surroundings. Currently, it enjoys more than 18,000 vacation homes in over 700 destinations in the U.S. Evolve focuses on properties in popular cities, beach locations, and rural getaways. It focuses more on the hospitality side of vacation, just like Airbnb.
The main difference between Airbnb and Evolve is that it focuses on better customer service. They define their properties as safe, clean, and welcoming, and they should outshine the photos they send to potential customers. According to Independent Car Travels, Evolve CEO stated in a Forbes interview in 2020 that, ”… it is our job to ensure that guests enjoy a 5-star experience while staying in an Evolve home.”
The company was founded by Nils Regge in 2003 and was later acquired by HomeToGo for an undisclosed amount. Casamundo is a large booking platform with more than 400,000 vacation homes worldwide. It has positioned itself as one of the leading providers of personal rentals in Europe, especially in the German travel industry. Casamundo has one of the most exceptional guest services.
To improve service delivery, the company sends personalized selections of vacation options to guide guests in making the most appropriate choice. The company has majored in service provision in Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Sweden. In recognition of its service, the German TUV Saarland Certification honored Casamundo with the ‘Very Good’ seal in 2014 to honor its excellence in service provision. The company enlists small rental owners, hotels, and tour operators.
Suppose you are not a fan of the dominant players in the accommodation market. In that case, you can list your property with HouseTrip. It is a new start-up that has gained momentum very fast. Arnaud Bertrand and JunJun Chen founded the company in 2010. The Lausanne, Switzerland, company provides holiday rentals on a peer-to-peer model. It enjoys more than 20,000 destinations and has attracted 300,000 properties. HouseTrip received funding of $60 million, which helped it in its expansion mission.
Unlike Airbnb, which offers room provisions, HouseTrip focuses on enlisting homes. With them, you feel like being in a new home when traveling. Hiring a home has proven to be cheaper than a room. You have unlimited access to a self-controlled compound and can be sure of enhanced security. It allows hosting social activities such as parties even when you are away from home. Other than providing an engagement platform, it allows the host and the guest to engage in direct bargaining. However, it pays attention to possible overcharging.
Homestay came into the rental vacation business in 2013 through Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn, veterans in the travel. Their vision was to make homestays and private rooms a popular accommodation in different parts of the world. It covers more than 176 countries and over 63,000 homes and room listings. Most of their properties are in Europe (mainly U.K) and major cities such as London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Paris.
Though it uses some aspects of Airbnb, it stands out because it allows the guest to directly engage with the actual property owner and experience a new neighborhood setting. With a home, you get the advantage of learning about new communities’ cultures and can easily travel with your pets. You can book short or long-term homestays on this website. They offer a 5 % discount when you book a house using their platform.
4. Plum Guide
Plum Guide is one of the new forces in the vacation rental business. It was launched in 2016. Plum Guide has offices in New York and Hong Kong and is headquartered in London. Between 2016 and 2019, the company has been fundraising from angel investors and other business entities such as Tails Ventures, Latitude, and Hearst. More than 12,000-holiday homes have already registered with Plum Guide so far. The company has attracted properties from major cities such as Los Angeles, Paris, and Rome.
It has also attracted properties in rural areas and smaller towns. It is similar to Airbnb because it encourages peer-to-peer vacation rental trading. Unlike Airbnb, which is open to many properties, Plum Guide sends an officer to conduct a pre-listing exercise before it is admitted on its website. The pre-listing assessment ensures that the company is sure of the nature and standard of the property to which its guests will get access. In addition, it helps in getting rid of scrupulous listings.
Booking.com was founded in 1996 in Amsterdam and has grown from a small Dutch company to one of the world’s best digital travel companies. The company is owned by Booking Holdings and has more than 28 million listings. Its initial mission was to make it easier for guests to experience and travel the world. Booking.com allows guests to book hotels and rental properties in the nearest location in the world. Over 6 million properties have already been registered with the company.
Its importance is felt in more than 200 countries. The main market targets have been Europe, Australia, Asia, North America, and South Africa. Due to its extended stay in the market, it has been able to upgrade its customer-host interactions to the most satisfactory level. It attracts more than 1.5-million-night rooms booked through its platforms daily. Booking.com has partnered with Trip.Com Group, Panorama Group, and Ural Airlines to maximize customer reach worldwide.
TripAdvisor is arguably the most excellent travel guide company in the world. Its website also allows guests to book rentals, hotel rooms, and homes. Needham, MA, houses its headquarters. TripAdvisor was founded by Stephen Kaufer, Langley Steinert, Thomas Palka, and Nick Shanny in 2000. They obtained seed money from the Ballard Group and Flagship Ventures, among other private investors.
Initially, the business focused on offering travel destinations, but it later incorporated accommodation services among its many services. Besides the regular rental services, it also lists bed and breakfasts. Due to the adoption of IT solutions, like their own app, the company has been reducing its workforce. TripAdvisor is currently available as a mobile app in many countries.
Vrbo is one of the most experienced vacation rentals in the world. It was founded in 1995, and its headquarters are in Austin, Texas. Vrbo specializes in special accommodations such as beach houses, condos, villas, cabins, boats, and castles. According to Craft, the company has experienced continuous and straight-curve profit growth, with over 15.9 million visitors logging in to the website every month. Currently, its main shareholder is Expedia Group.
Compared to Airbnb, it has enlisted more extensive and high-end homes making the accommodation of groups and families easier. It is similar to Airbnb by enabling guests to cancel at a lower cost. Property managers who channel their bookings through Vrbo pay between 12-15% commission fee. On average, 1.5million night bookings are made on this platform. It has enlisted properties in 220 countries.
The Future of Airbnb and Other Similar Companies
As the demand for online rental platforms increases, some issues will pop up. Foremost is the use of these sites collecting personal data without the permission of the guests. For example, when you log into their website and book a room, a third party can predict your location without your consent. Secondly, they create an opportunity for group cyberbullying of a particular business. Some give free access to their comments section without visiting a rental.
This means that malicious persons can take advantage of such situations and damage the reputation of a good business. In addition, some are not regulating the listing process. With few control tools, businesses can manipulate innocent guests on these platforms. There is a need to devise means of filtering any information given to the guests. Whereas they have accommodation services as their primary service, they ensure that they have adequate mechanisms to protect guests’ data.
Government should pass laws to enforce privacy laws in these companies. Lastly, they are becoming a national security threat, and it is time for governments to consider buying shares from them. Imagine a situation where the top online accommodation companies deliberately shut down or are simultaneously hacked. The impact on the tourism industry will be monumental, and it must disturb the stock markets.
Airbnb remains a force to reckon with in the virtual renting business. However, it should pay attention to emerging similar companies. They have proved to be very aggressive in their market strategies. When all this competition is stiffening, the greatest beneficiary is the guest. It means that there will be better customer care services at lower prices. Others have successfully identified the market gaps left out by Airbnb and filled them. Tourism will thrive better where more companies are available.
Guests must also be more aware of what to look for when comparing these companies. They should go beyond the contents of their comments section and prices. Availability, accessibility, and security are the new factors that guests must have a look at. After the ethical issues have been fully addressed, these companies will enable us to travel and enjoy the world in a more comforting way.