Homestay.com has secured US$3 million in funding, led by the venture capital firm Delta Partners and supported by Enterprise Ireland, and has acquired Berlin-based entity Homestaybooking.com, the company announced today.
The moves help expand and accelerate the global footprint of Homestay.com as the US$13 billion private accommodation marketplace continues to grow and begins to segment. The acquisition puts Homestay.com in a leadership role in the rapidly developing hosted lodging segment.
The funding and acquisition will allow Homestay.com to create a single destination online where guests and hosts looking to share experiences can find each other. As the market continues to segment and competition for lodging options grows, homeowners with rooms to rent are looking for a place where they can be more easily discovered, grow their community and stand out. Homestay.com offers hosts all of these opportunities.
The acquisition of HomestayBooking will make it even easier for guests to find the right homestay experience for their needs. HomestayBooking is one of a small number of private accommodation aggregators focused specifically on the host-is-present model. Launched in 2007, its global marketplace includes listings in more than 30 countries, 70,000 guest accounts and support for five languages.
The acquisition brings the total number of worldwide host listings on Homestay.com to more than 25,000. Already seeing 100% month-on-month increases before today’s news, HomestayBooking’s acquisition further doubles Homestay.com’s booking volume rate growth.
Homestay.com, recently recognised by PhoCusWright as a travel innovator, expects to complete the technical integration of the listings within six months. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“With this acquisition and funding, Homestay.com is positioned to become the leading hosted travel experience marketplace on the Internet, and the homestay travel experience is officially on the radar of experiential travelers worldwide,” said Alan Clarke, CEO of Homestay.com.
“These developments will support the growth of new listings and the community building efforts that will help our hosts succeed, and our guests discover and share their incredible new hosted lodging experiences. The recent moves in the industry to consolidate and specialise their accommodation brands speaks to a more sophisticated traveller looking for a personalised, local experience that can’t be met by the typical hotel – even one with a good concierge. Homestay.com’s hosts can offer that.”
“I am excited by the new opportunities for our homestay hosts and guests to connect globally by being part of Homestay.com,” said HomestayBooking founder Olaf Börner.
The funding will allow the development of new products and services targeting the growing community of travelers seeking host-is-present accommodation options, including additional language support, new applications, mobile device integration and other services that will help hosts better reach savvy travelers.
For travellers, the acquisition and funding means more choices, better accommodation options, more opportunity to create a truly personalized experience, and the opportunity to connect not only with great hosts, but other, like-minded travellers.
For hosts, the news means another step toward a unified marketplace for host-present accommodation listings. Homestays are an increasingly popular alternative lodging option for event planners as well, and Homestay.com offers tools and services to help hosts, property owners and event planners manage accommodation options.
Homestay.com’s host-present lodging option enhances the travel experience through the hospitality and local knowledge of the host. Homestay.com matches guests searching for accommodations with hosts who want to rent a room on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. It also offers a platform for managing and creating one off host networks, opening up new ways for property owners, aggregators and event managers to reach and serve potential guests.
Hostelworld.com co-founder Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn, director and founder of Irish Education Partners began development of Homestay.com in early 2012, and the company launched as a public beta in July 2013.
Homestay.com, named one of Europe’s top three travel innovators by PhoCusWright, is a Dublin-based firm pioneering new ways to enjoy experiential accommodation choices through a “hosted travel experience” homestay model. Homestay.com is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. The company also provides the Homestay Manager software to Homestay agencies and host families worldwide. Homestay.com chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay. CEO is Alan Clarke, previously of PaddyPower.com.