I love this interview model with our partners to understand more the why and less the what and how they are bringing the value to our industry, following the Golden Circle Concept developed by Simon Sinek
Guesty was founded in 2013 to automate and simplify the operations of short-term rental property management. Graduating in 2014 from Y Combinator, the same accelerator Airbnb graduated from, was a game changer for the company, skyrocketing their growth and product development. Today Guesty boasts $60M in funding, 250+ employees spread out across 8 offices worldwide, and customers in over 80 countries.
Side note: 2014 was also the year that Doinn participated in the Lisbon Challenge startup acceleration program and we still remember a night out with Michael Siebel, one of the founders of Y Combinator, talking about how those guys from Guesty could have a huge impact in the fast-growing Airbnb market.
And now, here we are today.
The Guesty <> Doinn partnership took a few years to take shape as our go-to-market strategies were different but somehow, it was written in our paths.
Noelia: First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Amiad: My family is great, thank you for asking. My wife and I adopted an amazing pup named Effie and we are really enjoying being dog parents for the first time.
Noelia: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and to start this kind of business in times where the Airbnb brand penetration was still not that high?
Amiad: I launched Guesty with my identical twin brother Koby. After renting out our apartments while travelling, we realized just how much of a headache it was to oversee guest communication, cleanings and repairs. As a result, originally we launched a property management company to take care of those needs for clients and then realized that we could do so much more.
At the time, when Airbnb was becoming incredibly popular, there was a clear product gap in the home sharing space for those who wanted to distribute their listings across multiple OTAs without wasting hours hopping from platform to platform. It became clear that professional hosts and property management companies needed one centralized location to manage all of the complex operational tasks that go into managing their inventory.
Enter Guesty. With our software – you can do it all – from guest communication to real-time dynamic pricing to accounting – all in one place.
Noelia: I´ve been doing a few webinars talking about the OKRs, the framework used by Google to define the company goals. What is your magical formula for Guesty growth?
Amiad: Our platform is built to be agile and has grown alongside our users, adapting to the swiftly changing alternative accommodation ecosystem. To put it simply, Guesty was built for all business models of all shapes and sizes, no matter the location.
Similar to how there is no one size fits all when it comes to travel, there is also no one size fits all when it comes to property management. We built our product with that in mind. Our users’ businesses grow, change and evolve, and we’re there to support them every step of the way. In fact, the growing needs of our users resulted in us enhancing our platform in more ways than one in the last year. Here are two examples:
We opened our platform to support extended stays of 28+ days after noticing travelers were booking rentals for longer periods. Doing so helped users incorporate flexible inventory into their portfolio to achieve a reliable, assured stream of revenue for longer periods of time.
We now enable aparthotel and boutique hotel management with the goal of supporting all forms of short-term rentals. Guesty’s new suite of features coupled with our existing core tools, enables independent hotel teams to work efficiently while actively increasing their bottom line.
Noelia: Tourism has been highly affected by the pandemic, but is the Vacation rental industry becoming stronger or weaker?
Amiad: Without hesitation, stronger.
Thanks to the accessibility and privacy provided by the short-term rental industry, travel has lived on throughout COVID-19, proving the resilience of the alternative accommodation ecosystem as a whole.
Private rentals enable travelers to avoid crowded common areas associated with hotels, such as lobbies, elevators and dining halls. By nature, they also have less guest turnover, which significantly reduces the risk of exposure between guests as does their lower count of “high-touch” surface areas. These selling points, along with Airbnb’s recent IPO, acted as the catalyst to short-term rentals going mainstream with many traditional hotel-goers evolving into short-term rental converts, opting for private rentals over hotels.
Short-term rental converts represent a previously untapped audience within the market and have lended to a considerably bolstered user base. And that gain is permanent.
According to our industry report on the state of confidence in the short-term rental industry, 83.2% of the 500+ respondents we surveyed in hospitality believe the travellers who have booked short-term rentals since the start of the pandemic will continue to choose rentals over hotels as their choice for accommodations, even post-COVID-19.
It’s a fact that travel will recover. There are many question marks dotting the path to get there, but this pandemic has proven that travel is a necessity.
Noelia: In terms of product, is there any feature that your users are requesting more than before Covid hit?
Amiad: We have found that the most popular features during the pandemic have been those that support lean teams, automate tasks, and help our users achieve organizational efficiency and peak productivity. In fact, use of Guesty’s automated messaging tools jumped 25% in 2020 compared to 2019. This is no surprise as these tools enable users to automatically communicate check-in/out instructions, request for reviews, staff checklists and more.
We also saw a growing demand for our 24/7 Guest Communication Services (GCS) throughout the past year, considering the higher than usual volume of guest queries hosts were receiving regarding cleaning protocols, local restrictions and more. Our GCS team of specialists answers queries on our users’ behalf – all day long, or in their off-ours or while they’re on holiday. I’m happy to note that users report GCS saves them 40% of time each week on communication, allowing them to focus their energy elsewhere.
Noelia: Doinn has been very successful in the European markets, helping to many property managers to focus on their growth by leaving the operational part to us. From your perspective, what is Doinn bringing to our industry in the USA?
Amiad: Standardization is important, especially when it comes to cleaning practices amid COVID-19. Stringent cleaning protocols are at the top of guests’ mind and crucial when it comes to their safety. Having a company like Doinn certifying cleaning companies and services in cities worldwide not only pushes standardization in cleaning practices forward, it also provides property management companies and professional hosts with a sense of relief as they look to experts in the space to navigate new protocols put in place by competent authorities, from the WHO to Airbnb.