If you wanted to describe OneFineStay in a lazy way you’d call it a sort of up-scale Airbnb which caters to the luxury traveller. However, it’s rapidly shaping up to be a very different kind of beast. The company has now hit 1,000 homes on its books in London. Normally would we would’t bother covering such a metric. We don’t cover how many places Airbnb has hit in London for instance – but this is different. Because OneFineStay is slowly but surely building a very high barrier to entry for any potential competitors. Those 1,000 homes represents over 2,500 bedrooms, which is more than twice the size of the largest luxury hotel in London, or to put it another way, more bedrooms than The Langham Hotel (one of London’s finest) fifteen times over. And the OneFineStay experience is clearly upmarket.
For instance, you can stay in the iconic clock tower apartment at St. Pancras station. And every single one of these places, OneFineStay people have to look at individually, and meet the owners. Home owners get their valuables and clothes stored away, and customers get fresh towels and the place cleaned after they leave – plus a range of other services.
On this traction, says founder/CEO Greg Marsh, the startup will have 3,000 homes in London by next year, given that this 1,000 figures represents a three-times year on year traction since last year.
After three years of operation, the startup – which has 200 full time employees across offices in London, New York, and Paris – guests can now stay in more than 50 different London neighbourhoods, and it now has 300 homes in New York
Marsh says there is “lots of more stuff coming”, including better new services, local partnerships and upscale gym membership deals. He just visited LA and is about to visit Berlin. Make of that what you will.
This is a startup worth watching not for the Airbnb clones but for the actual hotel groups. Any hotel group should be more worried about OneFineStay than it should about Airbnb, especially given this kind of experience.