It is hard to fathom that back in 2009 VCs were far from convinced that Airbnb was ever going to be a big enough business to pump venture into. Fast forward to 2015 and businesses are being created that effectively sit on top of Airbnb, meaning that the then tenacious startup is now arguably an ecosystem in its own right.
London-based Hostmaker is one such business. It describes itself as an Airbnb hospitality management service, providing Airbnb hosts with housekeepers and concierge, as well as supporting them with things like pricing and marketing, including the listing of the property and providing professional photography.
More broadly, the startup aims to solve the problem that for some Airbnb hosting has almost become a full time job and encompasses “listing your home and pricing it right to attract the right guest, coordinating housekeeping, washing linen, exchanging keys, maintenance issues etc.”
To help fuel growth and further European expansion — the service is currently available in London, Barcelona and Rome, and serves about 5,000 guests per month — the company has closed $2 million in seed investment led by DN Capital .
Other investors in the round include Avala Capital, DSG Consumer Partners, Delivery Hero co-founder Nikita Fahrenholz and former MD of Airbnb India and Middle East Mohit Srivastava.
In terms of how Hostmaker makes money, it offers hosts two options. The first is a pay-as-you-go model “where existing Airbnb hosts can pick a premium hotel-style housekeeping and linen service or an in-person guest welcome in their absence”. Alternatively, hosts can opt for a fully managed option where Hostmaker provides a complete end-to-end service.
The latter includes handling everything from listing the property, responding to enquiries and pricing and yield management, to preparing the home before guests arrive and managing their stay.
Interestingly, the fully managed option pits the company against Onefinestay (but without the curation), although Hostmaker reckons it typically charges less in fees.
Other competitors include Pillow in the U.S. and a plethora of on-demand services that provide a single aspect of the hospitality management service’s offering, such as cleaning, laundry and maintenance.