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The global vacation rental market was estimated to be a $169 billion industry in 2018, according to research from travel industry outlet Skift, with marketplaces such as Airbnb helping to drive demand for residential properties among holidaymakers.
Against that backdrop, Guesty — a property management platform for short-term rentals — has raised $35 million in a series C round of funding led by Viola Growth, with participation from TLV Partners, Magma Ventures, Vertex Ventures, Journey Ventures, Kingfisher Investment Advisors, and La Maison Compagnie d’Investissement.
Founded in 2013 out of Tel Aviv, Israel, Guesty pitches itself as an end-to-end platform for property managers to keep tabs on their listings from across different platforms, with features such as payments processing; a unified inbox for texts, emails, and in-app messaging; a white-label booking website that can be branded for each property manager; analytics; and more.
Guesty, which served as part of Y Combinator’s 2014 cohort, is now available in more than 70 countries globally.
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The web has transformed the travel industry over the past couple of decades, with companies such as Expedia building billion-dollar business off the back of helping consumers find the best — and most affordable places to stay while on vacation. But in recent years, a new slate of travel startups have emerged, which has brought further disruption to the age-old rentals industry.
Back in 2015, Expedia snapped up Airbnb rival HomeAway in a $3.9 billion deal, in part to help Expedia keep pace with Airbnb. For the record, Airbnb is currently gearing up for its hotly anticipated billion dollar IPO.
The slew of options available for property managers enable related businesses to flourish, which is where Guesty comes into play — managing multiple properties that may be listed across numerous platforms becomes a challenge, which is why a single interface such as what Guesty offers may appeal. Guesty supports integrations with Airbnb; HomeAway; Booking.com; Expedia; Agoda; and many more.
Platforms such as Airbnb are changing the local community landscape: It’s well understood that landlords can make more money through shorter-term “vacation” rentals than through leases, meaning that some areas ultimately end up becoming havens for tourists. But where more money is to be made, entrepreneurs are usually not far behind.
“Guesty’s strategic analysis shows that the short-term rental business is a lucrative one,” noted Guesty CEO and cofounder Amiad Soto. “The increasing growth of the space, thanks to sites like Airbnb, Booking.com and many more, has resulted in short-term lets commanding around 30 percent higher profits than long-term leases.”
Prior to now, Guesty has raised around $25 million, and with another $35 million in the bank it said that it plans to open new offices in what it calls “key growth markets,” as well as continue developing its products, and — shock, horror — bring some artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to the mix.
“With such a high demand from travelers, Guesty is filling a crucial role in helping property managers more efficiently manage their overwhelming list of to-dos and more importantly, grow their businesses,” Soto added. “This market will only continue to grow as we see the ripple effect of trends like remote working, the shared economy and travel becoming more of a commodity, rather than a luxury.”
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