Jul 11 2019   | Source: Khaleej Times 

Short-term rentals hold sweet spot

With an ever-growing number of tourists and business travellers in the UAE, Christian Mischler, co-founder and executive chairman of GuestReady, knew his tech-enabled hospitality service would get a huge response in the short-term rental market.

GuestReady Group is a global short-term rental management company, which provides professional services to property investors, homeowners and Airbnb hosts in the UAE, the UK, France, Portugal, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

"We take care of everything from property maintenance to 24/7 guest communications, to listing optimisation on booking platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and HomeAway," Mischler explains.

"We officially launched our services in Dubai in the summer of 2018. The first couple of months were challenging, and it was not until we signed the first five properties that things really started to take off," says Mischler.

"Our in-house property management software has allowed us to offer personalised services to all our property owners and guests. Today, we manage over 100 properties in prime locations in Dubai and have plans to expand our services in the GCC region," he continues.

GuestReady Group, raised an additional Dh22 million in Series A funding last month, bringing the total funds raised to Dh35 million. Dubai-based VentureSouq led the round. The company said the funds would be used to further invest in product development and to fuel growth across the GCC, Europe and Asia.

"Within the next year, we are looking to launch our services into one or two new countries. We have been lucky to receive the support of Dubai's VentureSouq and additional partners in the region such as OPM and Business Incubator and Accelerator Company from Saudi Arabia. The strong investor support is helping us open more doors, not only for further funding rounds but for business development as well," he says.

Mischler says the company is still investing a lot of money into product development even though its software is probably one of the best in the industry.

"There are plenty of smaller operational processes that we can either automate or make smarter. We are investing resources into creating data-driven algorithms to optimise performance and ultimately increase guest and property owner satisfaction," he explains.

In addition to product investments, GuestReady is looking to build meaningful partnerships with selected property developers to enhance their competitiveness in the market.

"We receive a lot of interest from property developers to collaborate on projects with GuestReady to enable their real estate with our technology. In Dubai, we recently on-boarded over 40 units that will be exclusively managed by us on behalf of the developer. These types of partnerships have been very fruitful and we are looking to do more of these types of partnerships going forward," he says.

Sinan Abdel Sattar, global marketing manager, claims that GuestReady's ability to serve customers individually has made it unique.

"Our advanced software solution allows us to focus on building one to one relationships with each of our customers while investing in the care of their properties as if they were our own. We offer our clients peace of mind," Abdel Sattar says.

Maan Eshgi, partner at VentureSouq, says the investors have been following GuestReady since it was launched in Dubai.

"The real estate market has been calling out for a solution like this for some time, and we could see very clearly that GuestReady is a superior operator in terms of attracting qualified talent and in building and using technology to streamline operations. Tech is key to building a scalable organisation, and it is one of the main criteria we focus on at VentureSouq, and by occupying a sweet spot where real estate and technology meet, the company has proven to be extremely relatable to many of our investors. I believe there is a huge opportunity that GuestReady is in a position to capture across the entire Gulf region," Eshgi says.

Source: Khaleej Times

- riaz@khaleejtimes.com

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Short-term rentals hold sweet spot

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