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Round-Up: Hostaway Welcomes New COO, Boostly and OwnerRez Collaborate, Dtravel Breaks New Ground in Booking Resale

Round-Up: Hostaway Welcomes New COO, Boostly and OwnerRez Collaborate, Dtravel Breaks New Ground in Booking Resale

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For local inhabitants and businesses, the disaster is also economic. Florida is a big travel market. With great beaches and world-famous attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, the state attracts many families who book a vacation rental for their stay. Cities like Orlando and Kissimmee usually rank high in market size for vacation rental revenues.

Hostaway Taps Ken Weary for COO, Sets Sights on Acquisitions for Expansion

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Hostaway, a leading vacation rental property management software (PMS), announces the appointment of ex-Hotjar COO, Ken Weary, as its new Chief Operating Officer.
  • The appointment comes as part of Hostaway’s growth strategy, following the company’s recent investment round and its aim to dominate the sector across North America and Europe.
  • Weary brings a wealth of experience from his time at Hotjar, where he oversaw significant business operations and was instrumental in scaling teams from 14 to over 400 people across 45+ countries.
  • Saber Kordestanchi, co-founder and former COO of Hostaway, will assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer, marking a first for the company.
  • Hostaway is also actively recruiting for roles across marketing, innovation, and product development as it continues to expand its remote global teams.

About Hostaway:

  • Hostaway is an all-in-one platform that simplifies some of the most important tasks in running a short-term rental management business.
  • The platform enables managers to market their properties, manage bookings, communicate with guests, and even keep track of their finances all in one place.
  • Hostaway also has one of the biggest online marketplaces for vacation rental software and tools. With over 100 options available, managers can pick and choose the resources that fit their needs the best.

Uvika’s View:

  • In May 2023, Hostaway secured a hefty $175 million investment. This funding round was a clear indicator of the company’s ambition, and at the time its leadership communicated the desire to evolve into a true-blue all-in-one solution for short-term rental hosts and property managers. 
  • The recent appointment of Ashley Milton as CFO was the first such major move following the investment. With Milton’s impressive M&A experience, we speculated that this could be a sign of upcoming acquisitions. The company hinted at Ashley’s role in their ‘growth phase’, leading us to believe that Hostaway was eyeing potential takeover targets.
  • Fast forward to today, and the company has made another high-level appointment with Ken Weary stepping in as COO. And this time, there is no room for speculation. The company has outright stated that Weary’s M&A expertise will be utilized as they begin to assess takeover targets.
  • These appointments and statements suggest a clear roadmap for Hostaway. The company is gearing up to make good on its promise and consolidate its position in the market by adding more services and tools to its platform. 

Boostly Announces Partnership with OwnerRez

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Boostly and OwnerRez have formed a strategic partnership aimed at advancing the Book Direct movement, which encourages vacation rental owners to maximize revenue through direct bookings.
  • This collaboration allows users of OwnerRez’s vacation rental software to synchronize their property listings, pricing, and availability with Boostly’s direct booking websites, effectively giving them their own ‘mini OTA’ websites. 
  • OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) refers to booking websites or platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com.
  • Boostly’s websites are equipped with ChatGPT, enabling property owners to generate website content, listings, and copy swiftly.
  • The alliance also gives OwnerRez customers access to Boostly Academy, a marketing program offering over 80 hours of CPD-accredited training to help hosts scale their businesses.

About Boostly:

  • Boostly is a company that primarily focuses on assisting short-term rental owners in increasing their direct bookings. 
  • In essence, this means they help property owners maximize their profits by enabling them to bypass larger booking platforms which often charge hefty commission fees. 
  • Boostly achieves this by providing custom-built WordPress websites that act as a direct booking platform for each property owner. These websites are designed to handle the growth of the business and are connected directly to various booking engines.
  • In addition to website creation, Boostly offers hospitality marketing services and training programs. 

About OwnerRez:

  • OwnerRez provides a comprehensive software solution specifically for vacation rental owners and managers. 
  • The OwnerRez platform includes features such as channel management, customer relationship management (CRM), property management, accounting, messaging, and, similar to Boostly, website creation.

Uvika’s View: 

  • Looking at the recent strategic partnerships formed by Boostly, there’s a clear pattern of intent and ambition. The company has been tirelessly building alliances with various entities in the past year. This strategy serves a dual purpose.
  • They allow Boostly to offer integrated solutions that support different aspects of managing daily short-term rental operations and marketing. By joining hands with companies like OwnerRez and others, Boostly is able to provide a more comprehensive set of tools for property managers. This not only improves the appeal of its offer but also adds tangible value to the users. 
  • The access to a greater level of control that Boostly’s websites bring is something that short-term rental managers undoubtedly find attractive. It allows them to circumvent hefty OTA fees and maximize their profits, a benefit that is hard to overlook.
  • These partnerships also serve as a channel for Boostly to tap into a vast new potential customer base. Each partner brings with it a new set of users, enabling Boostly to extend its reach significantly. This strategic move aligns perfectly with the company’s goal of doubling its revenue
  • While the benefits of direct booking are evident, it’s crucial to remember that this business model also brings greater responsibility for short-term rental operators. In a direct booking scenario, all legal and regulatory requirements fall squarely on the shoulders of the operators. Therefore, it’s vital for them to stay abreast of the latest regulations and ensure they are compliant.

Dtravel Tokenizes Short-Term Rental Bookings to Enable Reselling

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Dtravel, a vacation rental platform run by its community, has implemented an upgrade that allows reservations to be represented as digital tokens within the efficient Polygon PoS blockchain network.
  • These tokens, known as Nite Tokens, offer an unprecedented level of flexibility to travelers. 
  • In simple terms, this means that Dtravel is issuing a digital ‘proof of ownership’ for booked nights on a blockchain. This proof, in the form of a token, can be sold or transferred if the original traveler can no longer use the reservation. This offers travelers more flexibility and could allow them to recoup some or all of their costs if their travel plans change.
  • For operators, this system guarantees that they will receive funds from booked trips, as cancellations will no longer be possible. Operators may also earn additional revenue through commissions on the resale of these nights.
  • This upgrade will have implications for users of Dtravel Direct – their bespoke direct booking suite tailored for short-term rental (STR) operators.
  • Dtravel is also in the process of developing the Nite Protocol. This initiative aims to standardise how booking data is recorded and shared across the entire vacation rental industry. The goal is to eliminate inefficiencies and introduce a transparent, unified API that everyone in the industry can use.

About Dtravel:

  • At its core, Dtravel is a platform that allows short-term rental hosts and property managers to directly connect with guests, bypassing traditional online travel agencies and their associated fees. The system uses blockchain technology to facilitate secure and straightforward bookings.
  • It provides tools like Dtravel Direct to help you create your own booking website, so you can manage reservations without relying on major marketplace sites. This means you can cultivate your brand and customer relationships on your terms.
  • With features like Dtravel Meridian, your guests can carry a digital travel profile that verifies their rental history, making it easier to trust new customers. 

Uvika’s View:

  • Within 30 days of launch, Dtravel acquired over 200,000 vacation rental listings across 2,000 cities globally, attracting partnerships with property managers including Ministry of Villas and In Residence. This growth conveys some level of confidence in the industry’s readiness for innovation and a shift towards a more autonomous ecosystem.
  • The appeal of Dtravel is clear among hosts actively seeking alternatives to traditional listing avenues that often come with high fees and rigid structures. 
  • However, its long-term value and sustainability will hinge on widespread acceptance and the practical resolution of challenges inherent to decentralized systems, such as regulatory compliance and user adaptation to new technologies.
  • Moving forward, it will be crucial for the industry to discard jargon, making this technology accessible and understandable to all. 
  • It’s worth noting that there’s been some hesitation around NFT technology due to public misconceptions. In response to this, Dtravel CEO Cythia Huang clarified, “There’s a lot of power in NFTs as a way to confer membership or loyalty rights or as a way to easily sell physical assets without having to shop things back and forth.”
  • “When you “tokenize” your ownership,” she asserts, “you can easily transfer and sell your ownership in many marketplaces where you can specifically buy and sell real assets that have been tokenized.”
  • Currently, Dtravel is focusing on issuing these tokens. The next step will be creating a marketplace for the actual reselling of tokens.

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