Homeit is an efficient platform that allocates guests, goods and services to short-term property rentals.
- Lisbon, Portugal
Categories: Travel, Leisure & Sport Digital B2B
Homeit has developed the homeit box; hardware which is installed inside the apartment, connecting to the apartment door and the internal apartment intercom in order to unlock both the building's street door and the apartment's front door. Homeit is made for the Sharing Economy.
The homeit box is an enabler and not the end goal: it allows hosts to let out properties to guests, and have guests access the property without anyone else’s intervention.
Homeit aims to integrate with suppliers, so that hosts can arrange for the cleaning and laundry to be done just by allowing these suppliers to access their property via the homeit app, SMS text message, or optional keypad.
We believe Homeit is disruptive because hosts can be absent and still generate revenue, at affordable costs. It should also enable guests to have instant access to the property, allowing them to make last-minute bookings in the Sharing Economy.
Homeit integrates with Airbnb, so when a booking is confirmed, both the hosts and relevant suppliers know about it.
Homeit is access for the Sharing Economy. Our aim is to transform an existing industry while creating a new one. Using a straightforward and quick process, Homeit allows hosts to manage several properties, easily.
Removing the need for copied keys (and therefore the possibility of lost keys), our system works with every door, internal and external, whatever the physical lock. It also means zero wasted time for hosts, guests or service providers.
The simplicity of the process allows us to carry out installations at a fast rate.
For hosts this means managing more properties, efficiently, and potentially making more money, as well as saving time and hassle. The issues involved in being a host range from arranging cleaners and launderers as often as every few days, to responding to messages immediately so as not to lower your rating; we help eliminate all of these issues.
And for a guest, the most valuable thing is seamless access to a clean property; both of which we help to provide.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Homeit has successfully developed its access control hardware (Homeit Box) and mobile/ tablet app (Homeit App), and successfully trialled its laundry on-demand platform (Homeit Laundry).
We’re planning to do the same to the cleaning marketplace, guest bookings and ads landscape.
Homeit progressed from idea inception to production in just over a year. Starting in 2015 we advanced quickly, with our first paying customer coming only four months later. And by the last months of 2016, we were producing our Homeit kits.
In 2017 we won 3-months free mentoring from Bridge for Billions Web Programme (Startup Olé Salamanca 2017 prize).
And as of March 2017, we have provided access to 23,000 guests in over 300 homes throughout Portugal, as well as homes in our other target-cities: Barcelona and Paris. Between May 1st and June 5th, the total number of boxes installed and active jumped by 17% to 316.
We also have our one pilot Homeit Laundry supplier already accessing a number of properties in Lisbon.
Currently we charge a monthly subscription fee for the Homeit Box. In the future we intend to charge a small percentage fee from services ordered through Homeit, such as laundry and cleaning. And after that, we plan to take guest bookings directly via Homeit, therefore charging a small percentage fee for providing this timely, on-demand service.
We intend to first launch in a city, then expand to the whole country. We’ll then expand to another city in a different country, then again expand to the whole country, and so on.
Once we break-even in Lisbon, Paris and Barcelona individually, we believe the Homeit company would break-even overall.
Operations in these three cities should allow us to pay for our ongoing product development, our headquarter overheads and our planned, organic expansion to other cities.
Use of proceeds
Homeit is looking to raise €250k to expand into Barcelona, Paris and London.
We’re planning to use the funds over the next 18 months to expand and improve our operations and customer support. Our aim is to reach the (estimated) 1,340 Homeit Box fittings required to break-even.
Our target market are short-term property rental hosts within the Sharing Economy, whose properties are booked online in main cities worldwide on platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
Most rental websites currently offer customers the option of booking properties in real-time, without having to wait for confirmation. We believe this improves the convenience of booking a short-term rental and improves customer satisfaction. However, it poses considerable challenges to the hosts faced with the ongoing logistics of running a short-term property, with guests constantly flowing in and out. And the more properties hosts manage, the bigger their challenges can be. One of the ways for them to continue to be profitable is to streamline their process.
These hosts/property management companies have a portfolio of properties that can range anywhere from one, to over 200. We believe using Homeit would be invaluable in assisting them to scale their business, or increase the profit margins of their existing portfolio. We can also ease communication lines, therefore contributing towards improving their response rates and their guest ratings.
Hosts can say goodbye to lost keys and subsequent lock replacements as Homeit enables instant access to the property, as well as a seamless check-in experience. These additional perks accompany the core values of freedom and peace of mind that Homeit can offer its hosts.
Characteristics of target market
The short-term rentals market is growing every year as reports released by Airbnb, one of the top players in the sector, indicate. More and more people are renting their properties to tourists and/or students (both foreign and local).
The global short-term rental market is valued at more than $144 billion, and expected to surpass $193 billion by 2021. On top of ongoing growth, instant booking is now the new norm, so rental sites and platforms are updating to provide customers with real time booking.
In more than just the short-term rental market, we believe instant access to be a basic requirement of a new breed of worldwide consumers, that expect instant gratification.
Diverse customers in multiple geographies can mean different preferences. And with equal levels of diversity in hosts and suppliers, we believe there’s a high possibility of inconsistencies in both service and quality.
Some of the key players include:
Airbnb - Over 3,000,000 listings in +65,000 cities and +191 countries.
HomeAway, Inc. - Over 2,000,000 listings in 190 countries. In November 2015, it was acquired by Expedia Inc. for $3.9 billion.
TripAdvisor - The world's largest travel site, reaching 390 million unique monthly visitors (UMV), with 500 million reviews for 7 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. TripAdvisor has also acquired HouseTrip, FlipKey, HolidayLettings, Niumba, and VacationRentals.com.
We aim to use the best and most suitable marketing channels to attract our target market, and because our market exists online, our preferred channels are mostly online. We use a mix of email marketing, paid online advertising and social media, as part of our marketing strategy. We have observed good customer satisfaction so far and we believe referrals are also a strong lead generator for further host acquisitions for us.
We’re prioritising targeted acquisition of hosts with multiple properties because these should enable us to scale our growth at a faster pace. We’re focused on building a strong relationship with our hosts, and ask them to recommend the best service providers in their city. We then contact those providers to present Homeit Laundry and Homeit Cleaning (yet to be launched).
We use the aforementioned marketing channels to acquire new hosts, who may have more than one property. In our experience, once they have installed one Homeit box and had a positive experience, they tend to come back for more.
We believe our value proposition to service providers is compelling and we’re confident they’ll see the value of joining the Homeit platform. Happy service providers may refer Homeit to their customers (attracting more hosts to our platform), while Homeit would in turn refer them to our host-base. In our experience, this referral system works particularly well, and naturally builds up a strong relationship with our market, whilst contributing to Homeit’s growth and expansion.
We found this opportunity by gaining a strong understanding of the issues faced by short-term rental hosts. We believe the majority of these problems aren’t being tackled by the suppliers of the four industry segments we’re positioned between:
• Guest bookings (airbnb, Hotel Tonight and Overnight, etc.).
• Access control systems (August, Kwikset and KABA, etc.).
• On-demand services (laundrapp, Hostmaker and keycafe, etc.).
• Property management (OneFineStay, Vacasa and Sweet Inn, etc.).
To our knowledge, the competitive landscape we sit in is currently only addressing a fragment of the issues faced by the hosts. Our platform caters for most of the short-term rental hosts’ needs by building on the existing competition and offering several advantages such as easy booking, instant access, cross-platform integration with booking websites and on-demand services.
Homeit also offers street door unlocking (not just apartment doors), versatility to fit different door and lock types, and ongoing client support from our team.
We believe platforms that don’t offer the kind of virtual concierge service as we do, don’t actually relieve the hosts’ burden in managing their properties, they only add to the list of further apps to update and check.
We are changing the industry, which, to our knowledge, is highly inefficient, as well as creating a new market in convenience and flexibility of last-minute bookings for properties in the Sharing Economy.