App stories: The rise of Airbnb competition and alternatives

App Stories: Airbnb competitors on the rise

 

Airbnb has growing competitors

Airbnb is a vacation rental site, which serves as an online market place for property owners. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Started in the year 2008, the company has managed to establish its presence in 191 countries and 34,000 cities across the globe. The company has 2 million listing on its website.

 

The business model of Airbnb is popularly referred to as sharing economy or gig economy. The company model claims that it helps in mobilizing local economy and make money from unused property.

 

Though Airbnb’s model was completely new at the time of its launch there were certain services which bear minor resemblances to the former like couch surfing.

The success of the company stands at how it managed to monetize through it by keeping the interest of both guest and host in priority.

 

After the company took off there are several companies following its footpath and have also managed to be successful. Despite being replicas or clones of Airbnb they managed to be famous because people loved this model of business, for hosts its easy money making and incase of guests they were spending less money for staying.

 

Guests have an option of staying in a single room in the suburbs to mansions or yachts, none of the hotel sites can provide such a wide range of options.

Coming to the competitors there are several of them across the world that have replicated Airbnb and have become successful.

 

Wimdu and 9flats merge

The biggest rivals in Europe for the company are Wimdu and 9flats. Both the companies have now merged to become one. Wimdu is a rocket internet clone earlier headquartered in Germany, now in Singapore. Both of them are merging after 5 years of beginning their respective business.

 

The information was first released by German start-up news site WiWo.

 

The cost and other financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed.

 

Wimdu claims to have 300,000 listing and 9flats stated that it has 250,000 listing globally both of them merged together will have 500,000 listing however it does not match airbnb’s 2 million listings.

 

Wimdu is previously was in search of a buyer in the fire sale. The company burnt through the 90 million dollars it raised in the year 2011. Airbnb raised around 3.38 billion dollar during the same period.

 

9flats will be heading the merged companies under CEO Roman Bach. Bach was the head of business development and marketing before taking over as CEO from the founder of the company Stephan Uhrenbacher.

 

He stated that the merger will be beneficial to the company as it will help them build the largest force in online accommodation industry. It will provide the guests and hosts higher value propositions, long-term growth and acceleration.

 

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While competitors have to battle against a strong force like Airbnb they also need to handle the ever changing regulatory issues. Countries and governments are still not in terms with the sharing economy and each city and state has been coming up with its set of rules making it really difficult for online accommodation companies.

 

The regulatory issues are painful even for Airbnb however given their large scale they have the flexibility to handle it. For example in Berlin there was a change in the housing law which does not allow tourist to stay in vacation rentals which did not have city permits. This change made 9flats shift its headquarters from Germany to Singapore.

 

In Europe the regional government of Catalonia has been cracking down on illegal vacation rentals and has fined a few of them. Initially the UK government was supportive to the sharing government however it seems to have now backed off after the BIS government wrote the mayor of London regarding the assessment whether online accommodation caused the inflation in rental prices in London.

 

Ever changing regulations pose problems to Europe’s sharing economy.

The company CEO stated that after merging there will be no job cuts and the in the future the combined entity will be making more investments in markets.

Both of the above mentioned companies are some of the popular rivalries apart from this we have few others like:

 

1. FLIPKEY

Famous Airbnb alternative, Flipkey is owned by tripadvisor and has 30,000 listings and is present in more than 1100 cities across the globe. All the owners registerd on the site are verified by their IDs therefore providing security to guests. Also the website lists special deals, at least 5000 of them everyday so there is a high probability that you might get a offer which makes your stay even cheaper. However one of the drawbacks of the site is every listing cannot be booked through the site some of them require you to contact through phone or email.

 

2. Tripping

Another popular site for rental booking does not just places to stay but it works as a search engine for going through the listings in other sites it works like a comparison site giving you an idea about the prices and values in other places.

 

3. Homeaway

The only online market place of vacation rentals that comes close to Airbnb in terms of size and business is Homeaway. It operates in similar fashion to Airbnb and has 1 million listing it does not charge guest for booking through their site and also has its own brand of insurance.

 

 4. VRBO

This site is owned by the above mentioned Homeaway and is present in 100 countries and has 800,000 listings in it. It containes lot of full sized vacation homes thus giving space for your grandparents pets or grandkids.

 

 5. Roomorama

This is another popular site operating in the same lines of Airbnb, it ensures safety of the guests by verifying proper ID and the company also has a unique payment system which will provide the guest with a six digit code while booking a room to ensure that the listing is by the house owner and also keeps scammers away.

 

 6. Onefinestay

This site does its best to check whether the place you stay is comfortable enough to maintain the company staff personally assess the properties that are being listed on their site and them allow them on their site. This ensures good quality rooms.

 

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