As the economy has made its shift from ownership towards renting, coworking business makes it easier to get a professional workspace at a fraction of the cost compared to owning office space. The number of coworking spaces across the world is projected to cross 20,000 and reach 25,968 by 2020. While running a coworking space business is lucrative, managing and operating it can be a hassle. So how to manage the key operations effectively? It is time to leverage the benefits of coworking software to streamline your coworking space’s business operations. The coworking software makes it easier for users to find the shared office spaces at the location of their choice and gives businesses the flexibility to scale up or down as per business requirements.
Why coworking management software?
Coworking tasks like keeping track of membership packages, payments, needs both time and money. The automation of coworking management responsibilities is critical in saving time and money. As coworking spaces are becoming more popular, businesses have started building software to help coworking spaces thrive and craft the best experience for their members and visitors. Before you get any coworking software to manage your business, you need to understand the specific needs of your business to identify the most effective software given your budget. Office space software features a simple user interface which makes it easy for anyone to use it effortlessly. You need not possess any technical expertise to learn the process of the system. Coworking space management software allows members to enjoy a whole new experience. It allows them to sign up for membership packages and schedule bookings with just a button click.
Benefits of using shared office space software
Coworking software is the foundation to operate a coworking space business effortlessly and efficiently. Coworking software controls and brings together the unknown variables to operate your business in a profitable way. Here are some of the benefits of coworking space software and how it creates a framework to channelize coworking space management in the right direction.
Save valuable time and effort
Instead of blindly adopting the strategies of your competitors, identify the real reasons why your business needs office space software. Start assessing how much time your team dedicates on managing your coworking space business. If you have multiple coworking space properties, managing all tasks without confusion can be a daunting task. Managing membership plans, bookings, and other services can take your staff’s valuable time if the processes are carried out manually. Coworking software helps to manage everything instantly to organize your business and manage your time and efforts in a better way. Additionally, if you are away from the office, you still can have control over your coworking space remotely using the software.
Manage coworking space bookings
Are you running your business operations manually? Or if you are currently using any system, are they designed for coworking management? If not, you probably might be missing out on a lot of cutting edge features.
It’s time to finally ditch the complicated third party management tools to manage your coworking space business. Use coworking space software specifically designed for managing shared office spaces. It features office space and meeting room booking management tools that help in managing all bookings from the single dashboard. It also helps members to make bookings with a few simple taps and even pre-book rooms in advance.
Consistency of processes
Using coworking space software as the beginning point for coworking space business processes breeds consistency. From member check-in to mailing booking confirmations, processes through a centralized platform are standardized. This brings in perfection to the coworking space management. Consistent processes also make the training for your workforce easier.
A comprehensive view of reservations
A comprehensive calendar view of reservations not only gives you a clear understanding of the reservations, but it also helps to avoid double bookings. If you have multiple coworking spaces to rent out, creating a calendar view that displays the availability of spaces will help to improve efficiency.
Benefits of coworking software include the availability of centralized resources which helps with the consolidated task management. No matter what your resource needs and coworking space requirement, they would be easily addressed with the right coworking space management software. Dealing with booking requests, reservations, planning resources, etc. is central to the management software. The right software will offer the necessary tools to manage a coworking space business efficiently.
Easy payment collection
Generally, in a coworking space business, both bookings and payment processing is done manually. Imagine the stress it would create if you have a growing number of users. Even with the best management tools, there are chances of errors. However, with a coworking space software, bookings and payment collection is directly integrated with the system which makes managing the activities easier. Invoices are directly integrated which makes the whole process easy and simple.
One of the major obstacles in managing the coworking space business is handling demands in real-time. While most coworking businesses sell subscriptions, your business must be able to accommodate on spot requests as well which adds to the logistical challenges. Shared space software helps to get a real-time picture of what coworking spaces are open and where. It can also give insights on how long office spaces are booked and what reservations are on the upcoming schedule.
System of records
Even if coworking space members input their information to book shared office space, there is a certain level of anonymity in it. You are not actually familiar with the people and won’t be able to know them better. However, if they book through your shared space software, it creates a system of record of users that might be helpful in understanding your customers.
Through a system of record, you can see members who book your coworking space often. These insights are powerful when it comes to optimizing the business and understanding customer behavior.
Launch your own mobile application
As the first impression matters, one of the most exciting features of the coworking space management software is your very own branded mobile application. Your members will be able to download your app directly app store, this improves efficiency for both businesses and members alike. Members will be able to book meeting rooms, upload payment methods, enjoy the in-app chat, and much more.
By understanding your coworking spaces, you can strategize your price the best way. Knowing how often your spaces are used, who is using and why, allow you to set price plans that are beneficial for business growth. More than maximizing what you charge for workspaces, good management data can also throw light on where you are over-allocated. Receiving data about pricing informs operational strategy which helps in managing your business finance the best way.
Coworking space software not only helps in maximizing revenue but also in driving forward to expand your user base and your business. Generating leads is as important as ensuring your members can easily find and secure coworking space bookings directly from your website. Coworking space management software brings order to a business model that is often prone to chaos and adds certainty to the unpredictability of a conventional workforce.
While it’s no secret that many vacation rental businesses advertise their properties on listing sites like Airbnb to maximize the booking and renting potential, there is no better way than starting your own vacation rental website. As the vacation rental market is projected to reach $194 billion by 2021, business owners have to consider the aspects that will help them to gain a competitive edge in the market.
Even with a single property, a list of tasks that needs to be coordinated to make the business profitable is daunting. Today’s vacation rental websites powered by technology can streamline the booking and management of one or multiple properties. Here are some of the reasons why vacation rental business owners must consider building an outstanding website.
Use of Vacation Rental Website for Business Owners
Receive direct bookings
The main reason why you want to have your own vacation rental website is to receive direct bookings directly. Setting up your vacation rental website also means there is no extra third-party fee like host or transaction fee. Research also reveals that over 65% of guests prefer to book directly from a vacation rental website rather than using third-party websites.
With your own website, you will also benefit from reaching a different user base that wants to find their rental home privately. Guests love the convenience of being able to book vacation rentals directly, especially when there are no hidden fees.
Become listing independent
If you take accommodation rental platforms like Airbnb, there are now more hosts than ever. Not just third-party sites have become more powerful, they charge high commissions from both travelers and property owners alike. Setting up your vacation rental website is the first step in taking back this control that you are losing to third-party sites and taking your business into your terms. Having your own website supports your marketing efforts where you can approach your potential customers you could never reach before. With a vacation rental website in place, you can easily stand out from the competition and run your business the best way possible.
Enjoy control and freedom over your business
There is no denying that having your rental properties listed on third party websites impose limitations over certain aspects. You won’t have 100% control over the things you want to publish unless you have a vacation rental website of your own. Want to add more images on the homepage? You can make it happen on your website. Everything is on you, and in your control. No matter what you put on your website, there are no restrictions that limit your decisions.
Centralize your properties
If you list your vacation rental properties on multiple channels, it can be difficult to manage the bookings across different platforms. It will increase the risk of double bookings as well. A vacation rental website will serve as a great solution to avoid the confusion that could happen when your properties are listed in different places. Synchronize your external calendars, control all incoming booking requests from one single inbox, check minute details of each booking like amount, payment status, etc.
A dedicated channel manager in your platform will handle all the trouble of organizing your listings. You just have to synchronize your availability calendar with your vacation rental software and sit back and watch as your listings are automatically updated.
Automate tedious tasks
When you run a vacation rental business, there would be many business tasks that are repetitive. Automating these tasks helps in increasing efficiency and thereby improving productivity. This is yet another use of vacation rental websites and it is easy to integrate automation tools to support the business operations. These tasks greatly involve both management and sales processes like communication with potential customers, marketing to customers, requesting unpaid amounts and confirming paid amounts, etc. Autoresponders and canned responses to inquiry emails save a significant amount of time and makes running a vacation rental business an effortless job.
Display your skills
A vacation rental website is the best platform to showcase your assets. For example, you can collate all your positive guest reviews from other sites to create a testimonial page on your website. You can collect digital badges that are online certificates of your accomplishment. The more badges you have, the more users will trust your website, and the more bookings you will receive. Use your vacation rental website to display your expertise.
In the digital world, we live in, every reputable business has a website of its own. If it doesn’t, it falls behind the fierce competition in the industry. Yes, you can also advertise your vacation rental business on other platforms, but what if potential customers come looking for your business website and come up short? It might even dissuade them from making bookings with you. That is exactly why you need a vacation rental website.
For guests who want to avoid the booking fee will also search for a better deal- that’s when having a website becomes more significant. Just think of your vacation rental website as your business card. If someone is interested in checking out your properties, do you really want to send them a third-party listing? The answer would be no and that’s why a business website is essential for any vacation rental business looking to build online credibility.
Having an online presence is the first point towards building a solid brand presence for your vacation rental business. If you want the whole world to know about your business, you must have a branded platform of your own. The use of a vacation rental website extends beyond that. Building your vacation rental brand involves establishing consistency across your website and any external listings by referring your business to its brand name to support your marketing efforts. On third-party listing sites, your business is just a commodity, one among thousands of listings. However, a vacation rental website will help your business stand out from the competition and help your guests in identifying your brand as something more than just another vacation rental business.
It’s easy to accomplish
The main thing that refrains business owners from creating a vacation rental website is the efforts and costs involved behind it. Yes, building a vacation rental website for your business from scratch is an elaborate and time-consuming process that involves a lot of money as well, However, besides the elaborate ways, there are some easy ways out there. White label solutions allow you to create your own vacation rental website and accept online bookings effortlessly and cost-effectively. These solutions are 100% customizable so you can adapt each aspect to fit your business needs and goals. Creating your own stunning hospitality website allows you to synchronize your site with any external channels to manage reservations from a centralized system. Plus, you can easily integrate your website with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Having a professional vacation rental website can enhance your business. Not only does it offer the control to market your business the way you want it, but it also helps diversify your booking channels. Vacation rental websites can help businesses to expand their reach, take more bookings, save time and manage everything from a centralized platform and integrate with external applications. A carefully structured business website can help you have all the tools in place to grow your business to new levels.
If you ever thought of owning a vacation rental website for your business then check out our Airbnb clone script to get your vacation rental website.
If your parking business suffers from inefficiencies, it is time to switch to a smart parking solution. Central to smart parking solutions is the software that powers it. A smart parking management software automates the parking spot searching, the process of payment, integrates revenue strategies and includes critical components like big data, data analysis, and complex algorithms. Implementing parking software for your business can have several significant benefits in terms of business success.
How to improve your parking business?
So let’s have a look at some of the benefits offered by smart parking systems and from that, you will realize how you can improve your parking business!
The ease of accessibility and user-friendly nature of the parking software makes handling the system quite easily. Apart from usability, cost-effectiveness is another benefit of this system as it runs on a minimum workforce and saves more money. Maintaining the parking management system is also easy as it is well organized and structured.
Launching a parking software system gives you instant access to real-time data of your parking lot business. By collecting information about customer behavior and other important details, your business gains a competitive advantage from a marketing standpoint. Your business will grow tremendously as you streamline your focus towards offering better solutions to your target audience. With real-time information about the parking space, your parking solution can generate a report based on the data. Your parking software generates reports on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis and it can go a long way in helping your business gain insights about your customers.
Parking management software is well renowned for its integration with technology. Smart solutions are based on technological innovations like IoT. You can customize the technologies that power your parking solutions to suit the unique needs and requirements of your parking business. The technology that powers parking management software makes it easy to install and access from any device, anytime and pay securely within the app itself.
- Delivers great user experience
If you are looking for different ways on how to improve your parking business, focusing on delivering a great user experience to your customers is important. Launching a parking software of your parking business will likely transform the user experience of your customers. The location search, ease of finding parking lots, different payment methods, and other integrated features contribute to the seamless user experience for customers. By enhancing the customer experience, you ensure the growth of your business via word of mouth.
Implementing smart parking solutions can be costly (there are low alternatives as well), but the investment is worth it. By using an automated parking management service, you can implement a tiered payment model for users and thereby a revenue channel for your business. You may also integrate loyalty programs for consistent users. By boosting the customer experience and convenience, you can improve your brand image which is bound to considerably increase your overall revenue stream. If you want to gain a competitive edge in the market and generate a steady amount of income, implement a peer-peer parking management marketplace that connects parking space owners with car owners.
Focus on the security aspect of the parking management system to strengthen the trust amongst your users. Car theft is one of the major problems in most parking lots. Hence, when you develop a parking management software, integrate safe features to ensure the security of vehicles. Integrate theft dynamics built into your software to offer an improved security benchmark. With the technologically advanced features, parking management software offers safety, privacy, and upgraded security features to all users. Parking management systems must also prevent unauthorized access to parking spaces which will improve the confidence of car owners to use your parking management platform.
Another benefit of parking management software to parking business is its versatility. It is quite easy for both parking space owners and vehicle owners to leverage it. The software is very flexible and offers convenience to users. Based on the number of vehicle traffic, you can adjust the software to cope up with the incoming bookings. As parking solutions are organized in a structured manner it is easier to regulate, manage, and control.
Parking management software offers a real-time capability to ensure that user demands of convenience and speed are fulfilled. The software can also be customized to include loyalty programs to reward regular customers. By creating customer profiles that collect data on buying patterns and behavior of users, a reward system helps to widen the customer base and to retain them at the same time.
- Increases revenue generation capabilities
Parking management systems also increase the revenue generation capability of your business and helps in boosting loyalty. Most parking businesses generate revenue by earning from the flat rate or hourly parking rates. If you are running a parking management marketplace, you will make money through commissions earned from each transaction. To set up additional revenue streams, you can offer premium listings, loyalty programs, and other add-on services to your users.
By implementing a parking management software for your business, you can automate the major operations. This automation reduces the staffing requirement as your business can save on labor and other costs. Automating the otherwise manual task improves response time and cuts down the time lost in fulfilling these tasks. Additionally, digitization also helps to reduce extra costs and offer a clear value proposition for ROI planning.
- Integrates other software applications
For better results, parking software uses integrated software applications that can be customized according to your business requirements. It creates space for third party software and integrations that are designed to make the user experience of your parking management software uniquely great.
Managing parking space is a demanding and tedious job and advanced parking management solutions that cater to a diverse requirement are essential to the success of any parking business. With an innovative parking management system that is dynamic, adaptable, and features highly customized functionalities can effectively improve customer satisfaction and optimize revenue generation. The efficient functioning of parking management software makes it a great integration for any type of parking business. A parking management system is mutually beneficial for both parking space businesses and users alike.
Coworking spaces are quickly gaining momentum across the globe for a couple of years. The concept of shared office spaces has been in the market for a while, but its popularity has been rising in recent years with entrepreneurs and freelancers looking for dynamic and flexible workspaces. Coworking spaces have disrupted the traditional work environment and are emerging as a rapidly growing sector and are expected to continue in 2020 as well. According to Statista, there will be over 22,400 coworking spaces by the beginning of 2020.
Coworking spaces are shared office spaces that allow both individuals and businesses to share the office space and resources like desks, meeting rooms, and collaborative areas. With the rising demand for coworking spaces among people, more and more brands are entering into the coworking space marketplace business to make it easy for people to find and book coworking spaces. But how much does building an Airbnb for coworking cost?
If you are looking for different ways on how to start a coworking marketplace, you are at the right place. In this blog, we will discuss the cost to create a coworking marketplace, its business model, essential features, and other factors that influence the overall cost.
The business model
Basically, coworking space marketplaces work exactly like Airbnb. While Airbnb is a peer-peer marketplace that connects travelers and hosts, coworking space marketplaces connect shared office space providers and businesses looking for shared office space rentals.
Just like Airbnb, coworking management software is also made for a mass market that connects different markets- Coworking space owners and entrepreneurs or freelancers through customized user experiences. When it comes to the revenue strategy, the platform makes the money from the commission for hosting listings and renting from each booking. For example, Airbnb takes a hosting fee of 3% and a rental fee of 6%-12% for each booking. While the basic revenue model of a peer-peer coworking management software is the commission model, you can employ other monetization strategies like premium listing, in-app purchases, etc.
The Cost to set up a coworking marketplace
Coworking marketplaces are complex and require a lot of work. The overall cost of starting a coworking marketplace depends on a lot of factors. Of course, the functionalities of the platform affect the overall cost. The good news is that there are cost-effective alternatives when it comes to building coworking marketplaces.
Let’s explore the factors that affect the shared office space cost.
Core features and functionalities
When you want to launch a coworking marketplace, it is important to differentiate between the core features and additional features of the platform. The coworking platform has three types of users- The coworking space owners, the renters, and the admin. The most complex part of development is in implementing the features for the service providers. Here are the common features and functionalities you must implement in your coworking marketplace.
To start using your coworking platform, both users (excluding admin) have to register and sign in. The basic option is to allow users to register using email and password registration. You can also allow social media signup to make it more convenient for users. Once the registration is done, users must be able to log into the platform.
Set up user profiles
After signing in, users must be able to create user profiles with their personal information like name, mail id, passwords, etc.
Coworking space owners must be able to list their shared office spaces in your platform with details like name, location, type, and images.
This is one of the important features of any coworking marketplace to help users find the right match. Your platform must have an advanced search system that allows users to search for coworking spaces based on location, availability, and various other factors.
The advanced booking system of the coworking space marketplace will allow users to check the availability of coworking spaces for a particular time frame. After inputting the desired date, the user must be able to see a list of suitable coworking spaces with all essential details like descriptions, photos, reviews, etc. Once a user makes a booking, the service provider will receive a notification and can choose to accept or decline the booking.
An in-app messaging system is essential to facilitate communication between service providers and renters to discuss things regarding booking a coworking space. This is an important feature that allows establishing trust between users.
If you are thinking about how to start a coworking marketplace business, this is one of the most important functions you must implement in your platform. Integrate a full-fledged online payment in your coworking space marketplace to make it easy for renters to pay for booked space and for service providers to receive payment for their rental services. The online payment system comes handy for users to make the payment on the go and for the admin to earn commissions from each transaction that happens in the marketplace.
Building a coworking platform
The most important part of launching a coworking business is to build a coworking marketplace. Building a coworking platform involves planning how to set up one. Do you want to build it from scratch or build the platform efficiently using a white label solution? These factors will play a major role in deciding the overall cost to set up a coworking marketplace.
Let’s cover the two alternatives and the cost involved.
• Building a coworking marketplace from scratch
• Building a coworking marketplace using a readymade script
Building a coworking marketplace from scratch
Creating a coworking marketplace from scratch is the most elaborate and costly method. The cost of starting a coworking marketplace depends on the unique requirements of your platform. There are a lot of aspects that influence the overall cost like the technical complexity, the number of platforms, the number of developers, standard or customized design, etc.
Each feature of your platform must be created and configured on both the client-side and server-side. The server-side tech stack is one of the significant and the most time-consuming part of the entire development process.
The overall cost to build an Airbnb for coworking space can range anywhere between $50,000-$100,000, or more depending on the average rate for a developer. Globally the price differs for an hour of developers and can range anywhere between $20-$500 per hour.
Building a coworking marketplace using a readymade script
Using a white label script to build your coworking marketplace is an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce the coworking space cost significantly. A readymade script is ready to deploy a program that helps to create a peer-peer rental marketplace with all the features and functionalities similar to Airbnb.
If you are thinking about how to start a coworking marketplace on a budget, a clone script saves you a lot of time, effort and yes, a significant amount of money as well. A good script comes with all features like powerful search, advanced filters, booking management system, communication system, online payment integration, multi-currency support, admin dashboard, and monetization features. And, all this will just cost you around $1000-$2000 alone with all the customizations you require.
Wrapping it up!
The trend of coworking space is increasing and is going to continue the same in 2020 as well. The cost of starting a coworking marketplace with a clone script is quite affordable when compared with the cost to build the marketplace from scratch. Building a peer-peer platform for your coworking space business is a better alternative as the work is already automated for you. You can customize it to incorporate any degree of personalization you require to make the final product unique.
Even with the high demand, there is a lack of an efficient coworking management software that connects two user groups to facilitate business between them. For the same reason, launching a coworking management software will always be a lucrative business.
Things have changed dramatically for the vacation industry and there is a year-year increase in the number of people booking vacation rental properties. According to this study, the vacation rental industry is expected to grow at a rate of 7.07% per year until 2021. Just like in any industry, the vacation rental industry is continuously changing.
Airbnb’s growth is at staggering rates with over 150 million itself is an indication that the vacation industry has grown into a massive industry. If you are a vacation rental business looking to continuously improve your property management to enhance the guest experience, it is important to know these 7 technological transformations in the vacation industry to thrive in the competitive industry.
The emergence of vacation rental booking platforms
A couple of decades ago, booking a rental property was hard. You either had to call up the providers directly to book rooms or contact through a reservation agent to make bookings. But today, modern technological advancements have made it possible for people to book vacation rentals in an easy and convenient manner. Vacation rentals platforms are a large community of vacation rental hosts that make it easy for property owners to create their listings and for travelers to book vacation rentals effortlessly. This growth of vacation rental platforms is expected to continue as the travel websites have started displaying vacation rentals in their search results. With this change, the vacation rental industry will have brand new business opportunities.
Traveler expectations are evolving
While this really is not a technological transformation, the evolution of traveler expectation has given rise to many significant technological advancements. Different generations crave different services when it comes to booking vacation homes. These days, millennials travelers prefer taking short and spontaneous trips and booking such trips is much easier and affordable with vacation rental platforms. Millennials constitute over half of vacation travels who expect a simple and instant booking process. If you are running a vacation rental business, ensure that your properties are listed in vacation rental platforms and offer instant booking. The demand for vacation rental websites among the new generation will grow as mobile technology continues to evolve.
The new generation is becoming increasingly comfortable with the online processes and modern technology that facilitates it. They look for memorable moments, unique travel experiences, and little extras to make their vacation memorable. Additionally, to ensure that their expectations are met, today’s travelers are indulging in more online research and reading and posting reviews to rate service providers. Today’s travelers also expect high-quality listings on vacation rental platforms like Airbnb. They like to see high quality, real pictures that make them feel like this is exactly the vacation rental they have been searching for. Young travelers are now comfortable with a simple check-in process and expect technology and connectivity through from booking to checkout.
The efficiency of processing bookings
Efficiency and speed of booking are significant for both travelers and vacation property owners as it allows them to scale their business as they expand their user base. With an increase in travelers seeking vacation rentals, it becomes important for property owners to track booking requests, reservations, guests to check-in, and process payments. Vacation rental platforms allow property owners to facilitate instant bookings, automate payment processing, and manage everything connected with booking and reservation with ease.
Data processing makes the difference
The right data can answer complex questions and makes the business process simple and efficient. If you want to know whether you are pricing your vacation rental correctly, or when it is time to increase your minimum stay requirements or to modify your check-in checkout times, data can tell you clearly. Vacation rental platforms give you a lot of information about booking, guest experiences, and a lot more so that you that tweak your offerings to deliver the best customer experience.
Subscription pricing gave way to transaction pricing
The days when property owners had to pay a subscription fee to list their properties are gone. The industry has come a long way from the subscription pricing pattern to the transaction pricing structure where property providers can create their listings on the vacation rental platforms for free. In the transaction pricing model, both hosts and guests have to pay a commission fee on every booking made.
Although vacation rental platforms take a share from booking profits, a lot of that money is used to attract more users and thereby drive more traffic to the platform. This pricing model also allows property owners to list their properties on multiple platforms as they don’t charge until booking is confirmed. In this way, property owners gain more exposure and have to pay at the time of completing a booking.
Efficient ways to avoid double bookings
Earlier when property owners received a booking request, they had to manually update their schedule and availability on each listing business website to avoid double bookings and last-minute cancellations. Today, vacation rental platforms centralize all bookings and allow property managers to manage their bookings from a single place. The rental platform also features robust API connections and synchronize calendars automatically eradicating even the smallest chance of double bookings.
Influence of Blockchain technology
Blockchain technology is positively influencing the vacation rental industry and offering immense opportunity for industry players. Vacation rentals on a Blockchain will allow guests to easily check the credibility of a host and the other way around as well. Even with all technological advancements, verification issues are still a problem as both users can create fraudulent accounts. But, with Blockchain technology, all user actions will be clearly recorded that helps in establishing trustworthiness.
Considering the fact that the Blockchain system is decentralized, the information within the system will be more transparent, trackable, and secure. Finally, Blockchain technology efficiently simplifies payment processing using cryptocurrencies. Being a global ledger, Blockchain technology also reduces the difficulties in billing and online transactions with credit cards. Additionally, Blockchain can also assist vacation rental platforms with managing loyalty programs allowing users to receive more profitable offers and deals.
Growth in the vacation rental industry has given rise to the myriads of technology solutions. Property owners around the world have started using vacation rental platforms and custom software to streamline their booking operations, marketing, guest communication, and other business processes. In short, both hosts and guests must adapt to technological advancements in the vacation rental industry to keep up with the competition and grow their business.
What once called ‘eBay for vacation rentals’ is now a standalone brand and an inspiration for many startup ideas. We are talking about Airbnb here. Of course, the platform follows a similar business model as eBay’s (C2C), but the Peer-to-Peer model that Airbnb trails-into is about rentals, not selling stuff.
Any eCommerce platform working on this model allows its users to sell products and services to each other, and the platform makes money from the commissions it get from the users in return for facilitating the transactions. Inspired by this business model of eBay, Airbnb was able to build its brand name and a place in the market. Today, this $30 billion company is giant enough to land its founders on the Forbes cover. A business that nailed the old school C2C eCommerce into something more profitable, accessible, broader, and branded.
What Airbnb did with eBay’s model is a perfect example of how little innovations in the existing business models can land you up with more profitable undertakings and even let you create a completely new segment in the market.
In this article, we are going to analyze a similar innovation that ‘Rent like a Champion’ did in 2006. We will see how it nailed the Airbnb’s business model, created its own segment, and managed to not only succeed despite Airbnb’s prominent presence but also secured a $200,000 investment from Shark Tank panelists Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca for a 10% stake.
What is ‘Rent like a Champion’?
Each year, millions of Americans travel across the country to enjoy football games, golf tournaments, racing events, and other kinds of festivals. The obvious choice for them is to either book an expensive hotel or camp around, which might not be a possible choice for everyone.
‘Rent like a Champion’ lets you book a homestay nearby the prominent places famous for hosting games and sports events across America. Their value proposition is to let sports lovers travel across the country and enjoy the games, while the platform will take care of arranging a comfortable homestay for them. If you are traveling alone or with your family to a game event, it’s most likely that you will find a nearby place to stay on ‘Rent like a Champion’.
How similar ‘Rent like a Champion’ and Airbnb are?
‘Rent like a Champion’ is very similar to Airbnb in terms of the business model they follow. They observe the same peer-to-peer rental marketplace model, except they offer a completely different type of service. Where Airbnb presents itself as an affordable alternative to hotels, lodges, and resorts in holiday destinations around the globe, ‘Rent like a Champion’ focuses around American sporting events, college festivals, and other kinds of events. It offers homestays nearby prominent sporting events destinations. Except for this, everything is almost similar to that of Airbnb.
- Catalog: Like Airbnb, you can find all kinds of dependent, independent, and furnished properties in their catalog
- Booking Process: Like Airbnb, you need to place a booking request, pay online, and wait for the booking confirmation email
- Listing fee: Like Airbnb, you can list your home free of cost on the platform
- Monetization: Like Airbnb, both homeowners and guests pay service fees on each transaction they make or get on the website
What makes ‘Rent like a Champion’ unique?
When players like Airbnb and HomeAway are already dominating the market for home-sharing and vacation rentals, ‘Rent like a Champion’ places itself strategically in a gap that giants can’t fill. We are talking about small towns in the US, which host hundreds of sporting events and fests each year, and millions of people move around to attend them.
They started as a football events home-sharing platform to offer comfortable homestays to the college students and football fans around the event-destinations. Initially, they operated in small towns like South Bend, IN, and Ann Arbor, which hardly concerned the likes of Airbnb and HomeAway.
Eventually, it gave locals a way to make some extra cash renting their homes out, and fans got some affordable alternatives to expensive hotel rooms. Most of the time, there was not even a single hotel near these locations, which allowed the platform to best without any competition. Small college towns were strategic grounds for business where none of the giants and traditional hotels had any prominence.
Until 2015, ‘Rent like a Champion’ continued on its niched ground and focused only on football events and homestays around them. However, once they featured in Shark Tank and secured the investments, they finally expanded into other actions such as golf tournaments and racing events. Moving forward, they even collaborated with NASCAR tracks and became official homestay partners to their events.
Lessons to take from ‘Rent like a Champion’
Today, ‘Rent like a Champion’ has doubled the number of houses on its platforms. It’s experiencing a balanced growth on both sides of the platform: Hosts and Guests. Of course, the appearance on Shark Tank gave a massive marketing boost, but they were able to feature only because they had a great idea. It’s run by as few as 12 employees and yet has managed to become a prominent name among the American sports fans. We found the following takeaways from the company’s recent developments inspiring:
Micro-Niche: They knew the overall home-sharing market is not an easy nut to crack with Airbnb, HomeAway, and traditional hotels already there. Therefore, they focused on a micro-niche that no one had explored yet. Please note that they did not even cover all kinds of sporting events but only college football games in the early days. They did not go for a niche but a micro-niche.
Patience: They began in 2006 and served in a micro-niche until it was a good time to expand into other events after they secured investment and good exposure. They had an idea and dared to experiment with it on a small scale. It’s something that many entrepreneurs lack. We have to understand that not every successful business starts with a bang. They started small, but they aim to grow bigger with a presence at every popular event, from the Super Bowl to the Kentucky Derby eventually.
Focus on the core audience: Although they now have expanded into many other towns covering other kinds of sporting events, they still present their core business as a solution for college football games. You can take this cue from every successful business in history. For instance, Airbnb. Though Airbnb now also offers hotel rooms, luxury villas, and even palaces in its catalog, it still manages to attract its core audience – i.e. the people looking for affordable homestays at holiday destinations.
The success of ‘Rent like a Champion’ is a clear indication that the peer-to-peer property rentals market still has tons of space for the new entrants. Why limit your idea with just home rentals? One can start an Airbnb for storage spaces or an Airbnb for car parking spaces. Besides, hundreds of many other niches have not seen any ventures yet. Everything that you can sell on an eCommerce site has the potential to fit into the rentals market as well. For example, you can follow the same peer-to-peer renting model and start a camping van rental, party supplies rental, event venue rental, co-working space rental, Vanity Vans rental, Ski supplies rental, Gym equipment rental, Construction equipment rentals, and many more. So, what’s your unique rental business idea?