Home sharing start-up attracts investment from hotel groups

Home sharing start-up attracts investment from hotel groups

Hotel companies are investing in home-sharing start-up rivals to Airbnb and launching digital initiatives designed to cater to travellers looking for alternative forms of accommodation.

Hyatt Hotels is reported today to be among a group of investors to join a $40 million fundraising round for UK-based Onefinestay, which allows people to sleep in luxury locations.

Wyndham Hotels has taken a stake in London-based start up LoveHomeSwap, a subscription service that allows homeowners to swap their homes, according to two people familiar with the matter.

One person valued the group’s stake at £7.5 million, the Financial Times reported, although both companies declined to comment.

InterContinental Hotels Group announced digital initiatives in April including a partnership with Stay.com, an Oslo-based group that offers tailored tourist guides.

Accor chief executive, Sébastien Bazin, recently admitted it was a mistake not to have become an investor in Airbnb in the past, but signalled he was open to working more closely with the San Francisco-based group.

“We are not competitors,” said Bazin during an event where he discussed the hotel industry alongside an Airbnb executive. “What can we do together? Most likely many things.”

Airbnb said it had no formal partnerships with hotel companies, but does not prohibit them from listing rooms through its site.

The hotel industry had previously argued that Airbnb and other popular home-sharing sites such as HomeAway did not pose a competitive threat.

Airbnb provides a choice of 1.5 million homes, from city-centre apartments to tree houses, in more than 190 countries.

That means it offers more rooms than global hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton.

It emerged last week that Airbnb was on the brink of raising $1.5 billion at a valuation of $24 billion.

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