Startup Success Story -Homesuite
Homesuite is the world’s first transactional marketplace for corporate housing. They make finding and booking a comfortable, furnished apartment or house easy. The leases are monthly, and most of their business travel customers end up staying for 2-3 months. When you travel for work on assignments of a month or more, you want to feel at home. Homesuite delivers your #HomeSuiteHome.
It also wants to become the go-to option for corporate housing, here’s how Homesuite aims to do all this and what the CEO has to say about the start up
Q) Tell us a little about Homesuite and your personal motivation behind starting it?
David, CEO: “I really like a flexible lifestyle, so throughout my adult life, I have moved between apartments and houses a lot. I prefer renting furnished places with short leases. It can be a huge pain to track down these kinds of apartments! It can be tough to find furnished housing for a short-term lease, and landing a booking for these properties can be even worse. Homesuite is all about fixing these problems. We aim to make booking monthly furnished housing as easy as booking a hotel room.”
Q) Can you give us a rundown of how Homesuite works?
It’s easy to browse our site for rental options in the city you’ll be visiting for your work assignment. Whether you’re browsing for your own travel, or booking on behalf of someone else, the entire process can be quick and painless: you find an listing you like, fill out the interest form, and our sales team will call you and make sure it matches your needs. If you are an executive assistant or on the HR team and often have to book for someone else in your company, then your best option is to call us and set up a profile for your company. We have long-term relationships with corporate travel managers and travel agents and anyone else that frequently books accommodation for clients or coworkers. Those folks stand to benefit the most because they know that by using Homesuite, they’re going to get access to the best monthly rental inventory and our excellent sales team. As we get to know your company’s travel needs, we’ll be able to provide you with unmatched service. Our sales team also has long-term relationships with some of the best local property owners and managers.
Q) What are the biggest challenges you have faced, how have you overcome these.
One of the challenges we face is familiarity. The reason we started this company was to provide a more transparent, streamlined starting place for finding and booking corporate housing. Before Homesuite, it was really difficult to know what type of housing would be best for a particular budget, location preference. We’re a growing brand, but we haven’t splashed out on any big ad campaigns. We’re opting to grow more organically right now. We want to become the go-to option for corporate housing.
Another big challenge is managing the seasonality of this business. Demand for temporary housing is much higher in the summer. In the past, we’ve had to staff up to meet summer demand and then reduce staff in late autumn. Those staffing changes are something we’re trying to avoid.
Q) According to your experience, what is the most important thing to keep in mind for all on demand companies.
Balancing supply and demand is paramount for a marketplace like ours. We need our landlords and property managers to get enough business to keep their vacancy rates low, but we also need enough available housing to give any prospective tenant a variety of options that meet their needs.
Q) Do you plan to launch services in new regions? If yes, what would be your strategy?
As we grow, we’re really focused on providing the best service possible in our core markets: Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles, Greater New York City, Boston, DC, Seattle and Chicago. In time, we’ll expand to be a truly national platform and after that, perhaps an international platform. In fact, we already get lots of international interest, especially from property owners in other countries who would like to list their properties on Homesuite.
Q) Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build Homesuite ?
We’ve built our product database on AWS. We use Salesforce for our CRM and HubSpot for our marketing automation. We use Looker for business intelligence, Stripe for payments, Zendesk for customer care and DocuSign for digital leases.
Q) What is one particular Marketing Tool or process you swear by that has helped you gain more users on the platform?
Our recent Facebook ad campaign has proven pretty successful. We targeted it towards a particular vertical: traveling nurses. Since travel nurses travel frequently and don’t frequently get directly addressed by brands, we saw great sharing of our ads and a big spike in referral traffic to our website.
Q) What sets you apart from the competition?
Compared to hotels, we’re often far more affordable. In a major city like Los Angeles, the average nightly hotel rate is often around $250 when the average nightly rate for a Homesuite property of comparable or better quality is closer to $150. Comfort and style are also big differentiators. Our housing listings have full kitchens and tend to have higher quality furniture and decor than hotel rooms. They feel unique…a place that feels like your home away from home.
Compared to many corporate housing providers, we’re also often far more affordable. Some traditional corporate housing providers are quite expensive.
Q) What is your biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
It’s hard to single out one. I’d say our biggest achievement to date has been helping booking agents get their job done faster, easier and with less stress. It’s starting to show in the comments we’re getting back after leases close and we couldn’t be more proud.
Q) Have you been targeted by municipalities for the same reasons Airbnb has?
We have not. The primary reason is that our leases are a minimum of 30 days. For most municipalities, that puts our leases in a different category than nightly rentals. Our landlords like that a lot because it means that they don’t have to worry about any any potential fines from the city. It fits in nicely with our mission of taking the stress out of booking temporary housing.
- Vertical – Real Estate
- Headquarters – SOMA neighbourhood of San Francisco.
- Funding – Series B funding round in August 2015, raised $10M.
- Founders – David Adams
- Founded on – 2014
You can check their website here – Website