Leave The Mess To ‘Guesty’: Israeli Startup Manages Your ‘Airbnb’ Property For You
Renting your property through Airbnb for short periods can be quite a hassle: tourists come and go frequently, and you’re left with the mess and the dirt. For people trying to sublet their room or apartment from abroad, the deal becomes even trickier. That’s why two Israelis started an online company that offers property management services for Airbnb hosts.
Guesty is your personal Airbnb assistant. It is an online service for managing Airbnb rental listings everywhere in the world. It was founded by the Israeli twin brothers, Amiad and Kobi Soto, in December 2013. The purpose of Guesty is to take the hassle out of vacation rentals by offering various tools to manage your property.
Customers can choose between using one, some or all of the tools for the price of 3 percent of the original Airbnb listing. For example, if an apartment is listed for $100 a night, property owners will pay Guesty $3 per night for its services. The services Guesty offers range from automatic tools, such as screening guests to fit your demands; sending e-mails before and after rental periods; and providing directions to important logistic arrangements, such as scheduling cleanings and key drop-offs. Guesty can even evaluate the prices of hotels and rentals around your area to help you price your property accordingly. Customers can choose services and determine just how involved they are with managing their property.
“Guesty makes me a better host, my guests are happier and it saves me a lot of time,” says Eitan Rubin, a Guesty user from Tel Aviv. “Guesty frees me from dealing with my apartment listings and cleaning”.
In January 2014, Guesty completed its first round of investment, raising $1.5 million, mainly from two well-known companies in the industry – YCombinator, the veteran startup accelerator company that has Airbnb itself under its wings, and Magma VC, the Israeli venture capital firm that has Waze on its portfolio. Or as Amiad Soto, the CEO and co-founder of Guesty puts it – “We’re in good hands”. Over the past year, Guesty, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, has managed 1,600 Airbnb listings in 35 different countries.
Jumping on the Airbnb bandwagon
The concept of managing rentals for people has been around for years. Some companies have changed their strategies to attend only to Airbnb’s properties and other online listings services; however, most property managers work locally, where they are based.
Guesty is one of the first companies to manage properties listed online on a global scale. “We are available wherever there is internet, like an online cloud for managing properties,” Amiad says. That is also how Guesty manages cleanings without having a local representative in the area of the property. Guesty has a database of cleaning companies and professionals around the world. If you have a preferred company or person, you can ask Guesty to schedule with them for you and Guesty will also add them to its database.
Guesty’s business strategy relies on Airbnb’s enormous successes in the last couple of years. Lately though, Airbnb has been under attack by municipalities and the hotel industry. New laws in San-Francisco, Berlin and other major cities, restrict short-term rentals. In Barcelona, Airbnb was recently fined 300,000 Euros for breaking local touristic laws.
However, Amiad doesn’t seem to be concerned with the recent controversy. “In the beginning of the 20th century, the car industry took a lot of heat from the horse and carriage industry,” He says. “I am not afraid of regulations; we are on the right side of history”.
As to Guesty’s future, Amiad states several objectives: to perfect the company’s services; to become a leader in its industry; to expand in central popular cities around the world, such as Berlin and New-York city; to improve and expand Guesty’s toolset by managing properties for additional online listings services, such as Tripadvisor and Houstrip; and to offer services for guests as well for hosts. With forecasts suggesting that by 2016 Airbnb will take over 10 percent of the hotel industry, Guesty can expect a busy 2015.