We travelled to Dallas for the 20th anniversary of the Corporate
Housing Providers Association conference, and caught up with
Michael Goldin, Director of Property Manager Success and
Mickey Kropf, COO of rented.com based in Atlanta, USA.
Founded in 2012, rented.com is pivoting from a 'boot-strapped' start-up into the next phase of growth. Rebranded from VacationFutures to rented.com in September 2015, the move signifies the company's expansion into the broader 'Sharing Economy,' a space that PwC projects will grow from $15B to $335B by 2025.
How did rented.com start and how big is the team?
Our co-founder owned self-managed properties and was very busy and time sensitive - like a lot of people these days, and noticed both agents and owners had a haphazard approach to rentals with little consistency and professionalism. We are a team of nearly 20 and continue to grow.
How has the company grown since launch?
We have assets listed on 5 continents, 100K+ rental weeks listed, deals ranging from four to six figures, and thousands of owners involved worldwide. The company was honed at The Startup Factory accelerator program, won PhoCusWright's 'Most Innovative Startup Award,' and currently works out of Georgia Tech's Technology Business Incubator, ATDC, in Midtown Atlanta.
What's your product offering?
We provide an online wholesale marketplace where professional short term rental management companies can grow their inventories of properties under management in the quickest, easiest and most efficient way possible.
We like to think we professionalize the Sharing Economy through 'outright sharing' -- the idea that assets can be better utilized, and asset owners will profit more when those assets are put into the hands of professional managers for full-time rental.In professionalizing the sharing economy, rented.com helps owners generate maximum income from many types of unused assets, while mitigating the hassle and risk associated with asset sharing.
Who are your target clients?
We target local and traditional short term rental property management companies looking for mainly corporate master leases on the 'buyer' side and individual 2nd, 3rd or 4th home and apartment owners that recognise the requirement to monetise the excess inventory they possess on the 'seller' side.
What is the split of property inventory and can you tell us of any changes within the market dynamic?
An equal split of around 50% urban, and 50% vacation rentals in holiday destinations like Orlando and Hilton Head.
Our urban inventory is growing due to the boom in short term rental awareness and growth of companies like Airbnb and Home Away. As a result, traveller demand outstrips supply in urban markets and we are seeing a repositioning of long term rentals to short term rentals with higher yield potential.
Around 60% of the short term rental market is privately self-managed, and this leads to sprawling eco-systems which in turn drives the need for regulation
Is there anything that rented.com has been required to change or do differently since launch?
We have changed a lot since the early days. For one, rented. developed the first robust online marketplace connecting homeowners with professional management companies. We focus on end to end user experience, making the process as easy as possible for both the homeowners and management companies. We also have the capability now for homeowners to receive offers in multiple ways- fixed rent (master lease) offers or success offers (commission) which are more standard in the vacation rental industry. We started out with fixed rent offers only, and while we still think this is the best way for both parties in most cases, we had continued requests from both sides of our marketplace to have the capability to make/receive commission offers.
What challenges have you overcome since launch, and how does rented.com see the future of the corporate housing and vacation rental sectors?
We've long predicted the future of Vacation Rentals will mirror the consolidation and convergence that the hotel industry went through in the 50's. This consolidation is continuing with the very recent announcements of Accor taking an investment in Oasis Collections along with Choice Hotels announcing they moving into the vacation rental space as well. The consolidation is certainly not over and we expect this trend to continue until there are 'brands' across the industry. A vacationer who had a great experience with a rental management company in Park City must find a different company when he travels to Palm Springs. As the consolidation continues, the same traveller will be able to get that same experience he is looking for from one company.
Where do you envisage rented.com to be in two years? What's your plans for the future?
rented.com's plans have always been to professionalize the sharing economy by helping owners generate income from many types of unused high-value assets, while leaving the work up to a certified professional. Over the next few years we have plans for geographic expansion, as well as expansion into different high value asset classes.
rented.com CEO and co-founder, Andrew McConnell is a speaker at the forthcoming Serviced Apartment Summit Americas, April 13-14, NYC