In the spotlight: MaisonPrive short term rentals

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• What's your background?
"Rami Shamaa is a co-founder and managing director. He has 15 years of experience in M&A, business development and strategic management, with GE, Abraaj Capital, EFG- Hermes, Booz Allen Hamilton and an affiliate of Morgan Stanley. He was most recently a business development and M&A director at General Electric (GE), where he was responsible for driving the execution of business development activities to help position GE for accelerated growth in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey through joint ventures, partnerships and investments. Rami has an MBA from Harvard Business School and BA with highest honors from the American University in Cairo."

"Paul Mallee is also a co-founder and managing director. He has extensive expertise in travel/tourism, strategy, program management and corporate development. He is a former head of strategy at Etihad Airways and an alumnus of the global strategy consultancy Strategy& (formerly known as Booz & Company/Booz|Allen|Hamilton) providing advice to travel and transport sector clients. Paul also served as chairman of Bus Éireann, Ireland's national bus/travel company.
• Why did you decide to launch MaisonPrive in Dubai?
"Having lived in Dubai for many years, Rami and Paul identified the potential for short term rentals in the market. A change in the regulations governing short term letting opened up the opportunity to build and scale a business in this space. These aspects coupled with a 'business friendly' environment solidified the idea to launch in Dubai as the initial market for MaisonPrive."
• What research did you do, prior to launch?
"Having spent many years within consulting and private equity, the natural instinct to conduct detailed research and planning came through. We spent a lot of time understanding the dynamics of the market, the regulatory structures and the competitive behaviours of other players before refining our business model and launching our business."
• What is your product offering?
"MaisonPrive is a virtual hotel brand which offers private residential properties as an alternative to traditional hotels, delivered through the effective management of individual properties on behalf of independent owners. We help property owners drive increased revenue from their properties by helping them capitalise on the strong demand for corporate and tourist accommodation in the city. It's simple and stress-free, with a focus on customer service. We offer hassle-free full management services of properties, including assisting in furnishing, maintenance, utility and service fee payments, branding, marketing, collecting revenue and security deposits from guests, cleaning and guest relations.  For our guests, MaisonPrive focuses on the management and provision of high standards of accommodation by hand picking each and every property to come under our portfolio. We take care of our guests with complete hospitality services, including checking in/out, leveraging our 24/7 support team for any questions or troubleshooting during the stay, offering concierge services, and utilising our professional cleaning services with fresh linens, towels, and toiletries between stays."
• How many apartments do you manage and what are you forecasting in the future?
"We have a pipeline of some 100 apartments on our books with a forecast to grow our business to over 500 within the next few years."
• What is your target guest profile?
"We have a strong focus on mid-high end tourists and corporate guests. It is our core objective to provide our guests with a 'home away from home', an environment where they can relax and enjoy the facilities of our luxurious apartments wrapped in a full suite of services."
• What's the average length of stay?
"We have an average stay of 20 days across our portfolio, blending our long stay corporate customers and our shorter stay vacation guests."
• How are you generating supply and demand?
"While we leverage an array of distribution channels such as, we also drive significant demand though our corporate network. We have signed up a number of multi-national companies, providing accommodation for their staff on assignment and during transfer processes. On the supply side, we are dealing directly with developers, through our network and through referrals to sign up new customers."
• The Dubai government recently worked with Airbnb on regulating the holiday home letting market. Has this been beneficial to your growth?
"It's always helpful when regulatory structures and approaches foster cooperation with significant players in the broader industry. Airbnb are an important player in the industry and opening up the opportunity for guests to book through that portal will of course help drive demand."
• What challenges and opportunities have you faced so far?
"Scaling quickly requires the coordination of many things all at the same time. Whether it's the on-boarding and furnishing of properties to exacting standards, managing the chicken and egg of supply and demand or ensuring that the right team is in place to meet demands, the balance must be found. The many challenges are what makes a start-up so interesting!"
• Are you looking to expand your service outside of Dubai, and if so what regions have the most upside and why?
"Becoming the leading player in Dubai is the first item on the strategic agenda. Subsequent assessment of the optimal markets to move in next will follow."

The opportunities and challenges faced within the region's holiday home and short term rental market are being discussed as part of Serviced Apartment Summit MEA, Nov 12-13, The Address Boulevard, Dubai


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