Hyatt, Wyndham invest in home-sharing rivals to Airbnb

Onefinestay, a 5-year-old business out of London that focuses on renting out private luxury homes, has raised $40 million — a Series D round of funding that the company plans to use to keep growing its business. The CEO and co-founder Greg Marsh boasts its size is already six times larger than the inventory of The Ritz, The Plaza, Hotel George V and Hotel Bel-Air combined. Unlike Airbnb, Onefinestay picks only the “finest properties,” which it cleans and maintains and provides a 24/7 concierge service. It operates in London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

The fact that Marsh compares Onefinestay’s size to that of luxury hotels speaks both to the company’s target customers, but also its ambitions to be a hotel replacement, reports Tech Crunch. That makes it all the more interesting that a key strategic investor in this round is one of the bigger chains of luxury hotels in the world. Alongside Intel Capital, Quadrant Capital, Index Ventures and Canaan Partners, Onefinestay has brought on Hyatt Hotels as one of its newest backers.

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According to The FT, Wyndham Hotels, whose brands include Ramada and Travelodge, has a stake in another London-based start-up called LoveHomeSwap – a subscription service that allows homeowners to swap their properties.

IHG recently launched a series of mobile and in-hotel digital technology pilots which included a partnership with Stay.com, an Oslo-based firm that offers digital tourist guides, reports Buying Business Travel. These investments follow the rise of Airbnb among business travelers. Last year the San Francisco based company said around 10 per cent of its customers were corporate and is looking to grow that market and has partnered with travel and expense company Concur. Airbnb has been attacked from traditional hoteliers including Accor and NH Hotels who have concerns over health and safety regulations.

So some brands are trying to collaborate rather than compete - and we may well come full circle and be able to book hotel rooms via the disruptors, reports Management Today. Others are upping their brand and technological games in an attempt to go toe to toe with the independent, app-booked allure of Airbnb and others. For example, Radisson now has sub-brand Radisson Blu, while Marriott has a check-in app.

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