If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Last year, Hyatt was a major part of a group that invested $40 million in U.K-based home rental start-up Onefinestay. Today, French hotel company AccorHotels purchased the company for an estimated $168.45 million, waging the latest battle in the hotel industry's ongoing war against Airbnb.
Onefinestay currently has 2,600 properties in major cities, including London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Rome. It will operate as an independent business unit of Accor, with co-founder Greg Marsh staying on as CEO.
Accor said it would invest a further $73 million in the group to help it “scale internationally,” the Financial Times is reporting, with the aim of entering 40 cities around the world in the next five years.
AccorHotels CEO Sébastien Bazin has said in the past the company "made a mistake" when it passed up the chance to invest in Airbnb. “We are accelerating the transformation of our business model to capture the value creation linked to the rise of private rentals and also strengthening our presence in the luxury market with a complementary offer,” he said in a statement when the acquisition was announced.
Marsh, meanwhile, said that "a number" of other hotel groups had expressed an interest in partnering the company in various ways, including through an acquisition, but that AccorHotels was the most "strategically and materially committed” of the interested businesses."
Airbnb offers more rooms than many major chains, the Financial Times notes, and a full 10 percent of its bookings are now for business travel. With these numbers in mind, several hotel companies and OTAs are looking to cash in on the trend rather than compete with a growing behemoth. In November, Expedia acquired HomeAway, another Airbnb competitor, in a deal with worth about $4 billion.