HomeToGo is eager to prove itself as a sustainable and yet growing business in vacation rentals. However, for it to succeed in the long game, the Berlin-based company will need a razor sharp focus on geographical expansion and organic growth — not just acquisitions.
German vacation rental marketplace HomeToGo’s focus on repeat demand, gaining a stronghold outside its core market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and increasing its onsite booking rate is how its sees a path to profitability.
In an earnings report out on Thursday, the Berlin-based company, listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, posted a loss (adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of €20 million ($21.8 million), which was near the top of the guidance range and ahead of the initial outlook for the financial year 2022. Its booking revenues were up 32 percent for the year ending in 2022 at €163.7 million ($178 million). In January this year, the company said it was on track to break even in 2023, buoyed by the optimism of a much greater backlog of bookings at the beginning of 2023 than the previous year.
“We will continue to scale our supply across Europe and North America, build an unparalleled experience to efficiently drive repeat demand and further innovate technology solutions that help fuel the entire alternative accommodation ecosystem,” said Dr. Patrick Andrae, co-founder and CEO of HomeToGo.
Founded in 2014 as a vacation rental metasearch or holiday home comparison-shopping business, HomeToGo sends site visitors to third-party partners for reservations, but has moved toward a hybrid model combining what it calls “onsite” bookings and offsite metasearch referrals to partner sites over the past few years.
For fiscal year 2022, it clocked in €76.7 million ($83.7 million) of onsite bookings — which amounted to 54 percent of all booking revenue.
The company prides itself on its cash reserves, deeming it a “differentiator” in an environment marked by increasing interest rates and volatile financing markets. Its net cash reserve for the year ended in 2022 stood at €153 million ($167 million).
“Our rock solid liquidity clearly is a differentiator in an environment characterized by increasing interest rates, overall more volatile financing markets and with that, a more difficult environment for growth companies to access funding. So we are very well positioned in that regard,” said chief financial officer Steffen Schneider told analysts during the earnings call.
But HomeToGo is not unique in this regard. Skift reported last month that four major online travel companies, including Airbnb, Bookings Holdings, Trip.com and Expedia, had around $34 billion in cash and equivalents on the books at the end of 2022.
The real question for HomeToGo is how efficiently it uses the cash for growth.
The company made three acquisitions last year: Starting with AMIVAC to expand in France, e-domizil for $45 million in March and in June last year, the company announced its latest purchase by acquiring the remaining 81 percent stake in vacation rental travel tech provider SECRA.
“We are aiming to increase our ambition to target for more subscription sales to French small partners, and further look to offer commission for them and complement with HomeToGo inventory,” Andrae said in an earnings call on Thursday. “And lastly, we want to position Amivac as the HomeToGo lead brand in the French market leveraging on the already existing brand awareness.”
HomeToGo is gaining momentum in Europe with subsidiaries in Spain and Italy and has is present as a operator in Australia and Brazil. But the company only has a 18 percent onsite share in North America, where it has the “longest way to go,” according to Schneider.
“We want to repeat in North America what we already did in Germany, Austria and Switzerland — building the onsite business,” Schneider told Skift. “We wouldn’t exclude the possibility of acquisitions in North America but for our business to make sense, we would acquire a medium-size player, and North America is a much bigger market where there are three big online travel agencies, several smaller players and few medium-sized companies.”
HomeToGo currently operates localized apps and websites in 25 countries. And before going public in 2021, HomeToGo raised a total of $176 million in private funding over six rounds.
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Photo credit: HomeToGo, a travel startup focused on vacation rental price comparison and software for property managers, is on an acquisition spree. Source: HomeToGo.