Skift Take

Christian Lee joined Mint House as CEO in March, and 100 days into the role and a year after the company’s $35 million fundraise, Lee has his work cut out for him. But the former WeWork CFO isn’t a stranger to a volatile industry. 

Christian Lee joined Mint House as CEO in March, and 100 days into the role and a year after the company’s $35 million fundraise, Lee has his work cut out for him. But the former WeWork CFO isn’t a stranger to a volatile industry. 

I caught up with Lee yesterday to learn more about the direction New York-based Mint House will take under his helm. Following are the highlights from the conversation.

  • The company continues to focus on acquiring Class A properties — managing apartments in multifamily buildings. Lee noted that the focus is not only on expanding to more markets in the U.S. (global expansion isn’t a priority for now) but also bringing more units within its fold as well as managing entire buildings.
  • Mint House’s major challenge right now is the lack of brand awareness. This is especially hard to overcome with a small marketing budget. “We are relatively small compared to hotel chains, and we don’t have the budget to do Super Bowl ads, so raising awareness among both landlords and customers continues to be a challenge,” Lee said.
  • The company manages the units under revenue-share agreements with building owners. Lee noted that Mint House has started working with landlords earlier in the process, getting involved in redevelopment, building renovation and sometimes construction of new buildings.
  • In terms of its sales strategy, Mint House wants to maximize its distribution potential, listing on all major platforms including Booking.com, Airbnb and the like. It also has an in-house sales team that works to get contracts with companies and local institutions in an area. Lee emphasized the company’s strategy to stay local and get involved with the community. 
  • Mint House’s ideal acquisition target: Companies that can help it scale to grow into a market and/or companies with interesting propositions for improving its tech stack. 

Bob W’s Greek Foray

Finnish short-term rental operator Bob W is opening its first properties in Greece. Last month, the company made a foray into the Netherlands, also with two properties. In May last year, the company bought Estonishing Stay, which was the largest short-stay apartment operator in Estonia at that time. Subsequently in October, Bob W acquired KOTI Hotel, a Finnish competitor, while also securing €21 million ($23 million) in series A funding, bringing the company’s total raised amount to €31 million ($34 million). In April this year, the operator expanded into the German market by acquiring Charly Hospitality.

AirDNA’s Acquisition

Short-term rental data provider AirDNA has acquired New York-based firm Arrivalist, a location intelligence platform for the travel industry. The deal brings both companies under Predictis, an umbrella group software and data business overseen by Alpine Investors. The deal was funded by Alpine Investors, which recently raised $4.5 billion for its technology buyout fund. 

In Case You Missed It

Starting this month, the Department of Licenses and Inspections in Philadelphia will begin telling short-term rental booking platforms, such as Airbnb and Vrbo, to remove unlicensed listings. This enforcement phase aligns with a City Council ordinance from 2021, and as a result, numerous unlicensed short-term rental listings will be taken down from booking websites in the upcoming weeks. The department has determined nearly 85% (about 1,500-1,700 properties) of short-term rental properties in Philadelphia are unlicensed.

The department began notifying booking agents of unlicensed short-term rental properties on July 12, 2023.  The booking agents are required to remove the listing within five business days of notice, as per the law. Notices will be sent to hosts letting them know that the City of Philadelphia identified an issue, and their short-term rental will be removed from the list of available properties. Hosts then will have an opportunity to update the registration or convert to long-term rental (more than 30 days) only. 

AllTheRooms, a short-term rental data provider, still hasn’t said anything publicly about its role in providing numbers behind a viral tweet that alleged that Airbnb revenue was collapsing because of huge drop-offs in revenue per available listing in metro areas around the U.S. The CEO of Reventure Consulting cited AllTheRooms as the “source” of the data behind his June 27 tweet, which attracted 35 million views on Twitter alone. Now it turns out, Nick Gerli told Skift exclusively on Saturday that he took AllTheRooms county data, and turned it into metro area data for places such as Phoenix and Austin. Rival data vendors said those numbers way overestimated revenue per available listing shortfalls.

Behind the Source of the Virtual ‘Airbnb Collapse’ Data

New Money

Italian villa rentals operator Emma Villas is preparing to go public through an initial public offering (IPO) in early August. The IPO next month is targeting a capital increase of up to €10 million ($11.2 million). Following the IPO, Emma Villas plans to list on the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan, intending to utilize the funds raised to support its merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, enhance operations both in Italy and internationally, and accelerate its organic growth strategy.

Established in 2006 by Giammarco Bisogno, Emma Villas says it boasts a portfolio of approximately 500 exclusive properties. In 2022, the company achieved revenues of €28.3 million ($31.7 million), exhibiting a substantial growth rate of 56.5% compared to the previous year. 

Elsewhere on Skift

Marriott International has entered into a licensing agreement with MGM Resorts that will allow members of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program to earn points when they stay at any of the 17 MGM resorts, starting in October. By the end of the year, guests would be able to make reservations for the approximately 40,000 rooms in MGM’s Las Vegas properties through Marriott’s website and app.

Skift’s Sean O’Neill writes, “Expect other hotel companies to wager on gaming soon. After all, if airlines have code-shares and interlining agreements, why can’t hotels and gaming companies, too?”

Marriott to Bet on Gaming With MGM Resorts Loyalty Program Tie-Up

Srividya Kalyanaraman writes the Skift Short-Term Rental Report. Contact her with news tips and feedback at [email protected]

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