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- Brand building blocks: The design of trust in a digital world
- The rise and fall: Britain’s ten booming and ten blundering business sectors
- TrustedHousesitters: The house and pet-sitting platform transforming the way people travel
Outside of the tech madness and wild numbers thrown around in San Francisco, moving Airbnb out of the equation, the sharing economy in the UK is truly thriving.This much was proven with Accor’s decision to buy London-headquartered Onefinestay in a £167m deal. The 2009-launched British company, a luxury home rental network that also services the households for members, was bought for £117m and further bolstered with a £50m investment for scaling purposes. A similar trend was witnessed as home exchange marketplace Love Home Swap secured a £7.5m investment from Wyndham Worldwide. It saw the UK company, which was founded by sharing economy pioneer Debbie Wosskow, go on to acquire a Holland-based rival. To that end, it’s safe to assume that Onefinestay will have some acquisitions of its own on the agenda. Who knows, a Love Home Swap merger on the way, perhaps? Onefinestay boasts a mixture of guests that stay for business and pleasure, with its on-call team delivering a “made-to-measure, personal service”. It sounds awfully like the welcome provided by a hotel, sure, but it’s a private bubble that temporarily belongs to the guest. Rather than being stubborn and difficult about this disruptive insurgent infringing on its turf, Accor saw opportunity in what could have otherwise been considered a threat.
Frankly, if Accor hadn’t made the move then it’s highly likely another hotel chain would have eventually seized the chance for itself and made a bid. After all, the forward-thinking attitude of Marriott saw the hospitality giant unexpectedly push into virtual reality.
Check out my previous columns:
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“Onefinestay has successfully captured a sweet spot: a combination of needs that neither traditional hotels nor new actors of the sharing economy can meet,” admitted Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels“With the acquisition of this exceptional brand, unique operating model and outstanding management team, AccorHotels is developing as the worldwide leader of the serviced homes market.” He went on to say that the deal will be transformative for Accor’s business model. As it stands, Onefinestay is servicing 2,600 properties in locations including London, New York, Paris, LA and Rome. With Accor behind it, the firm has a five-year plan to extend its reach into 40 new cities globally, while boosting revenues tenfold. The omnipotence of Airbnb has been met with conflict from local hotels in destinations such as Paris. In summer 2015 it was slammed by some as “an unfair competition”. But war is not always the answer when it comes to business, as much as it may seem the obvious instinct. In the case of Onefinestay and Accor, the £170m partnership is mutually beneficial, and as the age-old saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them”. By Zen Terrelonge
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