Fresh Airbnb marketing partnership gives Sydney startup Hometime the edge on competitors


Hometime co-founders Dave Thompson and Will Crock. Source: Supplied

Short term rental management startup Hometime has gained the edge on its competitors by locking in a partnership with property rental giant Airbnb in the Australian and New Zealand market.

Hometime was founded by Dave Thomson and William Crock in 2016, offering homeowers a way to price, market and manage their short-term rental properties, plus a housekeeping service to keep it clean while guests aren’t there.

Last year, the startup raised $1.5 million in seed funding from local venture capital and angel investors, and Thomson tells StartupSmart since the raise, the company has been seeing a comfortable revenue growth of 20% month-on-month.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to partner with some fantastic investors who came on board last year, and we’ve been working with them really closely since then,” he says.

“The business has grown very nicely in the last six months, and we invested a large portion of our capital raise into growth and further improving our tech.”

The startup has also been busy locking down the newly announced Airbnb partnership, which came about fairly seamlessly according to Thomson, who says he and the startup’s 30-plus employees having been “living and breathing Airbnb” since day dot.

The partnership will see Airbnb promote Hometime through its website and user forums, and provide the startup with deeper access to Airbnb’s support teams. Thomson says its part of an initiative announced earlier this year by Airbnb, which is focused on making the service ‘for everyone’.

He says Hometime’s constant and strategic approach to investing in their relationship with the $US31 billion rental company has paid out dividends in culminating in this partnership, and was aided in part by some of Airbnb’s staff using the Hometime platform themselves.

“We’ve obviously demonstrated a good track record, and some of the Airbnb Sydney team use us for their properties,” Thomson says.

“Hometime is very fortunate to be selected as one of the partners with Airbnb. We’re the only partner in the Australia and New Zealand region at this point, though we understand they’ve made similar arrangements with one or two companies in the UK.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity being recognised like this by Airbnb, and it’s certainly something we’re really proud of and it holds us in good stead for the future.”

Partnership gives an edge

Thomson says the partnership gives Hometime the edge over other short-term rental management startups that have popped up over the past few years, such as MadeComfy and HeyTom. This isn’t to say Airbnb won’t forge future partnerships with similar companies, but Thomson says Hometime will “hopefully” be the only one for the foreseeable future.

The startup is also looking to further cement itself in the market and grow across the Tasman through expansion to both Brisbane and Auckland later this year. The team is hoping to raise another round of capital to help fund the expansion, with Thomson saying he’s looking to “go back to market” in the short term.

Hometime’s long-term growth is firmly focused on expansion, and while Thomson says a potential exit is a “hopeful outcome”, the startup isn’t considering any exit options at this point. Specifically, he says there’s been “no discussion” of an acquisition or similar with Airbnb.

In advice to other startup founders, Thomson’s primary words are ones of encouragement, telling founders to roll the dice and “give it a crack”.

“I encourage anyone who’s on the fence to just make the move and jump into it,” he says.

“And for other founders, always be investing into your relationships and understand the key players in your market.”

NOW READ: Why entrepreneur Justin Butterworth sold his house and took 16 months off to fix Australia’s “broken” rental market


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