MakeMytrip to tap homestays segment to take on rivals like Airbnb

Photo: Livemint

Nasdaq-listed online travel firm MakeMytrip is betting on the growing homestay market with plans to add another 10,000 villas, apartments and other alternative accommodations on its online platform in the next one year, said a top company executive.

The company plans to firm up presence in the homestay segment comes at a time when established players like Airbnb as well as startups such as Vista Room and Saffronstays are aggressively looking to tap the segment in the last two-three years.

“We have closely watching the segment for the last few years and have been working on how we can improve and what all the features we can add in the last five to six years, ” Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer (COO), MakeMytrip said.

At present, of the total 170,000 properties listed on MakeMytrip, around 20,000-25,000 are homestays that account anywhere between 5 to 7% of total revenue, which the company expects to double it in the next one year.

Homestay is a space where consumers are heading to ” Prakash said adding that the company would focus more leisure destinations like Goa, Coorg and Manali apart from cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.

In October, a survey by the company showed that one in every two Indian travelers is looking to book an alternative accommodation like villas, homestays, hotels or cottages rather than a traditional hotel. The survey found that the trend is led by millennials, who have shown higher propensity towards booking an alternative accommodation in India and overseas basis their varied travel interests.

The survey also showed that over 48% of the respondents are most likely to book an alternative accommodation for their next trip.

The concept, which is voluntary in nature, has expanded rapidly in India with a growing number of homeowners looking to list their properties on multiple online portals.

According to hospitality advisory firm Hotelivate, around 2.5 million accommodation rooms, including branded and unbranded hotel chains, new-age hotels and alternative accommodations are operating in India.

Unbranded hotel chains constitutes a majority of the country’s hospitality market accounting around 72% of the total followed by alternative accommodations such as guest houses and homestays with 15%.

“Growing popularity of home stays in edition to existing mass of guest houses makes alternate accommodation second largest room/ rentable unit category in the country, ” said an April report by Hotelivate.

While the homestay market has been largely dominated by several domestic startups, a few large hotel chains have also set their sight into the segment. The latest entry into the space being the Taj Group with launch of two sub brands Ama Trails & Stays in February this year. The Tata-group firm has signed a management contract for nine heritage bungalows in Coorg and Chikmagalur in Karnataka and plans to add another by next year.

This article was first published on livemint.com

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.