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Founded three and a half years ago by James Jenkin-Yates, Tom Jones and Daniel Scott, Airsorted promises to make homesharing – also known as short-letting – hassle free for everyone. The company already manages 3000 homes and has plans to expand to well over thirty cities by the end of the year. We caught up with Airsorted’s Chief Sales Officer, Tom Jones, to find out about the company’s strategy, new opportunities in the home sharing market and why he thinks everyone in property needs to have a short-let.
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Airsorted: the beginnings
It was James came up with the idea for a sort of Airbnb management service. He’d recently quit his job at an investment bank to focus on more creative endeavours. He started a coding course and put a short-let on Airbnb to fund himself during this period.
However, he soon realised that managing his Airbnb property was taking up a lot more time than he had initially anticipated. According to research by Airsorted, running a successful short-let takes on average 50 man hours a month. ‘90% of our clients have never hosted on Airbnb or another vacation rental website because of all the work that’s involved, the hassle,’ explains Tom.
James thought that having someone to sort out finding guests, navigating online travel agents (OTAs), looking after guests and finding reliable housekeepers would make life significantly easier. This someone became Airsorted.
Growing the business
Today Airsorted is in 23 cities, from Dublin to Dubai, and has 180 full-time employees across the globe. It aims to be operating in up to 15 more cities by the end of the year.
The company has a unique approach to launching in new cities, which involves building a strong local presence. ‘The way we launch, we don’t hire straight away,’ says Tom. ‘We send in really knowledgeable and clued up Airsorted team members and then we hire locally. Local knowledge and expertise are really key in terms of growing the market.’
Whilst the name Airsorted might closely align the company with Airbnb, Airsorted advertises the properties it manages on a range of major OTAs. ‘We use Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, HomeAway and lots of partner websites to the bigger ones there,’ says Tom.
He says that each OTA works better with different types of properties. ‘Airbnb has has quite a short leave time so about 50% of people who book on Airbnb tend to book the month before, whereas Expedia tends to have longer leave times. HomeAway tends to have longer lengths of stay.’
Where’s best for short-lets?
Despite a surge in the number of short-let style properties popping up in recent years, Tom says that the homesharing market remains far from saturated, particularly amongst business travellers. ‘We’ve certainly seen a big increase in self-employed people and consultants moving around from city to city and they often need short-terms homes for a month or a couple of months,’ says Tom. ‘London in particular is an ever more transient city.’
‘We like to think we’re benefiting them on both sides: we’re helping them fill their homes when they’re gone to help them pay for their mortgage. We’re also giving them accessible accommodation on the other side, when they want to move to cities.’
Tom cites Oxford and Manchester, UK locations Airsorted has recently launched in, as hot-spots for growth and returns.
‘Oxford, you’ve got a lot of traffic from academia coming and going over there, a lot of lecturers working on projects. A real demand on the guest side,’ he explains.
In Manchester, he says that the excellent transport links are a big draw. ‘There’s lots of really cool new developments up there,’ he adds. ‘A lot of big projects that are wrapping up. Very good quality high rises and new-builds and so on which are already starting to show good returns.’
Fitting short-lets into your portfolio
‘Simply put, if you’re involved in property investment and you’re not in some way on the short-let spectrum, you’re simply wasting money and missing a massive opportunity,’ says Tom.
He recommends two ways of making homesharing slot into an existing portfolio. The first is to put a property on the market as a short-let at optimum times of the year. The alternative is to use it to fill void periods when a tenancy comes to an end.
For those interested in short-letting their home, Airsorted has an easy-to-use calculator on the homepage of their website that provide estimate of how much you can earn. Additionally, they’ve compiled a list of things to consider before splashing out on a short-let property.
airsorted.uk – For access to Airsorted’s online calculator and all the information about setting up a short-let property with them.