Fancy knowing how ‘the other half’ lives? Well, part of it is down to tools which have been built specifically for them. Michelin Guide will tell you about the best restaurants on the planet. Similarly the The Plum Guide bills itself as the “Michelin Guide for Homes” as it picks the world’s best vacation rentals, holiday homes, short term lets and Airbnbs from over 25 different sites, then puts them into one. It does this using a combination of data and human curation.
It’s now raised £14m ($18.5m) from some of Europe’s leading early-stage investors to support its rollout to 12 new cities this year.
The Plum Guide differs from mass market booking platforms by selecting only the top 1% of properties in any city to feature on its site. By the end of 2019 that will mean almost 12,000 verified homes in the most sought-after cities for holiday rentals.
The latest funding round is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude and Hearst Ventures, as well as Octopus Ventures – who led the Series A funding round.
It needs all this money because as well as using a data approach, it also sends actual human beings to vet every property in person and apply a “scientific Plum Guide test” which covers 150 points from proximity to cafes and transport, to speed of WiFi.
Since launching in London in 2015, the company claims to have achieved year-on-year growth of three times revenues, for three years’ running, adding homes in five new cities to the platform and saw repeat bookings jump 27% after it opened in Paris, its second location after London. It says customer referrals drive a quarter of all bookings.
In a statement Doron Meyassed, Founder and CEO, said: “We are on a mission to build a marketplace of the world’s most beautiful holiday homes. This isn’t some vague qualitative ambition. We mean it. We are taking a systematic and obsessive approach to vetting every single home on the planet and accepting only the top 1%.”
“We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations,” says Meyassed. “Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.”
In other words, the startup is eating away at the luxury hotel market.
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