Former Airbnb manager presents remote work as a reward that is not a right

A former Airbnb executive is relying on remote workers to fuel his new hosting business, which seeks to fill a gap he spotted during his seven-year tenure at the colocation business. But its premise may seem controversial to some.

There is no longer any real question about the growing demand for remote work, but with its startup Ukio, Stanley Fourteau wishes to position long stays in designer apartments as a business asset.

“Our plan is to integrate with travel agencies,” said Fourteau, who was previously Airbnb’s global growth manager for Experiences and managing director for Latin America. “Our vision is also that when we reach a certain size in certain markets, we want to work with employers to deliver it as a benefit to employees.”

Hear Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speak in person at the Skift Global Forum in New York, September 21-23

The idea is that employers could give employees two to three months depending on stays within the Ukio network.

One of Ukio’s angel investors is also Avi Meir, co-founder and CEO of the business travel agency. Benefits of travel, which recently raised $ 160 million. “We will integrate Travelperk when the world of business travel returns,” added Fourteau.

For now, options are limited, with 100 apartments available in the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid. Ukio takes unfurnished apartments from owners, usually offering them seven to ten year contracts, guaranteeing them monthly rent. “It’s a big commitment, but a lot of investors want a guaranteed return over a long period. They are downpours at risk, ”Fourteau said. Design plays a big role in their renovations.

Ukio will add properties in Lisbon in a few weeks, with plans for Berlin and London in the works; he is preparing to announce a new fundraiser, which would follow older funding from investors, including Capital of the heart. In 2019, Heartcore from Denmark was among the venture capital firms that raised $ 484 million for GetYourGuide.

Barcelona-based Fourteau, who founded Ukio with his brother Jeremy in January last year, aims to reach 20 to 25 cities in Western Europe within two to three years.

The new presidents club?

There can be an element of controversy with the incentives and rewards, according to a mobility expert. Is a luxury European getaway still viable?

“The concept of rewarding with alternate location is very compelling, from a talent perspective,” said Steve Black, co-founder and chief strategy officer of the Talent Mobility Platform. Topia. “The talents made it clear that they wanted to work remotely. “

However, it can alienate staff who are unable to live and work so flexibly. “There’s some risk, it’s a relatively lavish and visible benefit,” Black added. “Everyone sees it. If I get a bonus that is double my peers, no one knows.

Still, short city breaks may end up replacing more traditional perks. “In some functions, it’s not that rare. Think about the sales teams, the first global level will have a huge offsite in Hawaii. Or a company’s “president’s club” will have a big advantage. There are certain functions (of work) where they are used to this advantage. Black said.

Businesses may also think twice because of the costs of firing employees for months at a time. Should staff contribute to their stays? Who pays for the trips? And would they have to go to the office, if their business had one nearby? There will be a lot of questions.

Black also warned that visible approval to “work from anywhere” in this way leads companies to fiscal liability issues, especially if there is no digital nomad visa in place.

“Employers are looking elsewhere. It’s up to employees to make sure they’re (tax) compliant, ”Black said. “It exempts them from officially saying OK to something that isn’t compliant and throws the risk back on the employee if something goes wrong. “

Airbnb lessons

However, the geographic location could prove to be an advantage. “Europe is the continent with the closest proximity to major metropolises, in the same time zone, where people would like to spend three months with friends who live in Berlin, or Paris, or for example,” Fourteau said. “We wanted to seize this opportunity.

Minimum durations start at 32 nights, as opposed to typical Airbnb daily rates. It’s clearly not an Airbnb clone, but the concept seems to have sprouted as early as 2013 when Fourteau worked in Brazil for Airbnb.

“As the CEO of the region, you analyze trends, and the one we’ve seen since 2013 is growing exponentially faster than our own growth was flexible housing,” he said. “People were looking for apartments for three to six months on Airbnb. We called them long term stays. What was interesting was that we had a lot of traffic for this segment, but the percentage of bookings was very low. There was a big gap. “

The reason was that when people were looking for such a long stay, the best apartments already had a reservation. And what was left in the search result was usually not the best option, Fourteau said. Airbnb took corrective action with some investment, buying the Urban Door mid-term rental platform and investing in Zeus Living.

Ukio is now evolving that concept, with the broader mission of becoming the “World’s # 1 Housing Brand – when you think of housing it’s 30-40% of our capital spending, but it’s remained an unbranded market.” “

It is possible to evolve quickly, depending on future financial support, thanks to the long minimum stay policy; Ukio will not be subject to city regulations which require shorter stay providers to be licensed. But at the same time, it comes up against many providers of serviced apartments, such as Blue background, and to a lesser extent Probe.

Reside around the world, meanwhile, is expanding its European focus and recently added a new sales manager for the region. He also claimed his Reside on the 3Sixty platform increased 32 percent last year. “Our 3Sixty network now has over one million controlled, high-quality hosting available to our customers and helps customers resume secure relocation of their employees around the world,” the company said.

Ukio’s focus on teleworkers means that it has a more captive market, if it can attract the right kind of teleworker. “Right now we’re a business-to-consumer product, but the majority of our customers are actually split 50-50 between remote workers and residents, but (those who live) for a period of two years and don’t want to invest in furniture, deposits and all the initial investment costs, ”Fourteau said.

Notes to the appendix

The number crunchers have been working hard since returning from their summer vacation. With 2022 around the corner, data trackers, analysts and even industry associations are assessing the fallout from the pandemic, including lost business travel revenue.

Here’s a snapshot: The hospitality industry in the United States has lost a decade of revenue and job growth due to the coronavirus, and will end in 2021 down more than $ 59 billion in business travel revenue, compared to 2019, according to American Hospitality and Accommodation Association and Kalibri Laboratories. It follows a $ 49 billion hit in 2020.

In Europe, no financial figures as such from the hotel data tracker STR, but a warning about a long wait until the return of international business travelers. Domestic and international leisure travel spending is expected to recover by 2022, STR believes, but international business travel will not recover until 2024 – or more.

Skift calculated the potential financial blow from the business travel slowdown in August of last year. Based on a one-third volume reduction in 2021, we suggested that Marriott’s global properties would experience a $ 12.4 billion impact on guesthouse revenue. For IHG, we said global properties could lose $ 3.8 billion in business revenue. In the United States, Choice Hotels would see $ 562 million withdrawn.

In the summer of 2020, our numbers seemed relatively high. In retrospect, they seem cautious based on this week’s forecast.

According to the business travel data company TripBam, demand for business travel will only be 50% of 2019 levels by the end of this year, and 80% of 2019 levels by the end of next year, Skift’s noted. Daily accommodation report.

But further on, will analysts be brave enough to forecast lost business travel revenue based on the bold emission reduction targets we are starting to see from companies, as well as the rise of justification tools? trips making their way into corporate booking tools?

10-second catch-up for business travel

Who and what Skift covered last week: Accor, Airbnb, Amadeus, American Airlines, auxiliaries, Certares, CWT, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, Travelport, Zoom.

In short

Concur wins US $ 374 million government contract

The U.S. Department of Defense signed a $ 374 million contract with OK modernize its old travel management system, according to reports. The deal, which involves the ministry’s human resources branch, will lead to a new system called ‘MyTravel’ which will manage all of the ministry’s travel expenses and operations by 2025. It processes around four million trips each. year.

Lufthansa increases schedules to meet corporate travel demand

Lufthansa organizes more flights for business travelers in September and October, Reuters reported. The airline increased its capacity on domestic flights by 30% in September and will increase it another 15% in October. It will also reintroduce the hourly frequency of flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg and Frankfurt and Berlin in the morning and evening, which would be popular with business travelers.

Hear Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speak in person at the Skift Global Forum in New York, September 21-23

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