Bob W
Bob W has acquired Charly Hospitality [Credit: Bob W]

Bob W enters Germany with Charly Hospitality acquisition

Finland / Germany: Tech-powered short-stay operator Bob W has entered the German market with the acquisition of apartment rental agency Charly Hospitality.

Since its founding in 2018, the hospitality startup has sough to redefine the hospitality experience by giving guests five-star, contactless service in locally-designed apartments within handpicked neighbourhoods.

Based in Helsinki and Tallinn, Bob W currently operates 27 aparthotel & coliving properties across Europe — in the UK, Spain, Finland, Italy, Norway, Greece and Estonia respectively.

Its acquisition of Charly means that it has now added seven properties located in Germany [Bonn, Munich, Berlin, Lübeck and Cologne], as well as Amsterdam in the Netherlands. All of the properties will move over to the Bob W brand this year.

Bob W said that it acquired Charly because the two companies share a similar tech-enabled approach and design ethos. Both aim to offer a seamless digital front desk experience backed by robust digital customer service and other failsafes so that guests always feel looked after.

Unlike Charly, Bob W has built its own tech platform along with a suite of apps. Both businesses offer short-stay apartments that are designed o give guests the best of both worlds — the authenticity and functionality of a private apartment matched with the dependable quality of a hotel.

Germany represents the largest domestic travel market in Europe, fuelling Bob W’s ambition to expand quickly in the country and further afield in Europe. The startup expects Germany to be its largest market by the end of this year.

By the end of 2023, the hospitality provider anticipates that it will be operating more than 40 properties in all territories, achieved through a mix of leases [rent-to-rent] and management deals, with the potential for further M&A activity.

Launched just before the pandemic by Sebastian Emberger and Niko Karstikko, from Germany and Finland respectively, Bob W has since gone on to acquire Estonian short-stay apartment operator Estonishing Stay and Finnish competitor KOTI Hotel. The startup has also boosted its supply through organic growth.

Last October, the company secured €21 million in a Series A funding round, led by Elevator Ventures, Verve Ventures, IDC Ventures and Flashpoint. It represented Bob W’s third investment round in the space of two and a half years, including a €4 million seed round in June 2020.

Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO of Bob W, said: “We are super excited about entering Germany with Charly and adopting their world-class team. The locations and properties are gorgeous. Once we apply our tech and brand standards, the next generation of travellers will have yet another place to call home with the most loved hospitality product on the market.

“We’re getting huge traction with our approach to tech and reinvented hospitality. Guests are responding very positively to the investment we make in their surroundings and in our customer experience, and that is translating into brand loyalty and repeat bookings.

“We offer travellers the best of both worlds — hotel and apartment — and our formula works. That’s what is driving our growth plans. We will continue to expand quickly but sustainably in existing and new markets where there is high demand for what we offer and the fundamentals add up,” he added.

Charly Hospitality founder Jona Schaeffer said: “With Bob W, we have found the perfect home for our team and our portfolio of boutique aparthotels in Germany and the Netherlands. We strongly believe in Bob W’s potential to become the market leader in alternative accommodations in Europe and are delighted that Charly will play its part in it.”

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