US: D. Alexander has launched a hospitality brand to set a quality and consistency standard for short-term vacation rental homes.
The hospitality firm and vertically integrated real estate fund already owns and operates a portfolio of single-family vacation homes, with the intention of managing them to the same standards that a boutique hotel would set with modern smart home technology and guest service applications.
Its investors include experts and category creators from the residential real estate and short-term rental industries, such as Colin Wiel and Doug Brien, co-Founders of Waypoint Homes and Mynd Property Management; Austin Allison, founder of Dotloop and WineSociety; Scott Shatford, founder of AirDNA; Ivy and David Zelman, founders of Zelman and Associates; Ben Kinney of the Ben Kinney Companies; Robin Sheakley, president of Sibcy Cline; and Ryan Gilbert, founder of PropertyBridge and founding advisor to Square.
D. Alexander co-founder and managing partner, Alex Allison, said: “Most vacation travellers can recall an instance in which their short-term rental home was inconsistent with what was advertised and their general lodging expectations. We started D. Alexander out of personal frustration, as consumers are often not getting what was advertised or feel misled.
“We’ve also experienced the other side of the equation as an investor and operator who increased investment returns above market standards through professional marketing, ownership, and technology. Simply put, if you don’t own the home, it’s challenging to control the experience and deliver hotel-like amenities,” he said.
The alternative accommodation market is currently the fastest growing segment of lodging, fuelled by the omnipresence of online rental marketplaces, B2B marketing and guest services tools, and the proliferation of tech-enabled property management companies. According to Skift Market Report, alternative travel lodgings accounted for almost nine per cent of the total revenues generated by the entire accommodation sector last year.
The sector revenue across the United States, meanwhile, is set to grow 30 per cent in 2019 to reach nearly $30 billion-making alternative accommodations up to nearly 11 per cent of total market. However, ownership is still a highly fragmented market which has a knock-on effect with how consumers experience their rental home.
Co-founder and managing partner, Dustin Abney, said: “We recognised that the investment-output and returns on a single-family vacation home can swing widely based on how the external brand standards and marketing align with today’s consumer expectations.”
“While most single-family home investors look at the buying details such as purchase price, operating expenses and historical rent-roll, they often overlook how to maximise the performance of their investment. This starts with focusing on the consumer demands first – expectations, needs, and delivering that aha-moment,” he added.
The D. Alexander model aims to set and define brand standards through ownership first, which enables the firm to have maximum control over the direction of the brand. At the same time, it offer a fusion of the comforts of home and the amenities of a boutique hotel that a typical short-term rental owner or operator may not be able to offer.
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