Fairbnb.coop secures €1m for development and growth

Italy: Ethical holiday rental site Fairbnb.coop has announced that it has raised €1 million in a year-long fundraising campaign set up to accelerate the development and growth of the platform, and build “the future of community-powered tourism”.

The campaign, which concluded after the General Assembly of the Fair Bnb Network cooperative, was supported by:

  • Fondo Sviluppo, the mutual fund of Confcooperative aimed at promoting initiatives for the development of cooperation
  • Coopfond, the mutual fund created thanks to the contribution of more than 2300 cooperatives belonging to Legacoop with the aim of extending and strengthening the cooperative presence in Italy
  • SEFEA Impact, an asset management company founded with the objectives of spreading ethical and impact finance and generating positive changes in the welfare of communities, following criteria such as environmental sustainability, social innovation, cooperation, participation, and transparency.

They join Fairbnb.coop’s first major institutional investor CFI-Cooperation Finanza Impresa [CFI] and other European investors, including Leonardo’s Poles, in backing the platform.

More than 40 members from over ten different European countries [including Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy] attended three days of debates and workshops, including the General Assembly, at the former Sympò church in Bologna with the aim to put cooperative principles into action along the path towards building active and sustainable communities. Other members connected remotely from a range of countries across the continent.

Fairbnb.coop, which is recognised by the European Commission, operates under a business model that promotes community powered tourism, and by extension, the growth of a social economy and sustainability, that can represent a “social innovation and a systemic change in the economy of the tourism sector”.

Like other platforms, Fairbnb.coop charges a 15 per cent commission on each booking, however it differs in using half to cover operating expenses and donating the other half of its revenue to fund local community and social projects. In doing so, it aims to offer travellers the opportunity to participate in a more sustainable and equitable model of tourism, and local social projects to benefit from crowdfunding.

The site, which is free to join and only accepts registered hosts, is active in cities and regions across Italy, such as Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice and Liguria. It actively supports projects that help the most vulnerable people in society, from housing to sustainable development, social innovation and accessible tourism.

In recent times, Fairbnb.coop has announced a number of partnerships to broaden its operations at a national level.

In one instance, those booking accommodation through the platform in Italy will now have the opportunity to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign launched by Legambiente and Enel, called Alleva la speranza+ [Breeding Hope+], on the planbee.bz platform. The campaign has been launched to support family-run farming and ranching activities and small accommodations in the Apennine areas of Central Italy, which were significantly affected by earthquakes in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fairbnb.coop launched its reservations system for travellers in November 2019.