Frontdesk co-founders, Kyle Weatherly [left], Jesse DePinto [centre] and Alycia Doxon [right]

Frontdesk takes over former Stay Alfred units in New Orleans

US: Milwaukee-based short-term apartment rental startup Frontdesk is adding units in New Orleans that were previously operated by defunct hospitality startup Stay Alfred to its portfolio, marking its entry into a 29th market since launching in 2017.

Frontdesk will also take over former Stay Alfred short-term rental units in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, where it already had an existing footprint.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Frontdesk is confident of cementing its position in the proptech marketplace, with average stay lengths increasing by 44 per cent per booking [between 2019 and 2020]. In addition, US Frontdesk rentals are trending towards a total of 88,000 completed stays and 172,000 guests served by the end of 2020, providing a fully-furnished and amenity-filled home away from home for 550 guests a night.

Jesse DePinto, co-founder and chief product officer at Frontdesk, said: “As we look to 2021, we plan to maintain the same aggressive approach to growth as we have over the last four years. With the competition going out of business at this rate, we like our chances at hitting 1,500 units by this time next year.

“These latest 28 units in New Orleans, combined with nine units in Indianapolis, and 18 units in Pittsburgh means Frontdesk now operates 55 former Stay Alfred short-term rental units,” he added.

Frontdesk’s new Flex platform, which launched last month, has become a go-to resource for multifamily property management companies, such as Core Living, which is looking to boost occupancy in its rental properties. Frontdesk claims to provides Core Living with an immediate two to ten per cent occupancy increase at each of its locations and to be responsible for an additional $40,000 in monthly net operating income [NOI] across the company’s portfolio.

Frontdesk Flex offers a suite of short-term rental solutions that aim to change how multifamily real estate owners and managers engage in the market. The new software as a service [SaaS] product ranges from full-service turnkey solutions to giving login credentials to the custom-built Flex property management system and letting the management company or property to pull all the levers themselves.

DePinto said: “Frontdesk Flex provides a guest suite conversion tool, called Flex Plus, where Frontdesk walks the property through on-site protocols while handling everything from the backend. This new range of solutions will significantly increase Frontdesk’s geographic reach through 2021 and beyond.”

The Frontdesk business model and Flex platform are the work of DePinto and co-founder Kyle Weatherly, who is on the mission to provide unique and personalised guest experiences in the country’s largest metropolitan areas by unlocking coveted downtown real estate.

After Weatherly’s extensive travelling, staying in “poorly-managed” rental apartments, he set out to re-imagine the short-term rental space. Being personally familiar with the value of a consistently-positive rental experience, the two have built a foundation and team dedicated to growing their network to thousands of suites in the most desirable neighbourhoods and most fascinating cities in the United States.

Frontdesk secured $6.8 million in a Series A funding round back in April, following a $2.75 million bridge round raised the previous summer. The startup has raised $11 million in total capital to date [including $8 million in equity and $3 million in debt], and operates 580 units in more than 150 buildings.

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