Germany: Vienna-based vacation home rental agency Guestia has announced that it has acquired Munich-based home-sharing startup Airgreets from the Morton Group, with help from early-stage startup investor Falkensteiner Ventures.
The acquisition will be a merger deal, meaning that the merged company will in future continue to operate under the Airgreets brand within Guestia’s growing portfolio. It represents a key step for Guestia as it seeks to become the leading home-sharing service provider in Europe.
According to the Startup Communication website, Airgreets will move away from its predominantly in-house service model towards one that outsources services such as locksmiths, cleaning and laundry. It also believes its services should be up and running again as Italian tourist destinations such as South Tyrol and Lake Garda open up this summer.
Airgreets COO Martin Thor recognised the potential of the merger and its impact on the home-sharing market, saying: “We see great growth potential in the home -sharing market. We rely on outsourced services and our own technology.”
The startup began by managing several hundred so-called “first homes” in German and Austrian cities such as Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Vienna, when it initially referred to itself as an “Airbnb Concierge Service”.
However, times have been turbulent over the last couple of months for the company as it filed for bankruptcy back in December, before being purchased by the Morton Group in February and now Guestia has acquired it. While the services will retain their Airgreets branding, Airgreets is diversifying into all-in-one services for owners of holiday homes, or “second homes”, in vacation destinations such as Tyrol, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Carinthia and Vienna.
Airgreets CEO Michael Hufnagl spoke about the potential of “cold second homes” in the burgeoning home-sharing economy due to the more relaxed regulations and restrictions of holiday homes in vacation destinations, as opposed to cities.
He said: “We often break open doors in the tourist regions because with our worldwide marketing we bring new target groups into empty apartments in the regions and thereby additionally boost the ‘new’ tourism for millennials.”