US: UC Asset (UCASU), an Atlanta-based real estate investment firm, has invested around $1 million into SHOC Holdings LLC, and appointed Greg Bankston, who currently serves as a managing member of UCASU’s general partner, as CEO of SHOC.
The company believes Bankston’s 20-year real estate background and knowledge of the city’s history make him the ideal candidate.
SHOC, a wholly-owned investee of UCASU, will acquire and develop properties under UCASU’s “Airbnb-based innovative property investment strategy”. The new strategy will focus on home office technology for travelling professionals. SHOC “aims to capitalise on a new industrial trend – the switch of business travellers from conventional business hotels to shared accommodation via platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo”.
UCASU’s management projects a $60 billion market in the coming years for this new trend.
“It is a revolution happening across the board,” said Larry Wu, founding partner of UC Asset. “Just like conventional taxi businesses are being taken over by shared-ride companies like Uber and Lyft, we believe conventional hotels will be taken over by technology driven shared-accommodation spaces.”
Wu claims there are currently no institutional investors who specialise in shared accommodation properties equipped with home-office facilities, which will be almost exclusively marketed to business travellers.
“Shared accommodations have replaced a fair share of vocational resorts. But conventional hotels who serve business travellers have held their ground,” said Wu. “Before COVID-19, conventional hotels in central business districts or around airport hubs were still doing extremely well. Occupancy rate of these hotels stayed about 80 per cent, even 90 per cent in major metros like Atlanta.”
But he says COVID-19 has expedited a transition in work habits and many people will permanently spend more time in home office spaces. This trend, according to the UCASU, will prompt travellers to choose home-office style shared-accommodations over conventional hotels.