Greg Marsh, CEO and co-founder of onefinestay, couldn’t have come up with his business idea at a worse time. Back in 2010, the world was in the midst of the most brutal recession since the Great Depression; but it didn’t stop Marsh and his three co-founders embarking on their mission to change the hotel industry. Six years on, it seems the gamble has paid off, with the luxury accommodation startup being acquired by AccorHotels in a £117m deal.
An upmarket competitor to Airbnb, onefinestay offers travellers the chance to rent other people’s luxurious lofts and elegant houses for a short period, whilst simultaneously tailoring the personal service they want to their own specific needs. Today, the company operates 2,600 homes in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Rome. However, that number is sure to grow as AccorHotels has pledged to invest £50m to expand onefinestay’s operations to 40 new cities in the next five years.
“AccorHotels’ investment is a tremendous invitation for us to write the next chapter in our story,” Marsh said. “We share their deeply held conviction about the scale of the home rental opportunity and greatly value their expertise, their practical and financial support as we plan the launch of more than 40 new markets over the next five years.”
Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, added: “onefinestay has successfully captured a sweet spot: a combination of needs that neither traditional hotels nor new actors of the sharing economy can meet. [T]ogether with our recent investments, we are accelerating the transformation of our business model to capture the value creation linked to the rise of private rentals and also strengthening our presence in the luxury market with a complementary offer.”
While only time will tell how the story of onefinestay will end, the tale so far proves that taking a gamble can truly pay off.