|Roomorama's Lofty Goal to Become 'Expedia' of Short-Term Accommodation.|
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Monday, 7th May 2012
Roomorama, which merged with Lofty earlier in a deal which also brought seed funding of more then US$2 million, aims to be the biggest online marketplace for professionally-managed properties by year end.
The merger, which sees Lofty.com being rebranded Roomorama (the website declares the name change), brings it closer to the goal of becoming the Expedia of short-term accommodation, said co-founder of Roomorama, Frederico Folcia who spoke to WIT a few days before the announcement.
This means customers being able to book professionally-managed properties instantly as they do hotels. “We want to be the one-stop shop for people booking apartments or houses,” he said.
Lofty.com is a Europe-focused short-term rental site founded by Fabrice Grinda and managed by his team of experienced vacation rental professionals. Roomorama.com, which launched in New York in May 2008, is now headquartered in Singapore with a primary goal being to grow inventory and demand in Asia Pacific. Investors in the venture include Jose Marin, PROfounders Capital L.P., Lerer Media Ventures L.P., and Thrive Capital Partners.
“This is an exciting time for all of us,” said Fabrice Grinda (right), founder of Lofty, who is also the Co-CEO of OLX Inc. and has investments in several other ventures. “By combining the strengths of both companies, Roomorama will now be the leading marketplace for mid-range to high-end rentals.”
Roomorama saw exponential growth last year, reporting an average gross booking value of US$1,330 with over 80% of bookings for 8-14 nights. In Asia Pacific, growth has tripled, in just over a year after it expanded into the region.
According to Folcia, the company earns a transaction fee of 8-12% from guests.
The website, available in 11 languages, currently lists 50,000 properties in more than 3,600 locations, and is aiming to more than double inventory by end of 2012, with over 20% of the listings in the region. About 80% of inventory is comprised of professionally managed private properties, and four percent is shared.
“The strength of the combined team gives me great confidence that we will deliver what the short-term rental industry and its customers have been seeking – higher quality, improved reliability, and a swifter booking process”, says Roomorama co-founder and co-COO Jia En Teo.