TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based vacation and apartment rental platform MetroGuest.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
More than a marketplace for vacation and other property rentals, MetroGuest is a community of hosts and travelers looking to find an easy, complete and reliable alternative to the booking process of rentals.
Guests and hosts can use the site to book a place, read and write reviews about each other, check references, connect with each other, watch cool travel videos and much more!
MetroGuest is a young company made-up of a young and very talented team led by its founder, Gladys Valente. A host, a traveler, a marketing professional and entrepreneur, Gladys graduated from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, and has travelled all over the world.
MetroGuest offers a complete array of booking features many of which are not offered in any other booking site. It is the combination of all the necessary booking features with a simple navigation and a fun environment that makes MetroGuest a unique booking site committed to providing an outstanding service to its users.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
What problem are you trying to solve?
To provide a fun, easy and reliable way to finding and renting a property.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Allowing property owners and managers to post their properties and manage bookings on our site. Allowing guests and travellers to find and book a property through the site.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Travellers, renters and property owners and managers
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We have not reached out to investors yet, so no.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Our income comes from two sources:
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Booking fee percentage paid by the guest when they book a property
- Commission for leads to our real estate partners.
- It’s free to use website
- Fun and modern Image
- Consistent branding
- Organized/better navigation
- Unique features/ complete
- Site founder represents target market
- Located near top US market (New York)
- New industry player
- Not too many properties
- Not known
- Low marketing budget
- Slow economy
- Growing market
- Popularity among this new business
- Media value
- Target customer spending power
- Saving money factor (no taxes, tips)
- More space for less money
- Convenient locations
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Country legislations
- Major established competition
- Hotel industry lobbying
- Concerns about quality or cleanliness of properties
- SNAD: Significantly not as described
- Many specialized (region specific) sites
Although nobody has advised me that my idea is not going to work, most of my family and friends are very supportive, in the past couple of months since our launch I’ve struggled with the original strategy of the company.
We haven’t gotten as many properties as anticipated and our marketing budget is pretty small, plus our main competitor, which we can no longer call competitor since they have grown exponentially, has kind of taken over the market.
However, I was not going to let this setback discourage me. I refused to let the big players defeat me. That’s when I decided to expand our services and partner with real estate companies not only individual property owners.
This way we can right away acquire a large amount of properties to make our site more attractive. We are hoping this will get our foot on the door, then we can also focus on our originally strategy. In other words, we decided to diversify our services in order to be more competitive.
We are planning on adding a couple other services not currently offered by our competitor, in order to be even more competitive.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Twelve months from now we hope to have over 20,000 properties, renting out each property at least 12 nights. In two months we have already acquired 2,500 properties (99% in the Boston area) thanks to our real estate partnership.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.