Sharing economy startups such as Airbnb, Tujia and others have been attracting huge investment alongside column inches and predictions of future greatness.
It's hardly surprising then that a whole ecosystem is growing up around the sector to help hosts with everything from inventory management to letting their guests in.
Back in January, Tnooz covered a handful of new businesses in the space such as BeyondPricing, GuestHop and Handy and a few more got five minutes of fame at StrategyEye's Future of Travel event in London this week.
First up was Hostmaker, providing housekeeping and other management services for Airbnb hosts. Founder Nakul Sharma, who has a background in hotels, spoke of how the London-based business plans to be in 50 cities in five years.
The company operates two models - a la carte menu pricing for services such as linen and welcoming guests or a 20-30% management fee.
He also said the startup hopes to close a £1.5 million raise in the coming weeks to go towards technology and expansion.
Then there was Tripster, which started life as a mobile application to help ski enthusiasts access the best deals on equipment, restaurants and entertainment in resort.
It then expanded to the wider travel market and the premise was how independent travellers miss out on some of the best things to do while activity providers miss out on incremental sales.
Co-founder Alex Murray-Jones touched on the costs of scaling the business in terms of customer acquisition as well as a new direction for the startup.
Tripster now wants to equip private rental owners with tablets pre-loaded with information and deals for guests on where to go and what to do nearby and the hosts earn ancillary revenue.
"It has started to be done in hotels but not private rentals and owners have a key role to play in recommending what to do."
Finally, UnderTheDoorMat, is riding on the home-from-home and live like a local wave with its home rental service which has been around for about a year.
The startup is also after some funding, via 'friends and family', according to founder Merilee Karr, who also pointed to numbers from PWC showing the five main segments (including accommodation and cars) of the sharing economy will be worth $335 billion by 2025.
For the UK the figures are £9 billion by 2025.
Some of the growth will undoubtedly come from the business travel sector with some recent figures from expense software specialist Certify showing steady traction for businesses such as Airbnb and Uber.
Sharing economy startups and trends were only part of the event and Triptease should also get a mention for its work helping hotels to drive more direct business.
The company has developed a widget, called Pricecheck, to show consumers they are getting the best price and foster trust in the direct channel.
Further comments worthy of note from the Sojern-sponsored session include:
- Figures from StrategyEye on digital travel investments so far this year at $900 million compared to last year's total of $1.9 billion (these do not include the ridesharing segment).
- Advice from Hostelworld marketing chief Otto Rosenberger that travel companies need to think about how marketing will change and how up to 20% of customers might not be reachable because of the increasing use of ad blockers.
NB: Sharing economy image
- And, finally best question of the night (in our opinion) was how companies like Hostelworld plan to "impact the offline experience" when they don't actually own what they are selling. Answer from Rosenberger was around being close to hostel partners.