As the travel
industry looks toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are making
moves to serve consumers’ heightened desire for contactless experiences.
that concern for its short-term rentals, Booking.com is partnering with
Futurestay - one of PhocusWire’s
Hot 25 Startups for 2020 – to provide online check-in for Futurestay partner
properties booked through the online travel agency.
In an email
statement, a Booking.com spokesperson says this is one of several initiatives the
company is developing to address consumers’ COVID-19-related concerns.
“Because we know travelers are
prioritizing health and safety measures when they travel, we are working with a
number of technology providers - including Futurestay - to make it easier for
our accommodation partners to set up online check-in at their properties,
helping save them time and streamline their operations while delivering a more
seamless guest experience. As a part of our commitment to rebuilding together,
we will continue to focus our efforts on bringing our partners the tailored
tools and technology they need to effectively respond to the evolving travel
environment,” the statement says.
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Futurestay founder and CEO
Philip Kennard says the automated check-in collaboration began late last year out
of the two companies’ shared vision for a “seamless travel experience” – but accelerated
once the pandemic began.
“With this technology, it’s not
that it is new, it’s more along the lines of it’s now necessary. It’s almost table
stakes at this point in time,” Kennard says.
believe Booking and Futurestay are really pioneering on this in the short-term
rental side. And I think we will see this accelerating through most of the alternative
accommodations sector, just because this is the perfect time for travelers to
stay in alternative accommodations, and they want socially distanced stays.”
Guests that book and pay for one of
these properties through Booking.com receive an email from the OTA that prompts
them to check in online. Guests then enter the necessary identification
information using the Booking.com app or website and then receive access
instructions – most often a door code – through Futurestay.
Along with serving the interests of
travelers, Kennard says he has received very positive feedback from property
managers who say the online system is also appreciated by their employees.
The system is hardware-agnostic,
and Futurestay works with property managers to add smart locks if their properties
do not already have them.
in 2015, Futurestay is a technology platform for independent short-term
vacation rentals that automates guest communications, bookings, pricing,
payments, distribution and more. The company currently works with more than
100,000 properties in 120 countries, primarily in North and South America and
western Europe, and all major OTAs.
says it has more than 6.5 million homes, apartments and other unique places to
stay in its inventory of 28 million accommodations. In addition to Futurestay, it is working with Hotelbird and Abitari for the online check-in solution.
consumer demand for short-term rentals has stayed strong during the pandemic,
Kennard says that has also boosted demand from property managers for automation
technology – helping FutureStay to grow its client base by 50% compared to the
summer of 2019.
says about 1,000 of the company’s partners will be using online check-in by the
end of this year, and that number will grow to more than 10,000 in early 2021.
In May, Futurestay
raised $2.4 million in a venture round, bringing its total funding to date
to $6.5 million.