STARTUP LAUNCH: Perth husband and wife team Amanda and Mark Walker are taking on the likes of HomeAway and Airbnb, launching vacation rental website WA HomeStay…
From being regular travellers to owning an investment property for the past six years in the South West region of Western Australia, Amanda and Mark Walker are passionate about the premium tourist destination and offering their local knowledge to both holiday homeowners and guests.
An Opportunity Emerges
Recent changes in the vacation rental market have left Australian holiday homeowners feeling disgruntled.
Since Aussie holiday home site Stayz sold for $220 million to U.S. holiday rental group HomeAway in 2013, their Australian call centre was quickly replaced by overseas call centres that are often difficult to navigate.
Previously with Stayz, holiday homeowners could choose how they received payment. Now, it is not uncommon for owners to get paid after guests have left. Not to mention that homeowners now have to contact cleaners with their scheduled cleans.
It all seems like a lot of work, and has led to a bit of a backlash against the US site.
This is where the opportunity emerged for an enterprising WA couple to start a true-blue Aussie vacation rental site, in response.
Local Knows Best
Director of WA HomeStay startup Amanda Walker told Startup News that by having both a guest and owner perspective, her site will be able to offer increased benefits for both holiday homeowners and their guests.
“Having used accommodation booking platforms as both a holiday homeowner and a guest, we know what makes our users’ lives easier. We are offering better cash flow for our holiday homeowners and a cleaner log-in functionality to ease their workload.
For our guests, we are offering lower, transparent booking fees (5% for Australian credit card holders). With the money guests save, they can enjoy an amazing bottle or two of local wine on us!”
Having a transparent 5% booking fee (6.5% for international credit card holders) also sets WA HomeStay apart from Airbnb, which charges guests anywhere between a 5-15% fee per reservation.
Home Away from Home
Amanda said another key focus of WA Home Stay will be marketing and giving back to the WA community.
“We want to specifically market the amazing holiday spots around WA, support local businesses and have our guests benefit from our local knowledge.
Part of this includes giving back to the WA community. Through our association with Telethon we are giving $1 for every booking made through our website.”
WA HomeStay will also provide guests with updates of the latest events happening in the South West through an events calendar that guests can access using Facebook.
A Full House
Starting your own business is challenging at the best of times, and Amanda and Mark have done it with three young boys under the age of ten.
“It has been stressful… but we can finally confirm with great excitement and relief that the site is live, and we are inviting owners to list their properties”, she told Startup News.
Are you looking for your next holiday destination?
Find WA HomeStay here > https://www.wahomestay.com.au/