Consistency is King

Amidst the heat wave and father’s day activities this weekend, I took some time to read the article about Airbnb in the New York Times: 'Airbnb tries to behave more like a hotel'. It’s a timely read about the evolution of a platform, the impact that evolution is having on hosts, and the growing demands of travelers as alternative accommodations become the norm. As the team at Urbandoor continues to develop software to make serviced apartments easier to access, book and manage, I couldn’t be more excited about where we are in serving the business traveler's needs.

Vacation rentals and the tools to offer them to travelers have existed well before Airbnb. VRBO, Craigslist, and before that newspapers, all had ways that someone could offer their home as a lodging choice for leisure travelers. Airbnb changed the industry (and in many ways the nature of travel accommodations, cities, real estate and more…) by creating a platform that made it easy to find and experience a vacation rental. From their humble beginnings as a place to rent a bedroom or some couch space, Airbnb now claims over a million ‘heads in beds’ on any given night. They have become the de-facto term for the home-sharing industry.

Our goal at Urbandoor is much the same: We think it should be easier to find and experience serviced apartments. Why? Because vacation homes are great for vacations, but for business travel of a week or more, the customer wants consistency, dependability and a professional experience. Serviced apartments provide that, and have done so for a long time.  We didn’t invent the serviced apartment and there are plenty of sites and companies that you can find across the internet to help you book one. So why are we doing this?

Urbandoor exists because no one has ever brought the serviced apartment inventory together across the industry. Most of the technology rests with what I’ll call ‘Provider Platforms’. These are booking sites that a provider has built for their own inventory. Some of them allow 3rd party inventory but those 3rd parties are competing for business with the primary inventory of the platform. The result: Fragmentation.

Urbandoor is a pure platform with none of our own inventory. Like Airbnb, we look to bring together inventory from across the industry and make it easy and enjoyable to book and experience. Unlike Airbnb, you’ll never find a vacation rental or second home on Urbandoor. All of our inventory is managed by professional property/apartment managers and we only target business customers. We are laser focused on making the serviced apartment, a clear and easy choice for an alternative to hotels. We’re already getting great feedback from our guests in some of our more than 500 markets and hearing that even the Airbnb customer wants ‘consistency’ is music to my ears.