Homestay.com launches to international market
Homestay.com is a new global travel website founded in Dublin, Ireland, by Hostelworld.com co-founder Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn, Director and Founder of Irish Education Partners. Since the beta launch in July 2013, Homestay.com has signed up over 15,000 homestay hosts and has already processed in excess of 50,000 bed nights. This week the company has launched internationally with sites in English and Spanish and accommodation in 35 countries worldwide, across four continents.
Homestay.com matches guests searching for accommodation with host families who want to rent their spare room on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. Homestay accommodation is a growing trend as tourists seek out a more authentic and enriching travel experience that’s easier on their pockets. Guests include holiday tourists, students, people relocating for work and event attendees. Hosts range from young couples to retirees and families with a spare room.
Homestay.com founder Tom Kennedy joined forces with technology entrepreneur Ray Nolan to form Hostelworld.com in 1999, growing it to annual revenues of €350m before selling to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in 2009. Co-founder Debbie Flynn is a 30-year veteran of the homestay industry. Homestay.com has raised €3m to date in funding from venture capital firm Delta Partners and some private investors.
Commenting today Tom Kennedy said "We believe the homestay market offers even greater potential than the hostel market. We’re excited about applying our track record of generating substantial volumes of online bookings to this space."
The homestay sector has grown in popularity in recent years as it moves into mainstream travel. No longer just for students, it is now a recognised accommodation alternative for tourists seeking out a more authentic local travel experience. Homestay.com estimates the global homestay market spend to be in the region of €10 billion.
About Homestay.com Homestay.com is a Dublin based firm employing 20 people. Homestay.com is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. The company also provides the Homestay Manager software to Homestay agencies and host families worldwide. Homestay.com chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay. CEO is Alan Clarke, previously of PaddyPower.com. Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn are both available for interview on request.
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