02:59 - Working across cultures and countries
08:37 - How they came up with the idea for GuestReady
21:45 - Selling your software
24:11 - Handling a hospitality company during the COVID-19 pandemic
36:50 - Choosing to grow through acquisition
Alexander Limpert, the co-founder and CEO of GuestReady, a tech-driven accommodation brand focused on short-term rentals, has had a diverse and exciting career, including working in Taiwan and the Philippines. He has a BA in Business Administration from the University of St.Gallen and received an MSc with Distinction in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics.
He stayed in London after finishing his masters, and as many of his peers did, began a career in consulting — he worked as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, advising leading companies across various industries, and was active in eight different countries during his time there. After a few years, he was looking for a new, more entrepreneurial challenge, and decided to look into positions overseas: he soon began work at Rocket Internet as its country managing director in Taiwan and the Philippines.
After his time in Asia, he returned to London and connected with his future co-founders, Patrick and Chris, whom he studied with at LSE, and in 2014 they founded Guest Ready. The idea for the company was spurred by their collective travel experiences, which they had frequently in their careers, and their thoughts on what would have elevated their accommodation experiences. They shared an interest in having a more local, authentic experience when staying in accommodation, especially for slightly longer stays, and so they wanted to combine the consistency and quality of a hotel stay within a host's home with the added layer of helping hosts manage this level of quality.
GuestReady continues to grow and expand, currently having over 4500 listings in 10 countries. They have found a comfortable place in the market, as their business model typically charges a bit less: booking.com or Airbnb will charge around 15 to 18%, whereas they charge about 12%, making it a win-win for everybody. They get 12% extra, and the owner pays less, as does the guest. Another vital part of their business is their in-house software, which has not only been a game changer in being able to scale as steadily as they have, but has also been shared as a product with smaller property management agencies. The future is bright: they could expand, be acquired, go public (although probably at another stage) ... there are many opportunities for GuestReady.
“Creating a good customer experience is about thinking of every aspect of the value chain to make customers’ lives easier.”
“There are many benefits to creating your own in-house tech, not only to redefine yourself as a tech oriented business but also to have a product to sell, as well as a service.”