The French shared economy startup GuestToGuest, a platform that facilitates home exchanges for travellers, has just acquired the American startup HomeExchange, after raising €33 million. The two founders, Charles-Edouard Girard and Emmanuel Arnaud, relied on the substantial investment to finance the transaction. The funding came from Maif and other previous private investors.
The two former competitors will now join together to become a world leader in the home swapping market, with more than 400,000 homes in their combined inventory. Guesttoguest is seeking to revolutionize the travel industry by making home exchange the mainstream vacation alternative.
“GuesttoGuest has already seen spectacular growth since it was founded in 2011. In just three years the number of homes on the website has increased six-fold, from 38,000 in 2014 to 280,000 today," said Charles-Edouard and Emmanuel Arnaud in a statement. “HomeExchange, a key player in the US home swapping market for almost three decades, will help unify and grow this community with their domestically and internationally recognized trademark brand.”
While the brands will work together, they will remain separate platforms and continue to operate within their own targeted markets and membership bases. Guesttoguest founders cite the many benefits of home exchange: completely free accommodation, a more authentic travel experience, and a lack of drawbacks that have led to pushback against rental platforms like AirBnB, such as taxes, bans, and other issues currently plaguing large cities.
“We are convinced that the practice of home exchange is reaching a turning point and will soon become the next big thing in tourism. The acquisition of HomeExchange will create the largest and most active community of home exchangers in the world. In two years’ time we plan on having more than one million travelers organizing their vacations through home exchange,” they added.
“When we first came across GuesttoGuest a couple of years ago, we were immediately attracted to this original project, aimed at giving hospitality the power and scale of a peer-to-peer platform. It is now a great pleasure to keep supporting GuesttoGuest in strengthening its position as the world leader in home swapping,” said Pascal Demurger in a statement, who is CEO of MAIF, leader of the investment round that enabled the acquisition.
Read more: Hospitality Industry (Press release)