In the relatively short eight years since Airbnb was founded, the San Francisco-based company has connected more than 60 million guests with over two million accommodation listings around the world. Today, Airbnb holds an enviable position as the bellwether of the community marketplace, underwritten by a $30 billion valuation that demonstrates the incredible investor and consumer appetite for the home-sharing market.
Airbnb recently filed a Form D with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, announcing an equity deal in which the company raised approximately $555 million. This is likely part of the ongoing $850 million Series F round, as reported by Equidate (http://nnw.fm/itn4I), and brings Airbnb’s total fundraising to more than $3 billion.
What this means for small-cap travel booking company Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) is that the investment community knows there is plenty demand to go around. Not only has Monaker developed a one-of-a-kind booking engine for lodging options, its model includes travel and entertainment booking features that should be turning heads in the investment community.
According to a draft prospectus filed with the SEC (http://nnw.fm/rz3mV), Monaker is accelerating its corporate action and has initiated the process seeking to uplist shares of its common stock to the NYSE Market.
Headquartered in Weston, Florida, Monaker Group is digging its heels into the alternative lodging market (vacation home rentals, resort residences and unused timeshare inventory). As evidenced by the diversity of Airbnb’s listings – which include castles and villas – this puts Monaker in exactly the right spot to cater to consumers looking beyond hotel rooms for economical and unique accommodations.
The company’s flagship brand is NextTrip.com, the first and only real-time booking engine that features alternative lodging, as well as a full selection of airlines, hotels, cruises, rental cars, tours and concierge services. While its model greatly differs from its competitors in this respect, NextTrip also offers the ability to book in real-time – which means no more waiting for home owners to respond – and employs a B2B solution for the larger Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and lodging bookers that until now have been unable to access inventory.
These features are offered in a single, easy-to-use platform that gives users access to vacation rental inventory in desirable locations in the U.S., the EU and the Caribbean.
In addition to its existing inventory, Monaker has roughly one million additional alternative lodging units under contract that are set to be added to its platform. In terms of available listings, the additional inventory should easily place NextTrip among the top three largest vacation rental inventories and rival industry peers – along with Airbnb and HomeAway.
Monaker is also tapping into business travel, and recently expanded its initial agreement with Recruiter.com to offer travel products and services to Recruiter’s list of more than three million customers, many of which are senior corporate executives. Monaker expects the deal to provide “meaningful exposure” to decision makers at roughly one million companies worldwide.
Demonstrated by Airbnb’s ability to raise billions of dollars and build confidence in a relatively young industry, the market is ripe and welcoming for Monaker and its ability to deliver innovations that add a new dynamic to the existing home-sharing model.
For more information, visit www.MonakerGroup.com
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