Vacancies are a major problem for apartment building owners and operators. Even the shiniest new apartment building will have some hard-to-fill units, because of lackluster views or excess supply in the area.
While an ugly brick wall or the direction of morning sunlight might be a big deal if you’re deciding where to live for the next few years, it matters far less to someone on a week-long business trip. And a neighborhood with lots of available apartments might still be completely lacking in hotels.
ApartmentJet wants to let building managers funnel their open units into the sharing economy. To that end, the startup is building an easy-to-use tool that lets managers create a single apartment profile that can be automatically listed on sites like Airbnb and HomeAway.
“There’s a lot of activity going on in the short-term rental space, and the multifamily rental industry hasn’t yet figured out how to deal with it,” said co-founder Kevin Koperski. “We’re giving management companies an opportunity to rent out units on a short-term basis to fix their vacancy issues.”
By creating a single-destination application for listing short term rentals, ApartmentJet reduces the workload associated with maintaining profiles across multiple sites. It also cuts down on the number of new systems managers have to learn, which is important because of the industry’s high turnover rates.
“We’re building our tool to give property managers quick, actionable tasks to perform, and hopefully they won’t have to do more than that,” saud Koperski. “But we also have more complex tools for other levels of the organization. The marketing team will be able to control branding and maintain all of their photos from a single location. And then you build out reporting and analytics for the executives so they can understand the return on investment for listing on all these sites.”
Koperski and co-founders Eric Broughton and Andrew Hamilton are industry veterans. The trio's last startup was RentSocial, an apartment hunting site that was acquired by RealPage. Before that, they built a tool for syndicating apartment listings to sites like Craigslist and Apartments.com.
In Koperski’s view, this experience gives ApartmentJet a significant edge in the marketplace.
“At the end of the day, the syndication is just moving data around with APIs, which doesn’t change much in any given industry,” he said. “Our real benefit is understanding the multifamily industry, and being able to give people a tool for working the way they want to work, as opposed to the way an outside company thinks they should work.”
Co-founder Andy Hamilton said the team has been in dialogue with a number of industry leaders while solidifying ApartmentJet’s platform and business model.
“Throughout the last six months they've provided an invaluable sounding board and helped shape our solution,” said Hamilton. “Everyone we spoke to are excited for how our solution could potentially turn vacancy into a significant revenue opportunity.”
While the initial product will focus on rentals managed by property owners and operators, ApartmentJet’s long-term roadmap also includes solutions for managing apartments rented out by tenants.
Based in 1871, ApartmentJet’s six-person team consists of the three co-founders along with three additional developers. The company is launching a pilot program this month and has its official launch slated for later this spring.
Images via Shutterstock.