Vacation rental platform The Plum Guide has raised £14 million in a Series B funding round from early-stage investors to support its goal to expand to 12 new cities this year.
The Plum Guide claims to differ from other platforms by subjecting properties to a rigorous test covering 150 points including proximity to cafes and transport, the speed of wifi available and other factors.
Since launching in London in 2015, the platform has achieved three-fold year-on-year growth in revenues. In 2018, it added homes in five new cities to its booking system and saw bookings climb 27 per cent after opening in Paris. The company claims a quarter of its bookings result from customer referrals.
The platform also has a partnerships team dedicated to serving TMCs and corporate customers. It says corporate bookings account for 12 per cent of its business, though that number is growing every year. Combined with those booking independently for business travel, the proportion of bookings is 20 per cent corporate.
Homes listed on the platform are currently located in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Milan.
The Plum Guide plans to offer nearly 12,000 verified homes by the end of 2019, with 100 new hires being made to support its growth ambitions.
The latest funding round was led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude and Hearst Ventures, as well as Octopus Ventures, which led the Series A round.
The Plum Guide’s CEO and founder Doron Meyassed (pictured) commented: “We are on a mission to build a marketplace of the world’s most beautiful holiday homes. This isn’t some vague qualitative ambition. We mean it. We are taking a systematic and obsessive approach to vetting every single home on the planet and accepting only the top 1 per cent.
Meyassed said that he founded The Plum Guide to solve the problem of inconsistent quality in the vacation rental space.
He added: “Most rental platforms are trying to get as many people as possible to use their site. We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations. Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.”