It’s not just the size, but also the demand and margins involved in the alternative lodging rental (ALR) market that are impressive. Providing a platform where travelers can rent private homes and other non-traditional lodging has proved to be disruptive and transformative to the travel industry. The number of users just keeps growing while home owners and travelers mutually benefit, and the platform providers generate enormous revenues due to higher margins.
The obvious elephant in this arena is Airbnb, which has grown from inception 10 years ago to a valuation of more than $30 billion. Because of the size and demand in the ALR market, other players like HomeAway, Priceline, and FlipKey have staked out territory. Airbnb has about 2.5 million ALR listings in inventory, including homes and rooms of private owners. HomeAway has about 1.2 million ALR listings, while Priceline has around a half million and FlipKey has 700,000. However, unlike hotels, each of these platforms relies on the private property owner to provide confirmation to the traveler, a process which can take days to complete. This doesn’t sit well with travelers trying to nail down travel details. In fact, a recent article in tnooz travel (http://dtn.fm/ULTi5) showed that, no matter how much they may like the economy and locational advantages typically offered by alternative lodging rentals, travelers really desire the convenience and ease of one-stop booking and instant confirmation, as provided by travel agencies.
One upstart travel company is about to deliver exactly what customers want and, in the process, could disrupt and transform the ALR market and perhaps the entire travel industry. Technology-driven Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) has more than 60 years of operational experience serving the tourism industry. This has given Monaker valuable insights into how to best serve today’s traveler and how to deliver ALR options on customer terms. Through its flagship ALR brand, NextTrip, Monaker currently offers about a million ALR listings with another 1.8 million-plus listings in process to be delivered to the travel industry’s fastest growing sector. More importantly Monaker Group’s unique ALR platform, NextTrip.com, is the only platform to offer travelers real-time booking of ALR properties, plus full access to traditional travel lodgings and transportation options, effectively encompassing everything needed to plan and organize vacations. By combining immediate ALR confirmation with all other travel options such as airlines, cruises, concierge services, and rental cars, Monaker will be able to provide the first true all-in-one online booking site.
The tnooz article also highlighted some other shortcomings of current ALR platforms. Survey results showed that over half of respondents would find it valuable if online travel agencies offered ALR options, while less than five percent of business travelers were given ALR options and a third would utilize ALR if offered. Presciently, Monaker already addressed these consumer concerns by delivering white label, real-time ALR solutions to Mark Travel and another 85,000 independent travel agents, in addition to providing links to over 200 corporations. Monaker facilitates the complexity of multiple bookings with multiple variations through integration with artificial intelligence travel platforms.
Monaker, given such technical and strategic innovations in an enormous market, represents breakthrough potential at a bargain price for investors. The company trades in the small cap market with about 11 million shares outstanding and about 6 million shares in the float. Estimates show unusually high insider ownership at around 68 percent of the company. That rate of insider ownership suggests that management and other insiders are convinced that they are on the cusp of disrupting and transforming the ALR market and reaping huge rewards in the process.
For more information, visit www.MonakerGroup.com