Will Austrian Startup reposée Become The Airbnb For Leisure Property?

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"Nobody is utilizing the massive number of vacant leisure properties", says reposée CEO Alexander Schuch. How the Austrian startup aims to change that & why the model can succeed:

How would you describe reposée in a few words?

reposée focuses on sharing of leisure properties like weekend houses, mountain huts, holiday apartments, holiday houses for two to twelve months.

What inspired you to create sharing platform? How did it all start?

As we – the founders – like to make regular weekend trips together with the family, we thought about how we can solve the problem of having to book a hotel or guest house again and again with the risk of finding the preferred accommodation booked solid again.

None of us is owning a weekend house in the vicinity, which could serve as a base for recreation and further leisure activities on weekends. It was also clear that nobody of us had the necessary investment capital to buy a leisure property, and nobody of us was willing to bind himself to one specific location for many years by buying a leisure property.

So the idea came up that as we all live in a sharing economy, and many leisure properties stay vacant for the most of the time – why not develop a service platform, where owners can share and offer their leisure properties with tenants, who would be interested in spending one season in a weekend house in the country-side, and the next season in a chalet in the mountains.

It’s an interesting approach to focus exclusively on leisure properties. Where does this decision come from?

We found out that there is a missing gap: peer to peer booking platforms like Airbnb offer vacation rentals for typically one weekend or one to two weeks for your yearly holidays. On the other end, real estate platforms like Immobilienscout24 (note: Austrian platform) offer property for living for typically at least 12 months. Time sharing concepts are very complex, in most times very unflexible, and they usually require substantial upfront payments.

But nobody is utilizing the massive number of vacant leisure properties. Having executed an extensive survey at the beginning of this year, we found out that 28% of all respondents own a leisure property. 30% of these owners are using their leisure properties scarcely – so obviously, there is a huge potential for sharing!

What’s the most considerable pivoting maneuver that the team has undertaken throughout the journey so far?

So far, there was no drastic change necessary. We did our homework first by doing a representative market research, which confirmed our thoughts about what features are important and what the expectations & concerns of potential users are.

Of course – the upcoming launch of our service will show the reality, and we are prepared to make quick moves and adaptations in order to adapt to user feedback. We have access to a highly qualified team of external developers, we can react and scale up quickly.

Are you using reposée internally? How does that affect the viewpoints in the development team?

Once we are live, we are definitely planning to use reposée internally, as the idea of the service originated in personal needs. I am looking forward to my own mountain hut this winter!

We are a small team for now, and – as we are planning to bring at least one additional co-founder or C-level member on board, we hope it will be someone with similar thoughts.

With companies like Airbnb, the competition appears to be fierce. What makes reposée stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

On Airbnb, you are booking a weekend trip, or your 2 weeks of summer/winter holiday. On Immobilienscout24, you are looking for a property to rent for at least 12 months or even to buy it. If you rent out or sell a property on these platforms, you as the owner cannot use the property anymore by yourself. Time-sharing usually requires long-term involvement, upfront investments and is usually inflexible in terms of usage times.

reposée has a different target group in mind: on reposée, you as the owner of a weekend house are sharing your leisure property with a tenant on a season per season basis. The basic principle is simple: “You use it for the first 2 weeks, I use it the second two weeks”. Of course, both can agree on an individual usage plan. So the owner earns money & still can use his weekend house. The tenant doesn’t have to make the huge up-front investment for a property & stays flexible: this season, the weekend house at the lake, next season the Alpine hut in the mountains!

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of reposée so far?

The most memorable moment so far was when we said: “Ok, there is an open market, we have discovered. We can develop a business model for it. And there is obviously interest available for this idea from potential leisure property owners and from potential tenants. Let’s quit our jobs and dig into it!”.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Realize your dreams, try it – don’t wait!

There are many people out there with good ideas. But most of these ideas will never be realized, because it makes a difference, whether you just talk about this while hanging out with your friends and having a beer, and actually executing the idea, including having the guts to quit your day job and focus on your new project.

But also on the other side, be realistic. Before you make the big step – evaluate your idea: is there a market? Can you monetize your idea in this market? What’s your unique selling proposition?



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