LONDON Luxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world

Onefinestay, which rents homes far beyond the ordinary, is poised for global dominance. We talk to Deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan about what lies behind their success, and how to get your property on to their increasingly competitive books.


Luxury rental service One Fine Stay set to take on the world

Onefinestay, which rents homes far beyond the ordinary, is poised for global dominance. We talk to Deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan about what lies behind their success, and how to get your property on to their increasingly competitive books.

One Fine stay properties for rent London, Paris, La and New Yrok

Where do you go if your property is too smart for Airbnb, yet you wouldn’t be adverse to earning additional income when you travel?  Enter Onefinestay founded in London in 2009 to cater to such a niche. Pivotal to the company’s business model is the understanding that their clients are people who are motivated enough by additional income to deal with the endless admin that comes with opening their doors to strangers. The process needs to be as smooth as a ferrari and as admin light as a goose-down duvet.  Onefinestay’s provides the solution with an extraordinary house-keeping team, who magically convert private homes into sleek, de-cluttered spaces with many of the amenities of a 5 star hotel; then, once the guests have left, they revert the tiniest details back to their original place, so that when owners return, its as if nothing has happened. In short, they know the insides of your cupboards better than you do. This meticulous process means the company is an operational powerhouse, employing 700 staff in their 6 destinations to manage a portfolio of around 2,500 homes. Yet, in a period when their mid-market competitor Airbnb struggles to adapt to increasing crack-downs by governments on short-term lettings, Onefinestay is set to double its destinations in the coming year, with plans to be present in 40 cities by 2021.  What’s behind the stratospheric rise, and what’s the secret to getting your property on their increasingly competitive books? We talk to deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan to get the inside scoop. 

Born in London, the founders ‘were motivated by looking around all the prime properties in central London with their lights off, and wondering how to make the most of it”, explains deputy CEO Keyvan Nilforoushan, who joined the company in 2012 to run the launch of the Paris market. “The key aspect is that we made it as easy as possible for the owners. All they need to do is turn on a date in the calendar to show availability, and we take care of the rest – it is a service proposition on an incomparable level”.

In the early days, there were certainly doubts as to whether the HNWI demographic would be tempted by the proposition. “When we came to open the Paris office, I remember some of my friends saying, ‘it’s a great concept and it may work in London, but it will never take on here, the French are just too private, they won’t be interested in this kind of thing just for income.” Nilforoushan soon discovered that there were, as long as the conditions were right:  “When we opened the Paris market, a lot of the properties we initially rented belonged to personal friends and contacts, so I had to be confident that the experience would be seamless for them, and that they wouldn’t all hate me!” This set a high benchmark for the relationship culture that the team have gone on to replicate with home-owners. Now, when they open a new market, recommendations for properties come first from existing home-owners eager to connect them with friends. Paris is now the company’s second biggest market, after London and just ahead of New York and LA.

Global expansion plans have accelerated since the company was snapped up by Accor Hotels in April 2016 for $260 million.  The company is now expected to launch in 40 cities by 2021.  These are serious figures by anyone standards, especially when you consider just how refined and hands on this service-orientated agency is. “The investment from Accor is crucial to our expansion not just from a financial point of view, but from the support and contacts they facilitate in each new destination.  Our partnership was born on the understanding that while people have always been travelling in private homes, there is no global brand that offers this experience with a 5 star service, so it is time for consolidation. Our client base is actually very similar – while a Onefinestay client may choose to spend a month in one of our properties with their family, he could then check-in to an Accor hotel for a few nights while on business and make the most fo the 24 hour room service etc.”  then you get room service 24 hour reception etc.  By the end of 2017, Onefinestay will launch in 6-8 new destinations,across Europe and the U.S, doubling their current foothold in just 12 months.  

The expansion comes at a time when similar sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, are experienced increasing uncertainty as governments across the globe crack down on short-term lets.  In London, this comes in the form of a 90 day rental limit, where properties can only be let short-term for 90 days in a calendar year, with additional tenants required to rent for a minimum 3 month period.  With new policies only implemented in January 2017, the full impact on property availability and pricing is yet to be seen, yet early estimates predict that Airbnb is set to lose $400 million in bookings, and with that, their 13% profit margin. “The legislation issues that Airbnb are facing don’t really affect us”, explains Keyvan, “fortunately we built a service that is based on renting real homes that are lived in and loved.  This implies a lot of things. They are not investment properties where owners are trying to maximize yields. We have always been very clear with home-owners across our markets to help them comply fully with legislation.  I am actually in favor of laws like this, they protect the property market from ghost neighborhoods and buyers from prices inflated by investors looking to make a fast return, but who have no interest in contributing to the community”. 

How to get your property listed with One Fine Stay? Read on…

Most beautiful homes in the world for rent

Renting with One Fine Stay – The Inside Track. 

Keyvan shares his insight into how to get your property listed and what properties make the grade.

  1. Start by giving us a call! Even if ultimately the home is not suitable, we always enjoy talking to home-owners and making these connections, and we can usually help with advice on another solution that is better suited.
  2. While we only take 1 out of 10 properties that are referred to us, there is no set formula for what helps a property pass the rigorous vetting process from our team. The real emphasis is homes that have been created with love.  When people have put their heart and soul into creating a place, you can feel it, and that is what makes the properties we work with priceless.
  3. We operate 134 hospitality standards for homes, from simple things like making sure homes have an immersion heater to guarantee hot-water for a full house. 
  4. The style of home can differ greatly, from a 1 bed flat in 4-story townhouse. My favorite property, for example, is a spectacular New York style loft in Clerkenwell.  Spread over 3 levels, with high ceilings and a vegetable wall, its beautiful and offers a totally unique experience of London.
  5. We offer a transparent revenue share with the home-owners, which differs in percentage based on time of year, size and the location of the property.
  6. Prices vary with the location and size of the home, ranging from £200/$250 per night for a comfortable one bedroom apartment up to over £2,000/$3,000 per night for a large townhouse.
  7. Location trends vary across the marekts. While in Paris, properties tend to be located in the central arrondissement, in destinations like London, they are much more diverse and scattered, ranging from townhouses in Notting Hill to lofts in Shoreditch.
  8. Some of the successful properties for rent in London include these private homes in Notting HillSouth Kensington, Covent Garden
  9. Some of the successful properties for rent in Paris include Saint-Germain-des-PresEiffel TowerLe Marais