Airbnb invests in apartments for travellers

5 years ago
2 minutes

Airbnb is investing in a small startup which provides rentals pitted somewhere between a hotel and a... well, an Airbnb.

You’d think the two companies would be competitors, but the startup, named Lyric, is changing the short-term rental industry’s narrative, given that many real estate firms and building owners are often mistrustful of short stay rentals in America.

In an interview, Lyric’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kitchell said, “We spend a huge amount of time saying: ‘Hey, this narrative about Airbnb and short term rentals is wrong," he said.

“We are really good at regulatory compliance,” he adds. “We don’t sneak into cities or buildings, we walk in the front door and we introduce ourselves."

Lyric was the first company to be issued a short-term rental permit in Austin and Nashville and is the only company legally allowed to operate in Orlando. It also has partnerships with over 20 of the top real estate firms in the U.S.

And people love the product. Based in San Francisco like its benefactor Airbnb, Lyric provides premium serviced apartments for business workers, with hotel-quality cleaning services and around-the-clock online support for travellers. 

Meanwhile, Airbnb has been working to expand and transform its identity as it prepares for its first foray on the stock exchange, likely to happen next year. In March, the company spent $463 million acquiring HotelTonight and earlier this month invested $100-200 million in the Indian hotel chain, Oyo. 

These investments, combined with the acquisition of French property management company Luckey Homes in December last year and Danish meeting platform Gaest in January, have boosted Airbnb’s position. It lies ahead of rival Booking Inc. with 6 million listings to the competitor’s 5.7 million.

“Lyric has combined the latest technology, strong partnerships with the real estate community and cutting-edge design, and we are excited to support their work," said Airbnb’s president of homes, Greg Greeley.

With its finances bolstered, Lyric can expand from its 380 suites across the U.S. to as many as 2,000 and will enable it to invest in more technology and a data platform of its own.

Find out about Airbnb's other ventures here.