Friday, November 11, 2016

Monaker Group (MKGI) – A Growing Presence in Alternative Lodging Rental Market

The alternative lodging rental market is maturing quickly, being one of the fastest growing verticals in the travel industry over the last few years. Already believed to be worth more than $100 billion worldwide, the sector continues to expand rapidly as more and more vacation rentals companies are joining the game alongside the now-famous HomeAway, and Airbnb. Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI), a technology-driven travel group that offers comprehensive tourism solutions and personalized tours, already maintains an important presence in the alternative lodging market, with a portfolio of more than one million rental units available.

The vacation rental market began expanding more quickly in the Internet era, starting with booking site VRBO, which was set up back in 1996 by a Colorado couple. The business was acquired by HomeAway in 2006 and became the dominant vacation rental listings hub. In 2015, HomeAway was purchased by Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) for $3.9 billion, a move that consolidated Expedia’s position as one of the largest online travel agents (OTA) operating at the moment. According to Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the alternative lodging rental segment has become a major part of Expedia’s business, now having more than one million bookable listings available. The number continues to grow at a fast rate of over 20 percent, Khosrowshahi said.

Another major OTA, Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN) occupies a good portion of the vacation rentals market through listings. now has about half a million instantly bookable vacation rental properties, which is almost 40 percent higher than in 2015. The approximately 1 million total properties listed on the website make for approximately 23.7 million bookable rooms, 7.3 million of which are in apartments, homes or villas, while the rest are in traditional hotels.

Capitalizing on a global trend of tourists looking for more personalized experiences wherever they travel, the vacation rental market is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, likely reaching $170 billion by 2019. Most of this growth is owed to Europe and the U.S., where the alternative lodging model is highly popular, according to a Research and Markets report ( Approximately 24 percent of travelers have opted for alternative lodging during the past two years, while roughly 47 percent are interested in staying at a vacation rental unit in the near future. In the U.S. in 2015, one in three tourists stayed in a private accommodation, which marks a significant change from 2011, when only one in ten Americans used alternative lodging.

With a portfolio of more than 1.1 million alternative lodging rental units available under its NextTrip Resorts platform, and currently in the process of adding more than 200,000 timeshare and resort units by the end of the year, Monaker Group is poised to establish a growing presence in the global vacation rentals market. The group owns several travel-related businesses, but its flagship is undoubtedly, which allows tourists to plan their trips to the smallest details by offering them access to a wealth of alternative lodging options such as vacation home rentals, resort residences and unused timeshare inventory, all alongside a wide range of hotels, tours, rental cars, airlines, concierge services and more. The platform, launched in February 2016, has grown exponentially, being the first and only real-time booking engine that combines various booking options to meet tourists’ every need.

To further support the vacation rental market, Monaker Group this summer launched a Premium Service for alternative lodging owners, aimed at helping them compete against major travel industry suppliers, including hotels, car rental companies and airlines. The service offers various tools and features that will give homeowners real-time booking capabilities, the ability to update property pricing daily so as to better reflect the market conditions, and other benefits.

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