Vacation Home Rental Service Flatbook Launches In Atlanta
If you’re planning to be away this summer and need to lease out your place, a Canada-based start-up may be the easiest option. Flatbook, which has just launched in Atlanta, takes over the entire subletting process. Ricardo Theiner is Flatbook’s regional manager. He moved here from Vienna, Austria, recently and is eager to show off a condo in the West End that got a makeover. “So right now, we’re standing here in the living room as you can see, we purchased pillows,” Theiner says. “We purchased blankets; we put [them] on the couches to really make it more beautiful and more visually appealing for guests coming here.”
They also bought a new bed, sheets and towels. The goal is to be like “the Hilton for vacation rentals,” he says. The condo belongs to Janelle Jones, a senior at Georgia State University, who has rented out her place on her own before. She’s currently in Bangkok.“I have to worry about renters,” Jones said in a Skype interview of subletting her place on her own. “I have to worry about making sure my payments are going to be on time, that they’re not wrecking my condo, things like that.”
Now Flatbook takes over all that and is listing her condo on vacation rental sites like Airbnb and FlipKey for $143 a night. The company, based in Montreal, had its global launch last year and is now in more than 30 cities in Europe and North America. Atlanta is the newest city for Flatbook in the U.S. The company targets professionals taking sabbaticals and college students who need to leave for an internship.
“Or if you just want to go back home, you can just go online on our website, apply and if we accept your apartment, we take over the entire subletting process and pay up to 100 percent of your rent guaranteed,” Theiner says. Theiner says he’s already received 30 applications from local college students and professionals.
Professor Leonard Jackson teaches at Georgia State’s School of Hospitality Administration. He says companies like Flatbook ─ which don’t have high overhead costs like hotels do ─ are upsetting the hotel industry. “Some of these concepts are expensive as hotel rooms,” Jackson says. “They range from high-end condominiums to someone renting a sofa for overnight accommodations.” More people, he says, are looking for a place that feels like home.
SOURCE: WABE.org, http://wabe.org/post/vacation-home-rental-service-flatbook-launches-atlanta