9flats is a company which helps their users secure short term lodging during travel and stay. The company was founded by Stephan Uhrenbacher – a german internet entrepreneur. He is the founder of Qype and headed the North European operations of lastminute.com. 9flats was founded in 2010 and was launched in February 2011 after the founders could secure their first round of investments from capital investors. The company has seen enormous growth since then.
What is 9flats?
Just like Airbnb and Wimdu, 9flats allows users to rent their stay at houses and apartments registered with the company. There are several benefits for both the guests and the hosts for their association with the company. The guests also get several additional perks if they book their stay with 9flats rather than a hotel. 9flats is widely loved and building a business similar to it will definitely be fruitful. Before getting into the business part of this discussion, it is essential to answer questions like how does 9flats work? Why do users choose 9flats over hotels? What is the 9flats business model? How does 9flats make money? And several others. In this article, we are going to explore all of this to make your search easier and concise.
How does 9flats work?
9flats has three major stakeholders which are the guests, the host, and the company. The guests are the primary stakeholders since they bring in business. The hosts are very essential because they are the primary partners who run the business and bring in profits. The company is essential because it bridges the gap between the guests and the hosts. In this section we are going to explore how does 9flats work for customers and how does 9flats work for hosts?
How does 9flats work for customers?
Since customers are the most important of all stakeholders, it is essential that their entire experience is exceptional with the company. Here are a few steps which explain how does 9flats work for customers?
Step 1: Register
For the first step, the users are required to register on the mobile app or the website via their email IDs or their website. This helps the customer to have all their searches and bookings in one place with the help of their own accounts. It also makes online payments easier.
Step 2: Select location
Once your account is created, the website prompts you to choose the city you want to explore your options in. There are several cities available since the business is international and is expanded across several countries.
Step 3: Browse
Once the city is selected, the user can browse through the several options available to them based on the type of property they want to book, the budget they are aiming for, and the availability of the properties.
Step 4: Book and Pay
The final step for the completion of the booking cycle is to confirm booking by paying for the stay in advance via the mobile app or the website using the several prepayment options available on the website. In 2014, the company also made prepayment optional and the users were given an option to pay for their accommodation in cash. To opt for cash payment you can just book your accommodation and confirm the same.
These are the simple steps that focus on how does 9flats work for guests. They are easy steps and the digital experience is highly complementary to simplicity.
How does 9flats work for Hosts?
Hosts are another very important part of the business hence it is important to make sure that the hosts’ experience with the company is pleasant. The better places hosted on the platform the more attractive it is for the guests to use 9flats over other short-term lodging services. Here is a step-wise explanation of how does 9flats work for hosts?
Step 1: Add Listing
The first step for any host is to add their property listing to the portal. This can be done by simply adding the essential details on the website and getting the same verified. Anyone can list their property on 9flats to generate an extra income.
Step 2: Accept Bookings
Once your listing is live, it is open for the users to see your place. Make sure you add the best pictures and descriptions of the place. After the listing is live, the hosts start getting bookings for the same. The host is notified via emails and SMS about the new bookings for the properties and it is important to accept the same
Step 3: Welcome Guests
Get the place ready for the arrival of the guests. Make sure the place is at its best before their arrival and you have any necessary amenities ready mentioned in the description. Once the guest is at the place, it is the host’s responsibility to cater to the guests’ needs.
Step 4: Accept Payments
All the guests will either pay via the prepayment options or pay in cash. However, it is the host’s responsibility to make sure and double-check that they received payment for each booking. It is also essential to get reviews and feedback from the guests at this stage because that will help you make any suggested improvements to your property.
These are the steps describing how does 9flats work for hosts in detail. It explains the booking process and the things to keep in mind for the hosts. As a business owner, host verification will be one of your key activities and it is essential for you to know what makes for a good host. The hosts represent the company to the guests indirectly. They are the face of the brand when it comes to direct bookings. Hence, it is the company’s responsibility to make sure they have their best foot forward.
This explains how does 9flats work for the most important stakeholders and the essential factors for the business.
9flats business model
While understanding the major functions of any company, business models come very handy. They give you a sneak peek of every aspect of the company and why it is important to pay attention to certain aspects more than others. In this section, we will be looking into the 9flats business model in detail and we will discuss the major aspects that you as potential business owners will need to look into.
Key activities are an essential aspect that describes the business processes essential to run the business. Understanding these in advance will help you align the resources you need and the kind of work that you will have to engage in to bring the best in any business. Here are the key activities that go behind the mechanisms of how does 9flats work?
- Product development and management – In a business like 9flats, digital products are the ones that are of utmost importance. The website and the mobile app needs to be updated every now and then. Another aspect of product management is the management of the flats and the apartments listed on the website which is done indirectly through regular checks
- IT Operations – Maintaining the digital experience of the users is an important aspect and hence IT operations make up a very important part of the business activities. It is important to not only maintain but also constantly work towards making the experience as simple as possible for the users.
- Building host networks – As we talked about earlier, having more hosts and a variety of listings will attract more guests to 9flats because they will have several options. Therefore, bringing in new hosts and managing them is another major part of the business operations
- Building guests network – Guests are the primary revenue sources of the company therefore it is important to bring in new guests as well as try to retain the ones who enjoyed your services before with the help of loyalty programs or special discounts.
- Marketing – building both networks can be done with the help of marketing. Reaching out to more people is important while trying to bring in both hosts and guests.
These are some of the key activities of the 9flats business model. These activities run the business smoothly and make sure that it not only maintains its position in the market but also grows enormously.
While building a business it is essential to see if you can expand to other customer bases than the obvious ones. This is where the customer segment of 9flats business model comes in. Here we look into the different types of customers 9flats work with:
- Travelers – One of the major customer bases is travelers who are visiting a city for a short period of time either for leisure or for business/work.
- Lodgers – There are individuals who live across the country in different cities and work online. These people need apartments to live in for cheap rates.
- Hosts – since the company charges commissions from the hosts, they are also an important part of the customer segment of the business.
- Millennials – There are travelers who are looking for an aesthetic home-like accommodation while they are traveling to different places. These can be bloggers or other social media influencers. They make up for a good customer base because hotels still have a fixed look in any city but apartments can be exciting to explore.
To cater to the needs of all these different segments of customers, 9flats works best to get on board different hosts and different types of properties for different needs. It is essential to have something for the varied needs of the customers.
Channels of Business
Every business has different channels of business which can be leveraged and widened to improve the scope of any business. Some important channels of business for 9flats are:
- Word of mouth – One of the most common channels of business for a short term lodging business can be a word of mouth because guests who have enjoyed the experience earlier will definitely recommend it to their friends.
- Digital Marketing – Promoting business online is one of the major ways of reaching out to a large population at the same time. Digital marketing has become a necessity in today’s world of the internet
- Social media – Advertising your business on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and others is an amazing way to reach out to the young generation who is majorly into traveling and aesthetics.
- Website and mobile application – as a part of digital marketing, the website and mobile app of 9flats majorly help in getting more guests since they appear on the searches for ‘book apartment online’ and other similar keywords.
- Neighborhood Guide – For travelers who do not plan in advance or figure out accommodation on the spot, neighborhood travel guides play an important role in bringing in more guests.
These channels of business are important to look into while understanding how does 9flats work? The channels of business help the business allocate their resources to different sources of marketing.
How does 9flats make money?
We will look into the major revenue streams of 9flats and how you can build the same for your business as well
The most obvious and the primary source of income are the guests. On every booking, the company charges a certain percentage of the booking amount from the guests as a service charge. This charge is common for all bookings.
On each booking, the host has to pay a certain amount of commission to the company. This is because the company provides the hosts with the digital backup and a platform to showcase their property in order to get business.
In all properties, the hosts have additional services which can be availed by the guests at an extra cost over their booking charge. These services are provided by 9flats and are added in the description to attract more guests. Hence, the host is obliged to pay a commission on all those add-ons as well.
These are the major revenue streams of the company. There can be others like external investments, corporate deals, and others which are not stable or consistent in the business model hence not added in this list.
How to Launch Your Own Online 9Flats business?
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