HomeToGo updates on AI developments, M&A strategy

Vacation rental platform HomeToGo has unveiled a raft of artificial intelligence developments as part of its vision to be “fully AI-powered.”

The company is adding a number of new modes further boosting its curated search capabilities – one for unique properties and one for saving money – joining its existing AI mode launched earlier this year.

Further developments include Smart Reviews, which summarize reviews from past guests to help future customers make a more informed decision. Meanwhile, Smart Offer Summaries aim to speed up bookings by highlighting what’s nearby and specific amenities that customers have already searched for.

The developments and new releases were announced during a Capital Markets Day for the Germany-based company. Speaking to PhocusWire, HomeToGo CEO Patrick Andrae said the company could already call itself “full AI-powered” but wanted to have the whole user journey supported by AI first.

The capability of Sunny, the company’s chatbot, will also be widened to help users during and after the booking.

“There’s a lot more steps we can take, especially if you think about what we could offer after the booking besides information about the property. So really having a personal assistant to a certain extent that covers you during your stay. There are more things we can do so we will keep launching these things and keep understanding how they work.”

The company also laid out its merger and acquisition strategy with newly appointed chief investment director Bodo Thielmann saying the company is “accelerating deal flow.”

He said HomeToGo will look to grow both its rentals marketplace and its subscription and services business, now called HomeToGo Pro, via acquisition.

“There are additional opportunities on the marketplace business model to add more traffic, to add new kind of audiences, channels, to do cross- and upselling, for instance, in bundling it with experiences. On the HomeToGo Pro side we want to massively expand our footprint in the vacation rental tech ecosystem with software-driven business models.”

Thielmann added that the company was looking to do “transformative deals in new areas” as well as deals with entrepreneurs and could do single and double digit million transactions as it has in the past but is not ruling out something larger.

Andrae said the company was reaching out to potential acquisitions as well as receiving approaches from some companies adding that any deals would come down to the right valuation and the right fit in terms of the personal connection and an “entrepreneurially driven” team.

He declined to say when or what size transaction it would be but added that in a year’s time HomeToGo would likely have carried out more M&A.

“When you think of M&A, it’s good to look at what we have done in the past. We have some areas that are more marketplace related topics where we have done deals in the past, but we’ve also done deals that have a different angle especially under the umbrella of HomeToGo Pro.”

HomeToGo Pro, which has been steadily growing and now accounts for 30% of the company’s revenue, also unveiled a new product called Doppelganger. The company described the product as a suite of software and redistribution solutions for the industry.

The company announced the acquisition of Amivac in January 2022 followed by E-Domizil in March 2022. Later in 2022 it acquired the remaining 81% of vacation rental technology provider Secra, having initially invested in a minority stake in 2021. The deals followed its acquisition of software-as-a-service business Smoobu in 2021.

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