Vision: Imagine a worldwide AIRBNB looking site for anything related to properties with no booking or service fees. This can be from marketplaces (Real Estate and Lodging) to local activities and information around these properties provided by our members. (A true local information sharing platform with clear and transparent pricing and communication)
How should the site look like:
The success of Airbnb is tremendous. Use a similar system. Simple, 21st century. (Real Estate sites are “old fashioned” and only Airbnb seems to work well for the next generation - you will most probably see Airbnb enter the Hotel scene very soon)
Why the Travel industry?
Try finding a place to stay for your next holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado. You will most likely end up on: booking.com, airbnb.com, vrbo.com or tripadvsior.com - you might look on google and search a few property management companies on the first page. Most likely, you will choose one of the larger four OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) and book “instant”. You are paying 12-20% fees for this service. I believe the future will look very different. People will be able to pay direct much easier than in the past. (Bitcoin, Paypal, Apple Pay, Square, etc.) Is 10%, 15%, 20% a fair price to pay for the OTA’s services?
Why Real Estate?
Try finding Real Estate for sale in Marrakech (Morocco)? or Playa del Carmen (Mexico)? You will end up at many, many different websites and see different listing prices for the same property? You will see 100s of different agents with different websites and all with different opinions about their market.
Some of these issues we see worldwide. (Imagine just 1 site, where all listings are listed) Do you really need a real estate agent in the future? Should it not be a “showing” agent?
What is the price for the agents showing services? 3%, 2%, 1.5%? Will real estate offices exist in the future? Like travel agencies did in the past?
Why a social site?
Late in 2013, I started managing the inquiries we received from Airbnb and VRBO for our properties in Breckenridge, CO. and responded by e-mail, (lengthy informative ones). It became clear, we needed a website for each property. (Imagine a marketplace, like Airbnb or Zillow where I update information “linked” to my website). The social site was needed to easily update local information as well as invite friends/clients. Each post on social sites is a webpage and “indexed” by Google. This will help Houfy be found in the future when prospective users search for local information. The Houfy community is now a place where members can find and share travel tips & travel guides.
Houfy & Just Cause
What is Houfy's "Just Cause"?
Houfy's just cause is to create one platform for property Owners, Managers & Real Estate Agents to share properties online and connect directly with their clients, guests & buyer with no service fees for the host or guest. Houfy aims to eliminate online middlemen fees & reduce agent commissions.
Houfy is in the process of creating a movement of like-minded individuals who believe online commissions are too high. A movement only exists when people are inspired to move, to do something, to take up the cause as their own.
As of the end of 2021, Houfy has grown to be the largest book direct vacation rental platform worldwide with 55k listings globally, 8k in the US.