As global travel has all but come to a halt in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Australians across the country are being strongly encouraged to holiday closer to home.
State governments are asking Aussies to leave their passports at home and enjoy and appreciate the amazing beaches, rainforests, and mountains that we are spoilt with here on our own shores.
So, as the grip of COVID-19 thankfully seems to be loosening, it is unsurprising that the encouragement of state-wide travel has seen a recent surge in Airbnb and short-term accommodation bookings.
In the light of the positive news, Ozhomenews caught up with the award winning short-term rental property management group MadeComfy, to hear all about their success, vision, and everything in between.
Who are MadeComfy?
MadeComfy is an Australia based company which specialises in the management of investment properties on behalf of the owner, and since its birth in 2016, has gone from strength to strength.
Co-CEO and Co-Founder of MadeComfy, Quirin Schwaighofer took the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about the business, and the opportunities and difficulties facing the company in the current climate.
“What we do is we work with investment properties that are available full time and manage them on the short term rental market by getting bookings between two nights and six months aiming to get a higher financial return for the property owner and for guests to have a living experience away from home,” tells Quirin.
Putting the ‘made’ in MadeComfy
Now an official partner of Airbnb, the idea of MadeComfy was born out of a trip to Melbourne to watch the Australian Grand Prix.
“I stayed in an Airbnb right on Albert Park, it was an old lady’s house and we didn’t pay much. And I lived in Cremorne Point at the time, with harbour views, and I thought, I basically have a grand prix happening every day on my doorstep, I’m not as clever as this old lady!
“So, I put my place on Airbnb as I travelled a lot, but I soon realised it was really difficult to manage, and that guests actually expect something.”
“I tried to find a company to manage it, but back then there was no one really doing it. Along with my co-founder, we discovered that there was a whole ecosystem that was more advanced in Europe and in America but still in its infancy in Australia, and so, MadeComfy was born.”
Highs and Lows
And now with a team of 100 staff members, the company hasn’t looked back since. MadeComfy has consistently been acknowledged for its growth and successes, with global recognition received as recently as February.
“We were awarded best property manager in the world in the inaugural Shortyz award in London in February, and we’ve been on the AFR fast 100 and things like that, everything is fantastic, we’ve been growing a lot,” says Quirin.
But, like for almost all of us, the outbreak of coronavirus has played its part in affecting MadeComfy.
“It was all going really well, we were on a trajectory to pretty much double year on year and then COVID-19 happened, and of course it had a big impact on travel and so we have had to think about how travel will look during and after this and how will MadeComfy change.”
Changing With the Times
A change in strategy from being a property focused brand to a guest focused brand is how MadeComfy aims to adapt to the challenging climate, born from the natural hesitation people will have when booking future accommodation.
“We see an opportunity whereby short-term rentals, by nature, offer a solution to travellers in that short-term rentals are more private, and the quality and cleanliness is more consistent,” Quirin says.
“Just the feeling of staying in a hotel where you can’t open the window and have many other travellers and cleaners in and out, just thinking about that makes you feel a bit stressed.
“By offering a professional product under a brand that people can trust, MadeComfy can enable people to travel in a safer way.”
And recent figures reflect the feeling of optimism and opportunity, as the encouragement of state wide travel brings with it a rise in booking numbers of short-term accommodation.
“What we’ve seen in just the number of bookings alone, is that there has been a 300% increase comparing the first week of June with the whole of the month of April, so it’s going up,” Quirin says.
Calling Australia Home
MadeComfy is now very much a nationwide company operating right across Australia, with its main presence in the capital cities along the country’s east coast, although Quirin admits he wasn’t always so familiar with the country he now calls home.
“I come from a small village near Munich and I first came here in 2006. I’ve been to every continent and have travelled to a lot of countries, but I’d never had the same feeling as when I landed in Australia, I was just like wow, I want to live here one day.
“I had the opportunity three years later to move to Perth, I had to google it because I didn’t know what Perth was!” Quirin laughs.
“But it was an incredible part of my life, I’ve been here for 12 years now but I will never lose my German accent, it’s impossible!”
But now, very much a Sydneysider, Quirin praises the Australian love for real estate and how he hopes we as a nation approach the next few months.
“Australians are passionate about property and they read about it a lot, this has meant we have gained a lot of attention.
“As a company, we want to work on becoming a really dominant and sophisticated brand in the ANZ before we make the next step into the South East Asian market.
“And as a country, we have a real chance now to say, ‘hey we’ve managed this so well, let’s get our economy back on track and get to a new normal faster than other leading countries.
“It’s an amazing opportunity we have now. The easy thing would be to say, ‘OK, let’s chill out and go for a surf’, and maybe the more German way of thinking would be ‘OK, how can we now use this opportunity to really push on’. But the balance is probably somewhere in the middle.”