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Sonder — intimate neighborhoods, consistent quality

Airbnb has been a game changer. I know many people who have made Airbnb their full-time career or who “stay for free” when they travel because they Airbnb their home. Airbnb likes to focus on the “community” rather than on the business possibilities, but regardless, it unlocked space in a new way.

Here’s another take on decentralized vacation rentals: Montreal-based Sonder. Similar to Airbnb, you submit your property to their platform. But unlike Airbnb, they take care of everything from reservations and guest communication to operations and housekeeping. It’s a completely hands-off approach for owners.

The value proposition to guests is that they get a more consistent experience, but with all the “local color” of a traditional vacation rental. And for owners, they get to maximize revenue without having to be as hands-on as with an Airbnb. (Presumably Sonder’s take is greater.) In many ways, it’s like a decentralized hotel chain. Same supply source as Airbnb, but they are now unifying the customer experience.

It’s fascinating to watch this software/internet layer developing on top of real estate. It’s giving me all sorts of ideas.

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