Short-term rental owners use platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo to make money using their existing properties — Glimpse is a company that’s helping rental owners make even more money through a growing trend in retail.
Glimpse partners with existing Airbnb hosts to showcase products in their accommodations, acting as a showroom of sorts. The hosts make a commission (averaging around $100-$500) after a guest purchases a product they saw in the unit.
CEO Akash Raju, COO Anuj Mehta, and CPO Kushal Negi met at Purdue University and came up with the idea when working on pop-up shops around Purdue’s campus. The company is part of the latest class of Y Combinator-backed startups.
While the company is small, they are finding success in their new model since launching in March 2020. Raju said in an interview with TechCrunch that many of the company’s 750 partnered properties are fully booked through September 2020.
The company has showcased the GhostBed mattress and Liquid Death canned water. Currently, Glimpse is focused on building out their platform, developing new features, and creating new product discovery features.
Short-Term Rentals Adopting an Existing Trend
Glimpse is bringing product-placement to the short-term rental market, but hotels have been dabbling in the space for the past few years. Many companies say that this type of product placement is great for both consumers and brands, giving customers an immersive product experience that is more likely to leave an impression.
As the e-commerce space continues to grow, retailers are looking for new ways for customers to experience their brand. These in-person experiences are just what many brands are looking for as brick-and-mortar retail becomes more and more obsolete.
The best-suited brands for product placement in hotels are large, but relatively niche companies like West Elm, Muji, or Restoration Hardware. Their fun, striking designs leave an impression on hotel guests — travelers who are more likely to be focused on having fun. Having an in-person experience with a brand’s product can also have a huge impact on a customer’s purchase intention.
Glimpse’s focus on Airbnb could benefit a new type of product — smaller direct to consumer brands. These brands are more likely to be a hit with Airbnb’s audience, helping these companies reach a wider audience.
Product placement has created a new market for hotels, and a potential new opportunity for Airbnb hosts. However, brands, hotels and Airbnb hosts need to be careful — the products they showcase need to match their target audience. Ultra-modern furniture from West Elm might look out of place in a beach-style Airbnb, and budget-focused Muji furniture won’t stand out to a customer in a luxury hotel.
Consumer demographics are another important point for brands to consider — Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers don’t mind hard-selling tactics, but Gen Z and Millennial consumers tend to reject obvious product placements. These kinds of challenges must be overcome for this market to continue to grow.
Needless to say, these product placement opportunities could continue to be a hot opportunity as hotels and Airbnb hosts look to make additional income in the aftermath of Covid-19. This is a trend we’ll be keeping our eyes on.