One Year and $48 Million in Funding Later, Casai Has Grown to Over 200 Listings With Their Tech-Forward Approach
The Need for Better Technology and Flexible Living Spaces
Nico Barawid found himself traveling for work, a lot. As Head of International Business for a fintech startup he was constantly abroad, and consistently disappointed by the quality of Airbnbs he stayed in. Prior to that, as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, he would often stay in hotels, but didn’t enjoy that experience either because they were uncomfortable for extended stays and not located in trendy neighborhoods.
At a barbecue, Nico met his future co-founder, Maricarmen Herrerías, who as an executive at one of Mexico’s largest hotel operators, had been independently thinking about the need for better use of technology and flexible living spaces from the operating perspective.
This sparked the founding of Casai, a property management company created by hospitality veterans with tech at the forefront, and the only property management startup with Latin American roots. The two combined their operational and consumer backgrounds along with tech and hospitality to create a better way to travel, and today are backed by leading investors including Andreessen Horowitz and TriplePoint Capital with a $48 million Series A funding round.
Casai currently has over 200 properties nationally in Mexico and plans to continue expanding throughout 2021 while supporting local communities in Latin America and emerging tourism economies.
When Casai started, their focus was AirBnB. However, in the first couple of months of operating, Casai became interested in earning multi-platform revenue from several OTAs and later, from direct bookings.
“We wanted a robust solution to handle the calendar, properties, reservations, guest communication, and billing data”, said Nico.
At the time, Casai was still in the early stages of growing, and was looking for a tech solution that touched every aspect of the business. Once COVID-19 hit, they knew they had to act fast and strategically to ensure Casai’s success.
“When we found Guesty, it was simply more robust and full of features compared to other solutions on the market” said Alberto Ramos, CRO at Casai. “It had stronger existing integrations and allowed us to manage the calendar and listings of our entire portfolio in one centralized dashboard”. Casai found the guest communication features extremely useful in order to keep their team as lean as possible, “something we did not find present to the same degree in other PMS’s”.
With the broad range of features from Guesty, Casai has been able to adjust their business, especially in light of the global pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, they did not use Guesty’s Send A Quote tool and revenue management features, but now both are a crucial part of how they manage direct bookings, which at the peak of the pandemic accounted for more than half of their revenue.
Another great advantage that has made Casai happy with Guesty is the open API which enables them to automate the integration between Guesty and their own direct booking website.
Casai has been with Guesty from the beginning, growing from a handful of properties on Airbnb, to over 200 units distributed on 10+ platforms across 2 countries.
While Casai’s revenue growth has been a result of many factors, the calendar optimization and ability to directly integrate to several booking platforms via Guesty has had at least a 20-30% impact on their current revenue, according to their team. In fact, the team quickly bounced back to 90% pre-pandemic occupancy levels after the onset of the pandemic – a swift rebound they attribute to their tech-forward approach to hospitality.
“Guesty’s exceptional Airbnb integration and automated messaging functionalities were crucial to maintain our extremely high (4.9 or above) review goals”, said Alberto “specifically when the brand was in it’s beginning stages and without many other communication tools.”
Casai has big plans for the year ahead. They have deepened their footprint nationally in Mexico, through their product Getaways by Casai, now offering units in top leisure destinations such as Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, Cancún, Valle de Bravo and more. They have plans to continue expanding throughout 2021 and reaching over 500 units by the end of the year.