Spanish alternative to Airbnb carves out niche in MWC

The three minds behind the start-up Alterkeys
The three minds behind the start-up Alterkeys
The Chinese telecommunications mammouth Huawei has resorted to Alterkeys to lodge the firm’s attendees during the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Spanish alternative to Airbnb aims to expand its user base to 120,000 homes by the turn of the year
By Gabriel Trindade in Barcelona
00:42 horas
A Spanish alternative to Airbnb does not get much publicity but it has carved out a niche in Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, leading trade fair in telecommunications industry. Premiered two years ago, Alterkeys has been tasked with finding accomodation for the numerous delegation of the Chinese IT behemoth Huawei.
Alterkeys does not advertise rooms, but entire homes
Indeed, Alterkeys has taken a fresh approach to vacational rentals industry. “We only advertise vacant places. Rooms for rent are ruled out authomatically”, said Chema González, co-founder.

By doing so, the site ensures highest standards of service, strategy that proves crucial when it comes to securing deals with large firms.

That said, Alterkeys prides itself on providing much more certainty than Airbnb. Particularly in what refers to the payment system. Only wire transfers are accepted in a particularly stern payment policy.

However, the site freezes transferred amounts as guests explore their new abode. In doing so, Alterkeys provides a window of time to make sure advertised homes do not fell short of customers’ expectations.

Although lessors are charged virtually no commissions, Aterkeys retains a tenth of the set cost as processing fee.

“The last thing we want is to be accused of infiltration into the online rentals market. To work towards gaining our own foothold, we only work with wire transfers, much more transparent than alternative payment methods”, added González.

That point outlined, Alterkeys does not satisfy tourist tax obligations wherever it operates. However, their founders remind that they are not liable to do so under current national laws. “It is down to landlords to pay tourist taxes in place, if there are any”.

As occurs with Airbnb, Alterkeys has arranged insurance coverage for landlords advertising their homes on the site. The insurance giant Zurich provides up to 500,000 euros worth of coverage.

“It represented an inevitable step towards building up users ‘confidence”.

Up until now, Alterkeys has registered 70,000 properties across 5,000 world capitals, including Madrid, Berlin, London, Milan and Barcelona. It now aims to raise that number to 120,000 by the end of the year.