As the number of booking services for vacation rentals increases, it seems only natural that so too will the number of meta search platforms, enabling users to search across the original portals for the best. Just a year old, French startup Likibu has begun to gain a solid amount of traction doing just that.
Starting up a business can sometimes be pretty straight-forward, but in other cases, there are some bumps along the way. This is one of the latter kind, as co-founder Aurelien Jemma says that they initially built a meta-search platform for vacation rentals in 2012, but discovered that the market was not quite ready yet. Essentially, they built their platform and were ready to go, but, as a meta service, they are reliant on others and found that the booking portals were not yet at the same stage. So, they waited and, in 2014, realized that the time had arrived for their platform to go live. It was at this time that Jemma says that they quit their jobs and, without burning through too much cash, launched Likibu. Likibu has proven to be a success thus far, claiming 100K users per month through the French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish-language sites that they offer.
One of the things that struck me about the service itself is that you can either head straight for the search engine in order to find rentals in the city that you intend to visit or you can search through recommended spots. They list a number of “recommended cities” (Paris, London, Rome, etc.), but what I like is that you can click to check out all of the recommended spots on a continent-wide, and then country-wide, level before going down to the city. Clicking on the Middle East, for example, brings up 9 different rental spots from various countries in the region. One you have selected a city (I went ahead and searched through spots in Paris), the site offers up a list of properties, as well as a Google map with clickable tags. Properties can be listed by recommendation or price and then filtered down by accommodation, price-range, amenities, or booking service.
Notable about Likibu is that they have built a widely-used platform without having to obtain outside investment. In order to generate revenue, Jemma says that they are considering a hybrid model, currently testing a commission-based and pay-per-click models with their partners.