A pair of young, gutsy entrepreneurs have just launched a high-end, short-term rental platform aimed at disrupting industry giants, like Airbnb and VRBO. Their secret sauce: A model that blends proprietary technology with personal service.
“Mass booking platforms don’t offer a tailored solution to the luxury traveler,” says Mariek Anselme, president and co-founder of A.M.A Selections. “They offer too much inventory without curation,” she adds.
The company hopes to carve a unique niche in the upscale rental market. “Our guests spend more than ten times the amount per night than those of Airbnb and VRBO,” says Anselme. In addition, the rental properties on our platform are all more exclusive, she says.
Unlike review-based models that enable owners to upload their own properties, those on the A.M.A Selection platform are selected and vetted by the company’s team “Only one percent of the top professionally managed homes make the cut,” says Anselme.
Also setting the new platform apart, in-house reservation agents help clients select homes that best suit their particular needs and preferences. Current platforms typically require users to conduct searches independently, often scouring through hundreds of properties to find a match. Travelers also bear sole responsibility for determining whether the reviews associated with the respective listings are trustworthy.
How are properties in the A.M.A portfolio selected?
“They must be beautiful in design and offer quality throughout,” says co-founder, Andrea Saliu. “Regardless of size, each property listed offers a ‘wow’ factor with special appeal.”
They tend to be larger properties, averaging five bedrooms; average stays also tend to be longer. Thus, these properties tend to attract families and other small group stays, whether for a family reunion, business retreat, or a girlfriend getaway.
Other distinctions: “The rentals are not only vetted for inclusion in the platform, they are also professionally managed, with a team on-site to welcome guests and address any questions or issues that arise during the course of a stay,” says Saliu. Some villas are fully staffed while others are self-catered.
Over 70 percent of A.M.A guests book additional services through the company’s seamlessly integrated online concierge service. This might include hiring a private chef to prepare dinner or arrange a special party at the property, securing a hard-to-snag reservation at a nearby Michelin star restaurant, or chartering a yacht and crew for an excursion.
The platform also allows users to share their trip itinerary with friends and family directly from their accounts.
Anselme and A.M.A co-founder Andrea Saliu are not only business associates but also life partners. (The company acronym stands for Andre, Mariek, and Associates.) In 2014, when both were only 25 years old, the couple founded A.M.A Selections, which began as a small, boutique holiday rental company on the French Riviera.
Anselme and Saliu bootstrapped the company from the beginning, borrowing money from a friend to get off the ground and taking out student loans to pay themselves for six months.
“We had to be able to draw salaries after that, or we would have had to find jobs,” says Saliu. “Thankfully, A.M.A Selections was profitable from the first year and we never looked back,” he says.
The company currently offers access to over 1000 properties in more than 100 locations across Europe.
“We’re thrilled to be launching A.M.A Selections’ new platform after 12 months of research and development,” says Anselme. “While the short-term rental space has rapidly evolved in recent years, the high-end sector has remained largely untouched.”