Short-Term Rentals Branch Out: Hourly Rentals, International Student Housing

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As the market grows, so is the variety of short-term rental services.

The short-term rental industry is branching out, with many Airbnb-like iterations.

We looked at two in particular: Hourly rentals for the entertainment industry and short-term student housing. Both are services Airbnb doesn’t typically provide.  On Scouter, film production crews and social media influencers can rent locations on an hourly basis.

And Outpost Club provides monthly furnished rentals to international students and interns visiting the U.S. for a short period of time. 

Scouter — Airbnb for Hourly Rentals

Guadalajara, Mexico-based Scouter has recently launched in South Florida with the aim of being the Airbnb for venues. The company’s platform lists mansions, stadiums, pools and other specific locations for movies, photography shoots and one-day events.

The four-year-old company started as a Facebook page when its founder and CEO Mauricio Almeida was working for Sony Entertainment in the content division. 

“I realized that we always have the same problem when it comes to finding locations for our shoots,” Almeida said. “We wanted to rent specific locations, like a garden, or a hospital, or a helipad, or a big mansion. And we needed it for a few hours in the day. So it started with a Facebook page listing houses of friends. But I quickly realized that this can be a much bigger business,” he said.

Four years later, Scouter counts the likes of HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Vogue, and Gucci as its clients. The majority of properties on the Scouter platform, including houses, apartments, offices and mansions, are rented out by owners who also use Airbnb. 

And for locations like parks, stadiums, art galleries, and restaurants, the company has a dedicated sales and account management team that scouts for and manages those locations, as there are more negotiations and security protocols involved. 

Hosts who use Scouter often likewise have listings on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. 

“We are another channel to make money, with another industry,” Almeida said. “If a house rents for $2,000 a night, Scouter can pay $3,000 for four hours because it is for commercial use, so hosts stand to make more money.”

Almeida said that one of the biggest risks is damage to the property or location. And for that, Scouter gives the owner a security deposit of $5,000. The mansion rentals start at $2,000 for four hours, while a standard house or apartment with a terrace or garden starts at $300 for two hours. 

If you’re curious about a TV show shot on a Scouter-found location? Narcos is one.

Outpost Club: Short-Term International Student Housing

Property management company Outpost Club provides furnished monthly rentals for international students and young professionals moving to the U.S. for education and internships. 

Founded in 2016 by Ukrainians Sergii Starostin and Oleksandr Prykhodko, Outpost Club manages 1,500 apartments across 40 buildings in New York across Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, as well as Philadelphia. It plans to expand to other markets like Massachusetts and Florida that have a considerable student population.

Starostin said that New York City’s Local Law 18 that outlawed most short-term rentals for fewer than 30 nights has brought more business for his company. 

“When last year there was a closure of most Airbnbs in New York City, it pumped up the business because like Airbnb was not only used for short-term travel, but Airbnb was also used for mid-term stays like 1-5 months,” Starostin said. “So we started to work with some Airbnb landlords who had short term rentals, but we converted them into mid- and long-term rentals.”

Outpost Club gets into management agreements with these landlords and takes a fee for its services. Rents for the smallest units start from $1,000 per month which includes basic supplies, utilities and periodic cleaning and maintenance. Elsewhere, in Pennsylvania, Outpost Club rents apartments starting from $750. 

The company is also the official partner for New York City’s Administration for Child Services, where it provides housing for students coming out of foster care and entering colleges. The city pays Outpost Club to temporarily accommodate these students.

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