Hotel start-up Selina said on Monday it had acquired the brand and customer base of Distant year. The pandemic has put the two companies on the side. But the deal offers Selina a new path to a promising segment of demand for its hotels and hostels in 19 countries that already include coworking facilities.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the all-stock transaction. Remote Year, a Chicago-based program that allows employees to work in a different global city each month, raised $ 5 million in funding last year and $ 17 million since its founding in 2015. The pandemic has driven Remote Year to suspend operations in mid-March, when it laid off about 50 people, or the majority of its staff.
Selina, a Panama-based company that provides travelers with collaborative workspaces, hostel-style accommodations and activities, has pledged to honor all outstanding commitments Remote Year has made to its customers and to invest in make the brand a subsidiary. Selina will lend her properties, technologists and marketers to help Remote Year.
“The rise of digital nomads is going to be one of the biggest movements hospitality has ever seen,” said Selina co-founder and CEO Rafael Museri.
Even though the trend is on the conservative side of the forecast, Museri said, businesses and employees have now been pressured to recognize the potential for cost savings associated with employing a highly skilled remote worker, for example at the Costa Rica.
“Traditional OTAs [online travel agencies] aren’t ready to wrap all this life in a smart way, ”Museri said. “Remote Year can operate as a global brand. They have already built such a great brand. He already has excellent word of mouth marketing. “
raised about $ 60 million in additional funding earlier this year, sources told Skift. The startup declined to comment on the total amount of funding, but previously revealed that it had raised $ 225 million in venture capital funds from investors such as Access Industries, Grupo Wiese and Colony Latam Partners. He had also obtained more than $ 300 million for a real estate investment fund.
Selina will refocus on long-term stays and its remote work offering, Museri said.
On a related note, Selina launched a few subscriptions in August that make it easier for remote workers to book extended stays at her properties.
A subscription, called Nomadic passport, allows travelers to purchase 30, 60 or 90 night credits at discounted rates. Another, called Selina coLive, allows digital nomads to stay at any Selina property for a one, three or six month stay. A company program allows companies to purchase passes for their workers. Each plan covers one seat in the coworking area of each property.
With almost no marketing, Selina signed up 120 followers, Museri said. The brand wants to cap it at around 400 or 500 subscribers who will live around the world so the company can test and refine the model. The key indicators are customer satisfaction, average transaction size and customer acquisition costs.
This decision illustrates the number of travel agencies that are testing subscription services.
“I bought the book ‘Subscribe’ for all the leadership of our company, ”said Museri.
The remote year does not yet have a timeline for customer takeover. Until now it has offered programs of 1, 4, 6 and 12 months, in a dozen cities, including Mexico City, Medellin, Lima, Santiago, Split, Lisbon, Valencia, Cape Town, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai and Kyoto. . The program had cost between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000 per month plus an upfront payment.
Earlier this month, she signed an agreement with the University of California, Irvine’s Division of Continuing Education (DCE), to offer a certification program for specialist studies in leadership, where the university will offer a program with distance learning courses led by its instructors.
Selina continued to grow despite the crisis. The company has opened around ten sites since the beginning of June.
“The average occupancy rate of these 12 sites is higher than any of the 12 other sites ever opened in the history of the company,” said Museri. “Most were in countries where we didn’t have operations before, like Greece and Israel.”
Note: Skift previously had a colleague do the year remotely, which allowed him to learn about multiple cultures.
Photo credit: People on the Remote Year program chat in a New Orleans coworking space in 2019. Selina acquired Remote Year. Distant year