Tech-powered short-term rental operator Bob W has made its entry into the German market with the acquisition of Charly Hospitality.
Alternative accommodation specialist, Bob W, has built a reputation on redefining the hospitality experience by giving guests five-star, contactless service in locally-designed apartments within handpicked neighborhoods.
Based in Helsinki, Bob W currently operates 27 aparthotel & coliving properties across Europe — in the UK, Spain, Finland, Italy, Norway, Greece and Estonia. Its Charly acquisition means it now adds seven properties located in Germany’s Bonn, Munich, Berlin, Lübeck and Cologne, as well as Amsterdam in the Netherlands. All of these properties will move over to the Bob W brand during 2023.
Bob W acquired Charly because the two companies have a similar tech-enabled approach and design ethos, which results in a straightforward integration. Both offer a seamless digital front desk experience backed by robust digital customer service and other failsafes, so guests always feel looked after. Unlike Charly, Bob W has built its own tech platform along with a suite of apps. Both businesses offer short-stay apartments that give guests the best of both worlds — the authenticity and functionality of a private apartment, as well as the dependable quality of a hotel.
Bob W wants to continue to expand quickly across Europe but particularly in Germany. It is the largest domestic travel market in Europe, which the company expects will be its largest market by the end of 2023. By then it anticipates operating more than 40 properties in all territories, achieved through a mix of leases (rent-to-rent) and management deals, with the potential for further M&A activity.
Bob W has grown rapidly since being founded just before the pandemic by Sebastian Emberger, who is from Germany, and Niko Karstikko, from Finland. Aside from organic growth, In May last year it acquired Estonishing Stay which, at the time, was the largest short-stay apartment operator in Estonia. The following October it bought Finnish competitor KOTI Hotel, simultaneously securing €21 million in series A funding, led by Elevator Ventures, Verve Ventures, IDC Ventures and Flashpoint.
Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO of Bob W, comments: “We are super excited about entering Germany with Charly and adopting their world-class team. The locations and properties are gorgeous. Once we apply our tech and brand standards, the next generation of travellers will have yet another place to call home with the most loved hospitality product on the market.
“We’re getting huge traction with our approach to tech and reinvented hospitality. Guests are responding very positively to the investment we make in their surroundings and in our customer experience, and that is translating into brand loyalty and repeat bookings. We offer travellers the best of both worlds — hotel and apartment — and our formula works. That’s what is driving our growth plans. We will continue to expand quickly but sustainably in existing and new markets where there is high demand for what we offer and the fundamentals add up.”
Charly Hospitality founder, Jona Schaeffer, said: “With Bob W, we have found the perfect home for our team and our portfolio of boutique aparthotels in Germany and the Netherlands. We strongly believe in Bob W’s potential to become the market leader in alternative accommodations in Europe and are delighted that Charly will play its part in it.”