Minoan remodels rentals into showrooms
The Future. A startup called Minoan is helping short-term rental hosts outfit their spaces with products that guests can purchase with a few taps on their phone. It’s what the company calls “native retail,” which opens up new revenue streams for both renters and retailers. If successful, the platform could easily find a home in any public or private space. Call it the apex of e-commerce — everything’s shoppable.
Redesign for retail
Fast Company reports that Minoan is about to turn every Airbnb into a mini Ikea.
- Minoan allows hosts to select products (at a discount) from participating brands so that they can decorate their rentals.
- Each piece chosen using Minoan is shoppable. Guests can scan a QR code on a product — a couch, a coffee machine, a candle — and buy it from their phone.
- With each sale, the brand gets 70% of the revenue, while the host and Minoan both get 15%.
Minoan raised $5 million from VC firm Accel earlier this year and already has a “network” of almost 10,000 rentals (including some boutique hotels) using the service.
Current brands on the roster include retail mainstays like West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Wayfair, and also several small businesses all over the country.
Minoan co-founder and President Marc Hostovsky says that the goal of the startup is to give retailers a way to show off their products beyond “screens and shelves.” Or as Fast Company’s Rob Walker calls it: “IRL product placement.”
If renters fall in love with a product or piece of furniture while using it — the best kind of advertising it — Minoan takes away the friction of buying it. It’s a strategy that hotel chains such as Westin and Hampton Inn have already used to great success… without the tech solution that makes purchasing so simple.