While final numbers are still being calculated, Airbnb expected nearly 10,000 guests to arrive at its Atlanta-area properties during the week prior to Super Bowl VIII. This influx of visitors also made it a big week for hospitality startup Kleenerly, an end-to-end platform for short-term rental turnover.
The Atlanta-based company had 200 turnovers just this past weekend following the game.
“Thankfully we were able to prepare for this record weekend for over a year and we were able to create amazing guest experiences,” CEO and co-founder Ricardo Theiner tells Hypepotamus.
Theiner started his hospitality-focused career at another growing Atlanta startup, Rented.com, as one of their first full-time employees. He moved to Chicago to work for hospitality startup Flatbook, returning to Atlanta to launch their subletting program here. But he continued to see the same pain point in the short-term rental industry — finding a quality cleaning service for a fast turnover.
“We wanted to find trustworthy cleaners with experience not only in hotel-style cleaning, but also with a hospitality touch. We weren’t able to find those with a flexible schedule. We decided to do the turnover ourselves for all units,” says Theiner.
In 2016, Theiner and co-founder Annette Blanco decided to create Kleenerly to bring automation to short-term rental turnover management. “We’ve always had this problem and we were really passionate about creating amazing guest experiences. If we had that problem with Flatbook (later rebranded to Sonder), property managers in Atlanta most likely did too,” says Theiner.
While there’s isn’t a shortage of quality cleaning companies, Theiner shares that there aren’t any that can remain flexible for check-out times and go beyond wiping surfaces to add small hospitality details like hotel-grade towels and replenishing utensils and teas.
Theiner and Blanco hit the ground running when only a few weeks in, a property manager hired them to manage 80 units. “He said, ‘Oh my god, where have you been for the past four years?’ It was an instant proof of concept for us,” says Theiner.
Kleenerly syncs up directly with an Airbnb/Homeaway calendar or property management software to keep up with guests and automate turnover after check-out. They’re able to manage requests for both regular check-outs and last-minute instant bookings.
Once the host or manager is on-boarded to the platform, they can use Kleenerly for anything from just cleaning and laundry, to managing all aspects of the property — from restocking perishables and bathroom/kitchen items to check-out inspection and key exchange.
The startup grew quickly, seeing over 500 percent growth from year one to year two, with more than 300 properties currently on the platform. They are paid out of the cleaning fee already added to rental reservations.
Despite the quick growth, Theiner and his team have been conscious about remaining lean and bootstrapped to minimize risk as they scaled. They’ve been profitable from day one and in 2017, expanded to Nashville.
Last year they also tested Charlotte as a possible market by partnering with a local property management company for six months, allowing them to experiment without much risk to the client.
“We successfully tested the market for six months, but for this year, we want to return our focus to Atlanta and Nashville as we currently have less than 10 percent market share in both cities,” says Theiner.
“We’re barely scratching the surface in both of them and while we’re getting a lot of inquiries from other southern states, we want to focus on growth in these two cities before we expand elsewhere.”
He hopes that this re-focused plan will allow him to start offering benefits to his team members, improve their work culture, and prioritize social impact initiatives in local communities.