Accommodation portals

Metasearcher Hometogo buys Casamundo as Wimdu shuts down

German-based holiday home metasearch company Hometogo has taken over the Casamundo portal just days after struggling Airbnb rival Wimdu announced its imminent closure.

October 01, 2018
Hometogo CEO Patrick Andrae is expanding with Casamundo takeover.
Photo: HomeToGo

Berlin-based Hometogo claims to be the world’s biggest meta-search provider for holiday homes, searching 300 different websites with a total of 15 million offers, including major accommodation providers such as Booking.com, the HomeAway group, TripAdvisor, e-domizil and TUI Villas. The company, with more than 150 employees, operates local sites in the USA, 12 European countries, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Australia.

Founder and CEO Patrick Andrae is now stepping directly into the vacation rentals market with the acquisition of Casamundo from the @LeisureGroup (part of the Axel Springer media group) for an undisclosed sum. EuroRelais is also part of the transaction.

Casamundo, which employs more than 100 people at its office in Hamburg, offers over 700,000 rentals in destinations worldwide through local portals in Germany, Netherlands, UK, France, Poland, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic and Sweden. However, it will remain an important distribution partner for @Leisure Group’s brands like Belvilla, DanCenter and Danland.

Andrae said: “Casamundo has a great team and brand in the vacation rental industry in Germany and Europe. We’re looking forward to leveraging further synergies as a group and building the best vacation rental search experience in the market. Both HomeToGo and Casamundo will benefit from one another as we move forward together.”

Explaining the disposal, Tobias Wann, CEO @Leisure Group, said: “Our strategy is focused on further developing our full-service propositions, such as Belvilla and DanCenter, and our self-service proposition Traum-Ferienwohnungen. Following this, the sale of Casamundo, with its different business model, is a logical step.”

None of the three companies involved in the transaction discloses booking volumes or revenues.

Meanwhile, German accommodation ‘sharing’ platform Wimdu will close down by the end of 2018, just two years after being acquired by holiday homes provider Novasol. Citing “significant financial and business challenges”, the company, with about 100 employees, will complete existing bookings for 2018 and then stop trading.

Founded eight years ago, Wimdu aimed to become a German rival to Airbnb but failed to win sufficient bookings for its offering of city accommodation despite large-scale financing. Danish-based Novasol bought the company in late 2016 to gain accommodation in cities to complement its portfolio of holiday homes in mostly coastal locations.

It seems likely that Novasol’s new owner, US financial investor Platinum Equity, which bought the company from Wyndham Hotels in April this year, was no longer prepared to finance Wimdu’s losses.

News of Wimdu’s closure came just one day after the announcement that Bernd Muckenschnabel, the long-serving head of Novasol, will retire from the post of supervisory board chairman at the end of this year. He will be followed by Jan Hapaanen, who has been with the company since 2002 and who will take over the position of CEO of the entire Novasol Group.

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