A Spokane startup that has carved out a niche in travel lodging is embarking on an ambitious growth plan with an infusion of $15 million in venture capital.
Stay Alfred Vacation Rentals, which offers stays in nearly 400 upscale apartment units in 12 U.S. cities, aims to grow its rental inventory tenfold and go global over the next five years.
The privately owned company generated about $25 million in revenue last year from its rentals in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C.
“We are looking to add additional cities in the near future inside the U.S.” as well as some international cities, spokeswoman Jeanne Ryan said.
Stay Alfred has staked out territory between the hotel scene and the fast-growing vacation rental market. The company leases apartments with one to three bedrooms in urban centers and rents them to business travelers and vacationers.
The $15 million in financing came from an undisclosed Seattle-based family office.
“The reason for bringing the funds on right now was to allow us to grow and expand with a better balance sheet,” Ryan said. “It’s about having the capital at your fingertips when the opportunities come.”
Founded in 2011, the company recently hired senior leadership, including directors of sales, finance, marketing, product development and operations.
Stay Alfred has 60 employees in its Spokane headquarters, 123 E. Sprague Ave., and another 13 around the U.S.
The company strives to offer quality and consistency, Ryan said.
“Every time someone stays with Stay Alfred, we want them to have more than a hotel experience and something that’s better than a vacation rental,” she said. “Like Airbnb, you could be staying on Bob’s couch, for all you know. This is not like that.”
The units range from a junior suite up to a two-story, three-bedroom apartment.
“They all have full kitchens, washers and dryers. A lot of the buildings have amenities like gyms,” Ryan said. “So you’re getting a lot more than a hotel room for a commensurate price, so the value is very much there.”
Rates vary widely depending on location, size and time of travel. But they generally compare to those of a four-star hotel, the company says.
The company’s most popular destinations are Seattle and New Orleans, followed by San Diego and Nashville, Ryan said.
Stay Alfred also is exploring how to add guest services such as grocery delivery, airport pickup and guided city tours.
“How do we sort of delight our customers and give them the best stay possible,” Ryan said.