The South African company taking on Airbnb

What do you do when you have co-founded one of the most successful ISPs in South Africa and are looking for a new challenge? Simple: take on Airbnb.

This is what Webafrica co-founder Rupert Bryant did when he became CEO of Accommodation Direct in 2013.

Accommodation Direct was started in 2006 by local entrepreneurs Oliver Bryant and Ric Meulemans, who were behind KrugerPark.com and Guzzle.co.za.

The company grew to become one of South Africa’s largest accommodation portals, with over 10,000 listings across Africa by 2010.

Bryant and Meulemans were stretched running multiple businesses, and in 2013 convinced Rupert to head up Accommodation Direct.

Shortly after Bryant took over, they relaunched the website. Two years later, sales were up ten-fold.

The company currently has 20,000 listings, 2,000 user reviews of places to stay, and 2,000 destinations.

Focussing on South Africa

Bryant told MyBroadband they want to differentiate themselves from their competitors – especially international players like Airbnb – by focussing on South Africa.

“Our strategy is to focus locally and ensure we always have the best booking experience for South Africans, with the best, highest-quality places to stay,” said Bryant.

“Our belief is we’re not just selling accommodation, but travel experiences which hopefully become cherished memories, so we want every booking to be special.”

He said Accommodation Direct is looking at expanding into other African countries in the coming years.

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The South African company taking on Airbnb