He said that to date the apartment or room sharing renting model from the like of Airbnb had been aimed at students, couch-surfers and backpackers but there was a huge opportunity to communicate with mums about a family holiday proposition.
Al-Qassab, speaking to Marketing Week, said: “The revenue opportunity is with grown-ups – mums and dads with families but the biggest thing we have to do is build trust with mums. They love the idea that this sharing economy exists but no-one had told them it’s for them.
“No-one has given them any reassurance that they can enter into it – and they are the [family] gatekeepers for buying a holiday.”
Housetrip launched a television advertising campaign in May created by McGarry Bowen that introduced the concept of “Housetripping” and the strapline “Do you Housetrip yet?”.
Al-Qassab added that the TV activity was just the beginning of turning Housetrip into a household name and he was looking to sign partnership deals with some trusted brands in the near future.
It has just launched partnerships with PayPal & Amex, which include co-marketing, to underline the company’s security credentials. Housetrip has also used reviews from the websites TrustPilot & ReviewCentre in recent press advertising because it has 97% recommendation levels and wants to prompt those considering using the service.
Al-Qassab pointed out that even Airbnb had low single digit consumer awareness so there was plenty of room for competitors in the marketplace
As a marketer with 20 years experience in FMCG at Procter & Gamble, he says what he is bringing to Housetrip is a “deep understanding” about targeting.
He added: “Most start-ups do not look at the world through a brand lens. They think if they build something cool everyone will come. What they think of as the old world of advertising and branding is still completely relevant. You cannot build a brand fast enough purely online.”
He pointed out that the two main places to find mums were “watching TV and on Facebook” and “Mums don’t think about offline and online – and they also want to share photos. So we’ll be on social media platforms that are visual and interesting.”
Rick Hirst, chief executive of McGarry Bowen, added: “ We are not going to spend a lot of money trying to invest a place for people to go. We will go to platforms where they are already talking and sharing.”
Airbnb recently hired former Coca-Cola marketer Jonathan Mildenhall as its CMO.