The most impactful change to the travel market over the past decade has been the rise of Airbnb. With thousands of rentals around the globe, taking a trip no longer means limiting yourself to staying in hotels. One of our favorite parts of searching for Airbnbs is all the amazing aesthetics to choose from. While some offer up just the necessities, others are stylish spaces that truly feel like a vacation to stay in.
One company that's making that elevated experience easier for both Airbnb owners and visitors is Fülhaus. The company offers a turnkey service that furnishes rentals with awesome pieces and even takes professional photos to help each space garner more visits to its profile. The Canadian-based business has taken on the market, helping spruce up Airbnbs across North America.
We asked CEO Andria Santos to give us some insight into her innovative company and show us how creating a well-designed rental can be as easy as pressing add-to-cart.
How did you first come up with the idea for Fülhaus?
Andria Santos: While I loved my career in law, I seized the opportunity to start Fülhaus in an effort to satisfy my passion for design. My family was always very real-estate oriented — we built every home we ever lived in. Design and architecture were an ever-present element growing up and I was lucky enough to participate in the construction and design process from an early age. I was obsessed with lighting. I used to design lamps as a child and even broke into my father’s power tools in an attempt to build my designs.
At the humble beginnings of Fülhaus, we sold curated vintage goods that were built in the heyday of Montreal. The site caught on very quickly in light of the trend towards mid-century modern furniture.
With a fun little side-business growing, I was seeking different opportunities in my day job, and had applied for a position at [vacation rental company] Sonder back before it was Sonder. I turned down the job and instead offered [founders] Francis and Lucas the option to furnish their units through Fülhaus. They were stoked!
We went on to furnish many of Sonder’s units over the coming years in Montreal and quickly realized the growing need for good design — on a reasonable budget — delivered and installed in a quick turn-around time. With over a 100 units under our belt, and other short-term-rental (STR) operators calling, I quit my day job. Having a background in law and business was an essential element to growing Fülhaus into what I knew it could become. We proceeded to build Fülhaus into just that, Good Design Every Stay.
Since its inception in 2015, Fülhaus has refined the art of designing and furnishing short-term rentals into the Haus-in-a-box product — everything you need for your short-term rental, delivered, installed, and photographed at an affordable monthly fee. With six Fülhaus signature styles that are ever adapting to interior trends, this product offering has simplified the way clients can furnish their rentals. Fülhaus strives to design interiors that will adapt and evolve alongside its clients and their environment.
What does the service includes?
AS: Every Haus-in-a-Box comes with the options of Fül-service: delivery, installation, staging, and pro photos. The final product that the client receives is quality photos which have proven to increase their listing presence as well as their revenues. The client doesn’t have to step foot into the on-boarded units at any stage and can rely on our service to deliver quality, volume, and speed. All of our Haus-in-a-Box packages are delivered and installed on a three-week timeline. Our clients can buy any Haus-in-a-Box with Fül-Service on our easy to use e-commerce site.
We also offer custom Haus-in-a-Box for the client that wants to create their own branded aesthetic. This service includes an initial call with one of our designers to discuss branding and pipeline, as well as who their target demographic is.
From there, the custom Haus-in-a-Box is compiled and the client gets two revisions of their design. In this service we also offer wallpaper options and paint colors.
Why does the Airbnb industry need this kind of design-forward service?
AS: STR operators lack the design knowledge and technical skills to outfit spaces as well as staging the photos for the best shot. It is becoming more and more evident, as Airbnb and other platforms grow, that better design leads to more bookings and more presence on the listing sites. Achieving good design on a large scale and short turnaround time is tedious and a business of itself.
It tends to be the case, that operators contact us once they realize that spending days ordering from IKEA and Wayfair, hiring designers, install teams, photographers, and stylists is not their core business. Fülhaus is the next call. Our clients partner with us in order to alleviate a large hindrance to scaling their business and thanks to the relationships we have with our vendors, we’re able to offer pricing that is comparable to IKEA and Wayfair all the while increasing quality and design.
How is Fülhaus beneficial to both the rental owner and visitor?
AS: Fülhaus is a total turnkey solution, which allows our clients to go to focus on what they do best — grow their business and go to market at the quickest rate with the best designs.
Because our core business is design, the Haus-in-a-Box package takes guest experience and appreciation for nice environments into consideration. We are constantly updating our styles to current interior trends.
How is each package curated?
AS: Our design and procurement team does extensive research into trends that are big in the influencer market as well as the blogosphere and social media. Hitting specific but visually appealing styles means we could create unique experiences for guests and Instagrammable moments throughout the space.
We also want to make sure that we offer styles that don’t compete with one another and pertain to the targeted demographic of our clients. Because our clients range from coast to coast, it is essential that we also meet the needs of beach destinations as well as the city slickers. This also helped in separating styles and creating looks to accommodate a vast range of guests and destinations.
How do you hope to change up the rental industry?
AS: This year, we are rolling out the Fül-Scale membership plan. Available only to operators with more than 50 units under their management, this new offering will enable our Fül-Scale members to grow their operations quicker and at decreasing rates as they onboard more units. Moreover, at the end of the term, Fülhaus will come in and re-install a brand new Haus-in-a-Box for no additional fee. Our goal is to be able to donate all used furniture to charitable organizations.
Where do you see Fülhaus heading in a few years?
AS: Our goal is to deliver the Haus-in-a-Box everywhere in the world, and then, make it all shoppable to the guest! Studies show that the more time people spend in a space and with their surrounding items and objects, the more inclined they are to want to purchase them.
We’ve seen the notion of slow shopping happen across retailers as they encourage shoppers not just to come in for the item on their list, but you can now read a book in Club Monaco’s library, get a treatment at Origins, or take a yoga class at Lululemon.
At Fülhaus, we’re slowing shopping all the way down to a stay. With the launch of Shoppable Stays, our vision is to become the world’s leading stay-commerce experience, the ability to shop an item in your stay.
As Haus-in-a-Boxes are dispatched across our clients’ units, they also become fully shoppable to their guests. People can now purchase any object in a STR furnished by Fülhaus, once they’ve had the opportunity to fall in love with it. More importantly, we are evolving the Haus-in-a-Box product line with what guests want. The best part about it? No need to lug the item back with you. It’ll be there when you get home.