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Making staying in as good as going out is new bookings platform HOMEtainment with its hot ticket of food, drinks and music spiced up with a masterclass or session.
From tarot reading and mixing cocktails to salsa dancing and Freakebana, the modern twist on the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging, they all can be arranged.
The startup’s smart innovation, where guests can live it up and learn, reflects the growing demand for experiences.
It is also proving to be a saving grace for pandemic restricted social lives and a way for hard-hit hospitality freelancers to boost their earnings and broaden their customer bases.
HOMEtainment’s four categories feature 140 different events led by 70 or more hand-picked, vetted virtuosos. Customers curate their parties, with booking just a few days in advance.
They pay a service fee, with prices from £150 for three people and the company also charges its talent a commission on the experiences sold.
Co-founder and managing director Antoine Melon, a former UK director of members’ club group Soho House and a luxury hospitality expert, launched the business in May.
Being made redundant from a job he had just started prompted him to take a deeper look at hospitality as a whole and how behaviour was changing, with the focus more on home-centred preferences from watching films to fitness classes, manicures and hairdressing.
“Home has become a sanctuary,” he explains. “We saw a market gap for a new category offering customers a one-stop-shop for organising events at home without the need of an intermediary and taking away the burden of hours of research.
“They can experience the crème de la crème without having a mansion. Starting HOMEtainment has made us realise what a huge pool of creative flair there is out there. Our entertainers are fully ensured professionals and take care of everything.
“We’re Airbnb Premium for hospitality, nowhere else can you choose on one platform a chef as well as a DJ, a mixologist and a flower artist. In addition to pure service we have extras for those who would like to learn something. Most of our experiences have a learning dimension from simple tips to a full masterclass.
“The pandemic has been an amplifier for our business model. We soon saw demand from small businesses too as they wanted to re-engage with their staff so to meet this we have developed OFFICEtainment as well.”
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HOMEtainment has operated so far in London with the M25, drawing on the area’s extensive cosmopolitan expertise.
However after £200,000 of private investment including personal funds, Melon is planning a new raise through crowdfunding in early spring 2022 which looks set to be followed by international expansion in Europe, then the US and Asia, with franchises a possibility.
Turnover is expected to be around £1 million in 2023 with much of the extra growth capital earmarked for platform upgrades.
“We began with a white label marketplace platform, now we need a more bespoke operation, hospitality involves a lot of complexities,” says Melon.
“People crave human connections and I would love 2022 to be the year when more say ‘Let’s do HOMEtainment next week’.”
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