Though the real estate industry as a whole is bouncing back as countries ease lockdown orders, the short-term and travel markets are still seeing the adverse effects of the virus. Airbnb has said it is switching to a long-term rental model, and now Zeus, backed by the vacation rental giant, is following in its footsteps.
We had last reported that Zeus slashed its workforce by a third when the effects of the pandemic were at their worst. Now, the short-term, furnished apartment rental platform is mixing things up in a bid to stay relevant during the global shift the real estate market is seeing.
One of those changes is focusing less on renting homes from landlords as well as adding an online marketplace where landlords can list their properties themselves.
This is a bold move in that the company had angered a good chunk of its landlord inventory by not being able to pay them on time during the thick of the quarantine. Though the company was able to eventually pay them, it only went so far as the pay the landlords who renegotiated their leases to a revenue-sharing agreement that would only pay out when occupied with a customer.
This led to a Zeus landlords gathering in a Facebook group, to essentially unionize, by creating a space where they could help each other leave contracts and negotiate terms.
At the end of April, the landlords received a formal apology for how the company handled not only the financial issues due to the pandemic, but how the landlords were treated in general.
Since then, Zeus has begun what other real estate startups have done, shifting away from traditional leases to the more modern, fully digital approach to renting real estate.