Tokyo, June 22, 2017 – Rakuten, Inc. and LIFULL Co., Ltd. today announced that the two companies will enter the vacation rental business in Japan with the establishment of Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Inc., a subsidiary of RAKUTEN LIFULL STAY PTE. LTD., which is jointly owned by Rakuten and LIFULL. (Investment ratio: Rakuten: 51%; LIFULL: 49%).
As a vacation rental intermediary registered with the Japan Tourism Agency in accordance with the recently passed Private Lodgings Business Law, Rakuten LIFULL STAY will develop a new platform connecting owners of unoccupied homes or rooms who are looking to provide accommodation with people who are wishing to rent. The service, tentatively titled “Vacation Stay,” will provide property owners with new opportunities to make use of their unutilized assets and give users a greater variety of options for accommodation.
By offering a diverse range of more than 70 services, Rakuten has built a user base of approximately 90 million members in Japan and developed a strong network with local governments nationwide. LIFULL operates a real estate and housing information site with around 8 million properties listed and has a network of more than 22,000 affiliated real estate stores. Representing an innovative step into the sharing economy for both companies, Rakuten LIFULL STAY will draw on Rakuten’s membership base as well as LIFULL’s resources and expertise in the real estate industry.
To make it easier for individuals or organizations to make their properties available through the service, Rakuten LIFULL STAY also plans to offer comprehensive support options, assisting with everything from the preparation of properties to day-to-day operations. Operational burden will also be reduced through the development of outsourcing options with external partners. It is hoped these services will result in more properties being made available and the creation of an environment in which the service can be used safely and with greater peace of mind by guests.
In recent years, the growing number of vacant homes in Japan caused by the declining population and stagnating housing market has become a major social issue. At the same time, Japan is facing an acute shortage of accommodation as tourist numbers grow in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Increasing the amount of accommodation available is a pressing issue that the government hopes to address in part through the new Private Lodgings Business Law. Under the law, individuals and businesses meeting certain requirements will be able to utilize their unoccupied homes or rooms to provide vacation rental services without needing a license under the Inns and Hotels Act.
By providing a vacation rental service through Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Rakuten and LIFULL aim to meet the broad demand for accommodation from both domestic and overseas tourists, and address the serious problem of vacant homes while supporting the development and expansion of the accommodation industry.
Overview of Rakuten LIFULL STAY
Company name: Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Inc.
Address: Otemachi Financial City Grand Cube 3F
1-9-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Representative Director Munekatsu Ota
Details of business: Providing services related to vacation rental platform
Date of establishment: March 2017
Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 20 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.
For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/