Fabrizio Gulino and Aadil Mukhtar of

Cardiff start-up aims to become the world’s ‘largest virtual hotel’

Just how much money could you make by giving up your home when there is a big event in town, such as the 2017 Championship League final in Cardiff? That’s the question a new Welsh tech start-up is looking to help you answer.

Two Cardiff-based entrepreneurs have launched their own tech start-up after realising they could capitalise on the value of their city-centre flat, providing housing to continental football fans for over £1,000 a night.

Friends, Fabrizio Gulino (23) and Aadil Mukhtar (28), had a eureka moment when they realised that the supply and demand of hotel rooms during the final in June had gone bonkers – the final one of the largest ever sporting events to come to town, meant that their small home made a whopping £3,500 for a three-night let.

Following this, the duo decided to invest the money they made into the launch of – an online letting agency that actively seeks out “surges in demand for properties worldwide” and then proactively seeks to attract more properties onto the market, using enthusiastic marketing ranging from door to door knocking to Facebook advertising.

Aadil, a former product consultant at Google, uses his knowledge of dynamic pricing to place the properties in ‘blocks’, and in doing so, replicates a hotel’s ability to maximise returns as demand increases.

“Basically,” Aadil explains, “if the stock we have available is selling quickly our technology can calculate the data to work out the true value of the owners living space.

“Thus, optimising the benefit householders who have given us access to their homes; an individual can’t do this acting alone.

“This is why our proposition is unique – we achieve the critical mass of properties necessary for dynamic pricing.”

He adds: “While the property owners get to sit back and relax during the event, we handle everything, access to the residence, providing the upscale hotel-equivalent customer service, and insurance protection. It’s a win for us, and a win for the property owners.”

Fellow co-founder Fabrizio, a Sicilian native who speaks fluent Italian and possesses extensive experience in the hospitality industry, will focus on the customer experience aspect while Aadil, who earned an MBA at Cardiff University, will be the tech brain behind the venture.

The two are determined to secure 400 extra properties to alleviate the overwhelming demand for accommodation during one of Europe’s biggest football extravaganzas.

“I realised what we needed to do” recalls Fabrizio, “we had to create a hotel-like experience for both the property owners and the travellers.”

“For example,” he added, “we have a deal with a hotel linen provider so that the guest experience can be as close as possible to staying in an upscale hotel.

“To get more properties onto the market when a ‘Surge’ occurs we need to householders to give up their often family home, we make that easy and profitable.

“It’s a niche nobody else is focused on, encouraging families to sublet properties when prices are crazily high.”

When the final guests leave Cardiff on 4 June, the focus will immediately shift to whenever and wherever the next lucrative peak in hotel prices will occur worldwide.

Aadil, who was born in Kashmir, has decided to make the UK his home, believing it to be an ideal location to build a global technology company.

“He said: “ will be a truly global company ready at the drop of a hat to travel to wherever in the world a pilgrim or a desperate football fanatic requires a roof over their heads (be that shelter a stable or a mansion).”

Already, a Gulf-based financier has expressed interest in investing in the new venture and the pair are excited about the future. 

“Simply put,” declared Fabrizio, “the business is driven by simple arithmetic. The Principality stadium holds close to 75,000 spectators while we have little over 5,000 hotel rooms.”

The duo are now looking to speak with anyone who could make Cardiff Final 2017 a better experience for travelling sports fans, irrespective of the size of their property or terms of occupancy.

Fabrizio concluded: “Our goal is to be the world’s largest virtual hotel and it starts right here, in Cardiff.”