Celebrating 7 Years of YourHost: Lessons from our Founder

Eleni YH Founder

In 2017, when I founded YourHost, my vision was to revolutionise the vacation rental industry in Kenya by providing international travellers with an exceptional alternative to traditional hotels. Upon relocating to Nairobi with my family, I quickly realised that many visitors to Africa were hesitant to book vacation rentals due to the scarcity of high-quality, well-designed, and well-maintained accommodations in prime locations. As a frequent traveler, I often chose hotels over vacation rentals, despite the strain on my family’s budget.

At the same time, while Nairobi’s real estate development was booming, many units remained unoccupied, signalling operational challenges in managing day-to-day business. This gap between travellers seeking the perfect stay and property investors needing to maximise their ROI on short-term rental platforms inspired me to start YourHost.

Over the years, YourHost has flourished, thanks to the resilience and dedication of our team. We’ve navigated the economic upheavals of COVID-19, swiftly adapted to evolving market trends, and consistently delivered outstanding service with a smile. Today, YourHost is a trusted name in the industry, with a portfolio of properties spanning across Kenya.

I often compare the entrepreneurial journey to a 24/7 rollercoaster or, as Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, aptly describes it, “jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.” This analogy resonates deeply with me as navigating the ever-changing landscape of the hospitality industry in a new country feels exactly like that.

Looking back, here are the key lessons I would share with my younger self:

  1. Build a Strong Team: Surround yourself with people who share your values and passion for growth, both within and outside your business.
  2. Embrace Change and Learn from Failures: The hospitality industry is dynamic, and adapting to change is crucial for success.
  3. Seek Support and Guidance: Lean on mentors, advisors, and support systems. You don’t have to do this alone!

Today, I am immensely grateful for the resources and support available through various channels, including the Stanford Seed Transformational Program, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) forum, and my incredible coach and advisor. I am excited to see what the future holds for YourHost, our team, and myself as we continue to redefine the vacation rental industry in Kenya and beyond. Happy 7th Birthday, YourHost!

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