Short-term stays of less than three months, which are facilitated via home-sharing platforms, are currently prohibited.
Once boasting an inventory of hundreds of thousands of properties across the world, Roomorama.com has stopped operations – making it the second high-profile casualty within the industry here, reported TODAYonline.
“Increasing competition and regulatory headwinds have made it ever more challenging to operate in this industry,” the Singapore-headquartered home-sharing platform said on its website last week, while noting that all existing bookings will still be honoured.
Set up by Singaporean Teo Jia En and her Italian husband Federico Folcia in 2009, Roomorama’s woes follows a spectacular rise – the company merged with Europe-based Lofty.com in 2012, boosting its properties to over 300,000.
With PandaBed having shut down in 2015 and Roomorama’s recent announcement, only three major players are left in Singapore – MetroResidences, HomeAway and Airbnb.
According to Walter Theseira, an economist from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, companies in the sharing economy will have to contend with pressures from regulators and competitors.
In June, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) reduced the minimum stay requirement in private housing from six months to three months, with immediate effect. But while stay durations of less than three months – including short-term stays like those facilitated via home-sharing platforms – are still prohibited, the URA said that it is exploring possible guidelines for short-term rentals.
Meanwhile, competition “takes the form of trying to acquire as many users as possible, to be the last man standing. They have to spend as much as possible on two fronts — not just to grow, but also to build supply,” said Wong Poh Kam, a professor at the National University of Singapore Business School.
Wong noted that Roomorama had no first-mover advantage as it entered the market later, and may have lost out in terms of increasing market share.