No other animal had such a tremendous impact on the history of humankind as the horse. Horses fed us, plowed our lands, accompanied us to battlefields, and most importantly served as a means of transportation.
Less than a hundred years ago, no hotel or inn was imaginable without stables. But with new technologies, horses disappeared from the streets and trading routes. Guest houses and stables naturally transformed into parking lots. Yes, some hotels do mention “pets are welcome” in their ads and on their sites, but they don’t mean horses, or even ponies, right?
So, what if you need to travel for a competition, or wish to attend a clinic abroad, or just don’t want to part with your horse when going on well-deserved vacation? There were not many options until Staybler – an online platform offering stables, yards, and paddocks in Europe – appeared on the market.
Some say that all new ideas are well-forgotten old ones. I spoke to Jean-Baptiste Luce, co-founder and sales manager of Staybler.com, to learn more about their project.
YF: Could you please tell us more about yourself and the other two co-founders of Staybler? Where are you from, what is your profession, how did you get involved with horses?
JB: The three of us are from the South of France, with different backgrounds. Clemence is originally from Montpellier – she studied marketing and communication. She has ridden since the age of three in the jumping discipline! Guillaume and I are originally from Antibes. Guillaume studied law, and I studied aquaculture. We do not ride horses, but we really enjoy all disciplines and the equestrian industry. We have gone to a lot of show jumping competitions over the years, such as St. Tropez, Monaco, Geneva, and Cannes, to watch the best riders.
YF: How did you come up with the idea of an Airbnb service for horses?
JB: Clémence has always wanted to work in the equestrian industry. She did a previous internship with Devoucoux, and afterward, she was always talking to me about finding a job with horses.
Guillaume and I have always wanted to create a startup in the web industry, so we started to think about a new online service!
One day, three of us were talking about a new startup in the equine industry. We started to think about what is actually missing in the horse world. Clémence mentioned that her cousins always had difficulties when looking for overnight or short-term stabling when they were traveling with their horses. That was it! We decided to create a marketplace like Booking.com and Airbnb adapted to the equestrian world.
YF: How do you share the work? Who is responsible for which parts of the project?
JB: Clémence is responsible for all the marketing and communication (social networks, ambassadors, booth displays, communication tools, etc.). Guillaume is in charge of all the finance and legal support.
And I look after sales and partnerships.
YF: Who are your customers? What would they miss if there were no Staybler?
JB: We have two distinct kinds of customers. We have riders (professional and not), grooms, and horse owners looking for short-term stables, and we have owners of stables, equestrian centers, and yards, who register their stables online to host horses and riders. The second group of customers has to hold horse insurance to be registered on the site.
Without Staybler, horse riders would still lose a lot of time searching for the perfect stable for their horses! Before, they had to spend hours on Google to look for a stable in a specific city! The difficulty is that some stables don’t have a functional website, but only ads with poor descriptions and no pictures. Staybler offers stable owners an opportunity to have their own well-structured pages with photos, detailed descriptions, and comments. Our website increases their visibility and helps them to build a positive reputation, and offers an international openness. It’s a great management tool for booking, and it allows them to profit/benefit from their available space. And it facilitates the search that every rider undergoes when traveling for horse shows, holidays, or any other reason.
YF: What is the most common question or request you get from your customers?
JB: Requests and questions vary a lot. Stable owners are never sure what price to set for their stables, yards, or paddocks. And riders want to ensure that newly-listed stables without comments are comfortable and safe enough for their horses.
YF: From your Instagram account, I’ve learned that you have quite a number of brand ambassadors. How do you select them? What does it take to be a Staybler ambassador?
JB: We select our ambassadors based on their motivation to be part of the team. If they are ready to support a young start-up and fun enough to participate in some challenges, then they are in! We also select them according to their equestrian disciplines. We want to represent every equestrian discipline. Being a Staybler ambassador means being part of a young and dynamic community.
YF: You are in your first operational quarter. How does it feel so far? What drives and motivates you?
JB: It feels great because we have more and more challenges and new goals every day. We launched the platform in January, and since then we have hundreds of stables and horse riders registered. In the second week after opening, we celebrated our first booking, and it keeps going on with the horse show season starting as well as holidays coming soon. It is growing fast, but we want to make sure we are offering quality services. Our team is also growing little by little, and we are already working on new services (but we prefer to keep them secret for now).
YF: Booking.com and Airbnb have quite complicated rating systems. Do you have anything similar? Can customers share their thoughts about locations? Or can property owners rate their guests?
JB: Our grading system is similar to the Booking.com and Airbnb ones. Customers have to leave comments and rate each other.
YF: It’s mentioned on your site that property owners verify horse owners’ profiles before accepting requests. How is this done and how long does it take?
JB: Once a request is received by the stable, the owner can check the profile of the requestor. They can see all the information provided by the rider: photos, disciplines, horse information, ID, phone number, and previous comments, if any. It does not take more than a minute to check – it’s really quick! If the stable owner is satisfied with a rider’s profile, then they can accept the request!
YF: You have 24-hour support on your site. I wonder, what was the most interesting, memorable, weird, or funny request you ever received?
JB: Luckily, for now, we have not yet had any weird requests. People are more curious about the service itself, such as how it works, what the benefits are, whether it is free, etc.
YF: You participated in the Salon du Cheval and Equita Lyon last year. Where can we meet the Staybler team next?
JB: For sure, we will go back to the next Equita Lyon. We don’t know yet for the future booth, but we are always at big horse shows! We can meet all people curious about the service there. We were at the CHI of Geneva, the Saut Hermès in Paris. We will be at the GPA Jump Festival in Cagnes-sur-Mer and many others.
YF: Give us some statistics. What are the cheapest and the most expensive properties one can find on Staybler?
JB: The cheapest is €10, the most expensive – €65 (€70 including rider’s accommodation), and the mean is about €25–30.
YF: What is your most popular destination so far?
JB: The South of France for the beautiful weather and great shows, I guess!
YF: Right now, Staybler services are provided in Europe only. Do you have plans for expansion?
JB: Sure, we want to expand and grow internationally, but it takes time.
YF: I wish you the very best in your journey.
And to our readers – ride on to your dreams!
Staybler site: https://www.staybler.com/
Staybler Instagram account: @stayblerbnb