Sonder interior. Company says guests want digital check-in, keyless entry, professional cleaning, and no contact.

Leading short term rental company Sonder has just raised US$170m and says average occupancy has bounced back to 75% across its portfolio of 12,000 rooms in six countries after falling to 40% at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The occupancy increase comes even though the number of cases in the company’s home market of the United States continue rising.

“While we expect the recovery from the pandemic to be long and difficult, with this latest round of funding, Sonder is well-positioned to help lead a re-invention of the travel industry in the months and years ahead,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“This is validation of the progress we’ve made on the strategies we outlined at the outset of the pandemic.”

These include pivoting to marketing longer stays for guests, a move the company says put a floor under its occupancy at 40%, higher than the industry average.

“As early pioneers in the ‘contactless’ guest experience, we’ve been providing the kind of stays that most guests are now seeking, long before COVID-19.

“Our self-contained spaces and self-service solutions — including digital check-in, keyless entry, professional cleaning, and no lines or crowded lobbies — are the foundation of what guests now demand from a hospitality company.

“It’s why our global occupancy rate is now consistently at 75%.”

In financial news Sonder says it recently closed on a Series E round of $170 million, led by Fidelity, WestCap, and Inovia Capital, valuing the company at US$1.3 billion.

“In the coming weeks, we expect to raise additional capital from new and returning investors that will bring our Series E total to around $200 million.”

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