One Perfect Stay is a leading luxury holiday home and short-term rental management company based in Dubai. Entrepreneur Mahwussh Alam founded the company in 2016 to provide an elevated experience for guests and generate unbeatable returns for landlords.
Mahwussh bootstrapped the company with no outside investment, managing only a few homes through third-party booking platforms. After shadowing a seasoned tech investor and business advisor, she raised seed funding growing her portfolio to 50 properties within two years. She also developed One Perfect Stay’s own online booking platform.
Initially, Mahwussh handled all aspects of the curation, home management, and guest relations personally in order to analyse and adapt the business model. Since then, the company has reached 150 homes and grown its team to 30 people. One of Mahwussh’s proudest achievements is striking the right balance between value and scale, staying true to the brand’s quality commitment when it comes to service, delivery, style, location, and interiors.
Mahwussh has many years’ experience in the technology sector working in enterprise sales and business development for leading tech firms, including IBM, as well as several successful tech start-ups. She is an art enthusiast with a keen eye for architecture and interior design, as well as an animal lover.
With a focus on Palm Jumeirah villas, its portfolio of 150 carefully curated properties caters to holidaymakers, remote workers, and residents, covering other popular areas, including Dubai Marina, JBR, Downtown Dubai, City Walk, Bluewaters, and District One. The latest digital hospitality tools are used to create a seamless short-term rental experience for guests and a financially rewarding proposition for investors without losing the personal touch.
Landlords trust One Perfect Stay to maintain their property with the highest level of care, creating maximum exposure via leading online platforms, luxury travel agents, VIP concierge companies, and personalised marketing tactics. One Perfect Stay understands the challenges institutional investors face in achieving occupancy and revenue goals in a rapidly evolving market and can advise owners how to maximise their investment. Its services also include property management to develop a destination’s lifestyle offering from start to finish.
In an exclusive email interaction with Startup Terminal, Mahwussh Alam shares more insights about her entrepreneurial journey and futures plans.
ST: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur 5 years ago?
Mahwussh Alam: After working a long 6-year stint with a technology giant as a corporate executive, it dawned upon me to pursue my own start-up to channel the energy that was making me run like a livewire 24/7 and keeping me awake at night. I knew that the ideas I had needed to see the light of the day. I am wired to get things done, so it felt like a waste to let those ideas stay in my head and that inspired me to take the leap. I strongly believe that our creativity and originality need to be brought to life in the real world in order to serve people and do them justice. Otherwise, it’s just a thought and unmindful thoughts can create all kinds of distortions.
ST: Please briefly introduce your venture to our readers and how the concept developed from inception.
Mahwussh Alam: Currently I am heading The One Group with two ventures under its belt. The first being One Perfect Stay, Dubai’s leading holiday home company managing 150 to 200 short-term rental units. I started off 5 years ago with one unit where I had the job to complete the interiors as a freelance designer. And now, One Perfect Stay is a premier Dubai holiday homes company. The second is One Perfect Space, which is an interior and exterior renovation and remodelling solution. Dubai is undergoing a massive transformation especially with the first-generation asset class and One Perfect Space helps clients remodel their homes to reflect the contemporary style with eclectic interiors and modern landscaping.
ST: How has been your entrepreneurial journey so far? What size team did you start with and how big is your team at present?
Mahwussh Alam: This has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I thank God for giving me the courage to take that leap of faith and switch from a safe corporate job to the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship. Today, the kind of frenzy we see around start-ups securing massive funding in record time is different – that was unheard of then. When I started off it was a naive call to leave a steady, high-flying fortune 500 job and start something on my own. I was the one-man army doing everything by myself.
5 years and two companies later, I am managing two teams of 30 people working alongside me. Team building is something I’m incredibly passionate about and my biggest calling is to make people realise their potential and create leaders. I am the happiest passing on the baton to the next in line and helping them identify where they belong. One of the best pieces of advice is to find a great mentor who is decades ahead of you in the game and learn the art from the best. Then, when it becomes your talent, you must never forget to share it with those who have the same passion and drive you once had.
ST: Do you see any impact on your business due to Covid-19? What has been the impact on your industry?
Mahwussh Alam: March 2020 was any company’s worst nightmare, especially those in hospitality. The same happened with us and so we all sat together as a team to make timely decisions to cut costs and adjust our offering to target local residents. That changed our trajectory and one year later we have seen our biggest growth milestone, with a 200% growth in inventory due to the actions that were taken before the storm could hit us.
ST: How did you scale your business up and what are your near future plans?
Mahwussh Alam: The things that worked for me were to be consistent and keep a close eye on the market, face the music when it’s time to act, and keep recalibrating. Your customers are crucial but your team is what takes you places. Invest in the right people, there will always be mistakes but the right people will stick by you through thick and thin. Our future plan is more growth in terms of regional and global expansion. One Perfect Stay has mastered one of the biggest regions in hospitality, and we’re looking forward to expanding to new geographies in Southeast Asia and Europe.
We also have another company in the inception phase that will be launched soon. This is based on recycling pre-loved furniture pieces and making them find great homes which is a blessing for the environment and the users alike. The world is transforming and we must pivot along with the new realities of life.