Startup Profile: The Plum Guide


  • The Plum Guide is a luxury holiday home rental company based in London.
  • Arif Meherali, Doron Meyassed, Imran Arshed and Alex Lee founded The Plum Guide in 2015.
  • The startup has raised a total of £22 million in funding from Talis Capital, Latitude and Octopus Ventures.

About The Plum Guide


The Plum Guide aims to be a ‘Michelin Guide for Homes’. Arif Meherali, Doron Meyassed, Imran Arshed and Alex Lee founded the company in 2015. The entrepreneurs had the idea after staying in a suprisingly luxurious rental apartment while on a trip to Tel Aviv for a friend’s wedding. They were inspired to create a marketplace that included only luxury and vetted homes and also made the process of finding and booking them stress-free. 


Founders Arif Meherali, Doron Meyassed, Imran Arshed and Alex Lee.


Through both expert human curation and innovative tech, The Plum Guide has built a marketplace of the world’s best holiday rental homes. They even worked with a team of psychologists to find out more about what makes a stay enjoyable. Every property is scrutinised with a scientific and systematic approach and only accepts the top 1% in any given city to their collection. The Plum guide currently operates in 14 cities including London, Paris, New York, Rome and Tel Aviv. They are headquartered in Shoreditch, London and have a newly-opened office in Paris. 


How Does It Work?


The Plum Guide curates a collection of the very best holiday rental homes from private short-term lets, Airbnb and other sources. They check the homes in person and if they meet their standards, add them to their marketplace. This means that all of the best homes are in one place for people to book. Just one in every one hundred properties passes ‘The Plum Test’. Each home is reviewed by a critic who evaluates the property against 150 criterium including wifi, water pressure and proximity to transport. The homes must also have a minimum of 15 user reviews and a user feedback rating of over 4.8/5. They also evaluate the host’s hospitality capabilities and their ability to make great local recommendations for things to do and places to see. 


Plum Guide
A home for rent in London by The Plum Guide.


The vetting process makes The Plum Guide unique in its market; with its competitors, you have no choice but to trust previous customers reviews. This allows the startup to access the high end of the travel market, and appeal to guests who would typically stay in luxury hotels. Co-founder, Meyassed states “We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations. Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.” Notably, its competitors have also begun to make a move towards the luxury end of the market, with a similar premise, such as the launch of Airbnb Luxe last year. 


Plum guide
“Cloud Divine” in New York City is part of The Plum Guide portfolio.


To book a holiday home with The Plum Guide, users can search the online marketplace and talk to a city expert provided by the platform to help you through the process. The experts speak over 15 languages between them to accommodate for travellers from all over the world. Guests can choose to stay from one to one hundred nights, and VIP services can also be requested. 


The Plum Guide’s Success


The Plum Guide has seen incredible success. It achieved year-on-year growth of three times revenues, for three consecutive years. In 2018, it added homes in five new cities to the platform and has since expanded to 14 of the most important cities in Europe and the United States. The company believes the key to its success has been customer referrals, which are said to drive a quarter of all bookings. In March 2019, The Plum Guide raised £14 million in a Series B funding in a round led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude, Hearst Ventures, and Octopus Ventures. The Plum Guide is popular with its users who rated it 9.5/10 on Trustpilot and 4.9/5 on Google.