About Us

Happy Birthday UnderTheDoormat: The Big 6!

We can’t quite believe it but this week marks six years since UnderTheDoormat started: and what an amazing time it’s been! From hosting Wimbledon tennis players to piloting a world-leading accreditation scheme, there have been many proud moments. So, to mark our sixth birthday, here are six highlights from our journey.


1. A Commitment to Excellence Since 2014

UnderTheDoormat’s journey began in 2014. Following a successful 13-year career at Shell, our founder Merilee Karr started the company after a terrible experience renting a home in Switzerland. When Merilee arrived, she found that the home was not only dirty, but also had an unexpected resident: a cat! Surely there had to be a better way – a way to provide the standards and service of a hotel plus the comforts of a home?

And thus UnderTheDoormat was born. Our homeowners are able to earn effortless income, confident in the knowledge that their properties are in safe hands, and our guests can expect a warm welcome and outstanding accommodation (with professional cleaning, fresh towels and linens, and more provided as standard). Our 10-point Hygiene Promise means that guests can feel even more secure at this uncertain time.

We’ve been striving to provide the highest-quality service ever since we welcomed our first guests in July 2014. Our branding might have changed over the past five years, but we’re still committed to excellence above all. Check out our original logo (above!) which is from our first commercial website, which launched in January 2015!


2. Merilee Karr Elected Chair of STAA

As the short-term rental sector began to boom in the UK – with UnderTheDoormat leading the way – talk turned to the maintenance of standards, and a new industry body (the Short-Term Accommodation Association) was formed in 2017. UnderTheDoormat’s founder, Merilee Karr, was elected as chair: a truly proud moment for us all!

Speaking to The Guardian at the time, Merilee commented on what was a huge step forward for the industry, stating STAA’s intentions to ‘set our industry code of conduct to raise the bar for our members and new market entrants to ensure the standards that we have all worked so hard to make are the industry norm’.


3. Awards and Recognition

Following Merilee’s appointment, the Short-Term Accommodation Association forged ahead and created the STAA accreditation scheme – the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

UnderTheDoormat were proud to pilot the scheme in summer 2018 and pass with flying colours. The first company in the industry to be awarded the accreditation, we were particularly commended for our hospitality and comprehensive insurance policy.

But that wasn’t the only landmark award of 2018: UnderTheDoormat also triumphed at the Wandsworth Business Awards, where we reached the finals for Best SME Business and Merilee won the Entrepreneur of the Year category. Since 2018 we’ve been fortunate enough to win several other accolades, but that particular award – our first big win – will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Finally, to round off a bumper year of achievement, our COO Richard Bridger was interviewed on BBC Breakfast to share insights regarding the home-sharing economy. It was a fantastic experience and great for STAA and UnderTheDoormat to be given a voice on such a prominent programme.


4. Important Partnerships

As UnderTheDoormat continued to thrive and grow, we began to be seen as an important prospective partner for several prestigious organisations. In January 2018, we became one of the first companies in the world in our sector to be listed on Expedia. And in September 2019, our position as a trusted home management company was cemented when we secured an agreement to work with Marriott Homes and Villas, as they embarked on a journey to provide premium and luxury short-term home rentals to guests across the globe.

Going through the due diligence process was no small feat; but we were thrilled to pass the test and provide existing and potential guests with the confidence that UnderTheDoormat’s service meets Marriott’s exceptional standards.

New Website

5. New Website and Rebrand

In May 2019, after months of hard work for our team, we were delighted to unveil our rebrand. We launched our new website at the same time, which is continually evolving as we expand our operations and refine our offering for homeowners and guests.

NHS Homes

6. NHS Homes

2020 has been a difficult year for many of us as societies across the world struggle to deal with the coronavirus crisis; and when at UnderTheDoormat we were faced with the prospect of closing our own doors – despite knowing that there were people who would need accommodation during this challenging time – we knew we had to try to do something to help.

The NHS Homes initiative was launched to help NHS workers who were struggling to find accommodation whilst doing valuable work at hospitals and other healthcare institutions. As Merilee Karr explained, ‘Our mission [was] to utilise empty homes across London and, whilst many of our paying guests [were] unable to book with us because of the travel restrictions, we [wanted] to make sure that these empty homes [could be] put to good use.’ What better way to do that than to invite NHS key workers who were supporting our country to use those homes, free of charge?

Within three weeks of launching, NHS Homes became a national initiative, involving 2,500 available homes throughout the UK and gaining interest across national and regional press.


What’s Next?

Despite the excitement of the last six years, we’re not resting on our laurels: the UnderTheDoormat team have lots of exciting plans afoot! We were thrilled to be able to launch one of those plans recently with the unveiling of Hospiria, our new global-first service and technology product.

A new-to-market technology and service package, Hospiria has been designed specifically for property owners, portfolio managers and independent holiday lets owners, and provides access to a number of key benefits that will make a real difference. The dedicated expertise independent operators will receive from Hospiria will help them recover from this unprecedented situation in the short-term and, in the long-run, ensure that they’re well placed to compete in the global environment.

Interested in becoming a Hospiria partner? In order to take advantage of this new, world-class service, property managers and owners will need to manage/own between 5 – 100 properties in the UK or Europe, and have 4 or 5-star equivalent standards for their homes. If you’d like to know more, simply visit our website or contact hello@hospiria.com to speak with our team.

Celebrate our 6th birthday with us by enjoying £60 off a future booking! Simply use the code 6THBIRTHDAY when planning your stay. Bookings must be equal or more to £600 in value and should be made by 31st July 2020 to qualify.