Accommodations around the world for free? The idea is admittedly utopian, but it’s also a reality thanks to the fast-growing website Trustedhousesitters.com, which features housesitting opportunities in 60 countries and counting. That’s right, houses—many of them dreamy amenity-filled homes—where you can stay free of charge.
Travel + Leisure has long celebrated hotels as the go-to choice for travel accommodations, and in recent years we've covered the explosion of the vacation rental market, from villas to Airbandb.com. Time shares were not often part of the conversation. Their merits as a good investment were questionable—limitations on use and impossible to resell. Enter Vacatia.com. With a special focus on the family market, this online marketplace for timeshares is changing things for the better. We caught up with Keith Cox, Vacatia.com's CEO:
Q: How is Vacatia.com disrupting travel?
A: Vacatia is creating a new online sales and marketing channel for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry, a $10B a year market segment of travel that is still selling almost exclusively offline using the same sales strategies that have been used for decades. In particular, with the recent launch of Vacatia.com, we are bringing transparency and liquidity to the secondary, resale market serving the 8.2MM American families who own timeshare.
Ultimate travel industry disrupter Airbnb is at it again—this time testing out a pilot program in San Francisco whereby hosts also make meals for their guests. According to a recent article in Reuters, one of the trial dinners was $25 per person for three courses; Airbnb would take a portion of the earnings. The company isn’t offering any details, stating only, “We are always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb.”
The vacation rental industry has officially made it. Booking.com just launched Villas.com, a smart and streamlined site dedicated solely to vacation rentals, with more than 150,000 listings. Meanwhile, Tripping—the self proclaimed “world’s largest search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals” and the brainchild of Expedia, Travelzoo, and StubHub veterans—just got a new round of funding, rumored to be between $5 and $10 million.
Airbnb announced this week that it reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, after the state office issued a second subpoena demanding data on thousands of Airbnb hosts.
In this latest update to the long saga of New York State vs. Airbnb, the short-term apartment rental website will hand over anonymized data of its hosts, giving the Attorney General's Office one year to review the information.
The latest player in the peer-to-peer vacation rental game? The France-based Cosmopolit Home, which is trying to revolutionize a concept they call “nightswapping.” The idea is the brainchild of Serge Duriavig, who, after experiencing some downfalls of home swapping—agreeing on dates, finding accommodations up to his standards—created a new avenue to book free overnight stays.
Here’s how it works
Vacation rentals can let you live like a local (if only temporarily). From agencies doubling as on-the-ground concierages to tips for first time swappers, we'll be discussing the dos and don'ts of vacation rentals with experts this Tuesday, February 11th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Ask them for their insider advice!
Brooke Porter Katz, T+L Associate Editor, @TLTripDoctor
Big news in the world of destination clubs: former competitors Inspirato and Portico have recently become one, operating under the name Inspirato with American Express. The combined club—perhaps best described as Inspirato’s absorption of Portico—will give all members access to 500-plus luxury properties in more than 100 destinations, 34 of which will be new to Inspirato’s portfolio (including Bora Bora, London, Jackson Hole, and Kauai).
Beginning today until January 17, first-time Airbnb users will receive up to $300 off one night’s stay at any location across the globe. If you’re like me and have all of your 2014 travel resolutions planned out, the discount deal is the perfect excuse to start booking. You’ll have to travel by March 31 (a date far enough away to plan, close enough to spark excitement) for at least two days, which seems easy enough to swing since the rental site lists about 500,000 properties worldwide.
All eyes are on Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. It should be no surprise then that Rio de Janeiro tops the list for the number one vacation rental destination for next year, as determined by FlipKey®, a leading vacation rental website.
While some travelers are hoping to go across the world to Bali, one of the leading vacation rental destinations, many are instead planning to relax stateside—and in Florida, in particular. The Sunshine State dominated the top 10 list, with Miami Beach taking the number two spot.
Overall, whether travelers are crossing time-zones or staying local for vacation rentals, they’re all asking the same question—which way to the beach?
For more information on the top 10 trending vacation rental destinations, visit FlipKey®.
Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: FlipKey.com