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
You host a member at your house or apartment (whether a room or the entire property), and for each night you host, you earn a free night’s stay at another member’s home. The only cost involved is a $15 fee once a booking is confirmed. You also gain a free night just by listing your house on the site (two nights, until March 31). The fact that no money is exchanged was a deliberate decision, one that the company made as a way of avoiding the kind of legal issues plaguing Airbnb and other sites—and one that also makes it easier for renters to participate.
Hesitant to host? The company—which currently lists 6,000 properties in 54 countries—recently started letting travelers purchase stays; prices range from $6 to $36 per night, depending on the level of accommodation. They’re ranked on a scale of one to seven, which is calculated based on criteria such as size, number of bedrooms, and location.
Cosmopolit Home vets members through a strict double I.D. certification process; local city ambassadors are also on hand in 20 major destinations to check out properties in person and answer any questions. There’s also 24/7 customer support should any issues arise.
—Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.