There have been many new online travel website initiatives launched over the last 2 years. Meta-search and social travel platforms are changing the hotel distribution landscape forever.
Especially websites like AirBnB have shaken up the travel market. However there are a few which might be taking the peer 2 peer travel concept a bit over the top ...
Who is Sleeping in your Hotel Rooms?
The latest travel platform that has come across our desks is Easynest. The idea is that once you have booked your hotel room, you add it to your profile on this website. Other travelers can request to share the room with you, splitting the cost.
From a consumers perspective I am not sure how many people would be willing to share their room with a random stranger. Imagine worse, what if the 2 double beds were on request, and upon arrival the hotel has none available. You would end up snuggling up with a snoring companion you have only just met in the lobby.
I presume the niche market they are targeting is very small or specific. Yes maybe youngsters would be willing to do this while backpacking around the globe. But still you would first want the see your roomie in person.
Even though I admire the originality of the Easynest model, I am not really convinced it has a real future cut out for itself. It definitely is not meant for the mainstream market, instead they will have to find their niche rapidly and position themselves clearly to them.
But it also brings other potential problems along. Surely the majority of their users will be normal people with the best of intentions, sharing the burden of a hotel room price. But what about the possibility of people abusing Easynest with less noble intentions? What if something happened to a guest sharing a room with a ‘perfect' stranger? What if the hotel room is damaged or something is stolen, and the roomie was not registered, who is liable? The Hotel?
It only takes a few accidents for the creepiness of this whole idea to spread over the internet, and create a huge backlash. Funny enough, on their website Easynest actually mentions it isn't ‘creepy' at all. Hmmm ....
Of course it will be hard to police such new peer 2 peer travel initiatives, but you should be aware and prepared. So how should hotels brace themselves for the potential legal problems regarding security and liability surrounding Easynest style situations.
Hotels should ensure their terms and conditions cover these kind of situation. In the bookings conditions of your website and as well on the check-in form it should state clearly reservations are non-transferable, and neither is the responsibility. Moreover all guests must be registered at check-in providing official identification.
Actually your hotel should already be prepared for this. As we all know, a good amount of solo travelers seek companionship (casual or professional) while traveling. And not all of them have the best intentions either. The hotel must therefore also clearly outline it is not responsible or liable for any ‘strangers' a guest lets into their room.
Generous and Attractive Travelers
This brings me to another interesting travel website that has been in existence for quite a while now, MissTravel. Online dating meets online travel ....
As it says on their home page: ‘Date Abroad' , ‘Attractive Girls Travel Free' and ‘Generous: Find a Travel Companion'. The options it offers are;
Come to Me
Show Me Your town
Travel With Me
Need I say more? Yes, your thoughts are as mine. Looks like sugar daddy travel dating with gold diggers, and perhaps with a great potential for prostitution.
Mind you commercially I think this might actually work though. There are enough burning the midnight oil career guys or just well off types, with plenty of budget who would go for this. Not having enough time (or skills) to get a ‘regular' companion to travel with. The maybe consider to partner with ASW (‘a small world').
As you can see, there is no shortage of creativity when it comes to p2p travel marketing websites. The question is, will they find their niche clientele…