Wednesday, September 3, 2008

(Air) bed sharing for a fee


Roomorama aims to provide a quick and easy way to arrange short-term stays by matching hosts who have space to share with travellers planning a visit to their city. Potential hosts begin by listing the details of the room they have, including when it's available and the per-night price they'd like to be paid. Listing is free, and Roomorama's search filters and "shoutout" system ensure that hosts see only relevant results. Guests, meanwhile, can either search through the listed accommodations or create a shoutout ad specifying what they're hoping to find. Once they find something they like, they pay Roomorama via Paypal for their stay, along with an 8 percent transaction fee. In exchange, they get a payment code to be used upon checkin. Only when they've checked in and approved the accommodations does the guest give that payment code to the host, thereby releasing the transfer of the funds to the host via check or Paypal. User profiles, feedback history and post-stay reviews on the site create a transparent environment for both hosts and guests.

Indeed, it's beginning to look like transparency, financial motivation and Paypal-level security might be just what was needed to make bed-sharing a mainstream alternative to expensive hotels. One to partner with in high-rent cities around the world....? (Related: Soccer fans to share beds at Euro 2008.)

Air bed and breakfast
Wow - on the dates that Gareth and I are both away we could post our room! Not sure my mother would go for it but extra cash here we come!

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