HOME COM­FORTS

Co-founder of Stay One De­gree Thomas Ben­nett rewrites the rules for lux­ury home rental by lever­ag­ing so­cial me­dia.

The Peak (Hong Kong) - - Travel • View - STORY JOANNA LAM What makes a ‘good’ va­ca­tion?

For many, the idea of a great va­ca­tion no longer con­jures im­ages of check­ing into glitzy ho­tels and get­ting off the path trodden by thou­sands of tourists world­wide. Thanks to the rise of ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel, glo­be­trot­ters now yearn for an au­then­tic travel ex­pe­ri­ence that stems from ex­plor­ing se­cluded spots and stay­ing at unique lo­cal prop­er­ties.

While mod­ern jet­set­ters thrive on on­line re­search, it is of­ten com­mon for them to ex­pe­ri­ence dis­ap­point­ments when the ac­com­mo­da­tion fails to de­liver what it promised. Thomas Ben­nett, Co-founder of Stay One De­gree, a lux­ury home rental so­cial net­work, cre­ated the com­pany with the hope to of­fer trav­ellers a re­fined lo­cal home­s­tay ex­pe­ri­ence with a peace of mind. Ben­nett shared his per­sonal travel tips, the most im­pres­sive prop­er­ties in the net­work and his favourite travel ex­pe­ri­ence. My idea of a good hol­i­day is be­ing able to spend qual­ity time with my fam­ily in a great lo­ca­tion, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new things and cre­at­ing fond mem­o­ries to­gether. If I can also fit in a few rounds on the golf course, this is a bonus! Hol­i­day time is so pre­cious, and that’s why it is im­por­tant to have a peace of mind when book­ing your hol­i­day.

It was this re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence that prompted us to cre­ate Stay One De­gree, an on­line plat­form for hol­i­day­mak­ers to rent homes to and from friends and mu­tual con­nec­tions within their “cir­cle of trust”.

One of the re­cent bad travel ex­pe­ri­ences was from our two-week hol­i­day in Bali early last year. Af­ter trawl­ing through hun­dreds of homes on­line, we booked a villa that dis­played beau­ti­ful im­ages. How­ever, that turned out to be a big dis­ap­point­ment – as we en­tered the prop­erty, we were ap­palled by the worn-out in­te­ri­ors, noisy sur­round­ings and ab­sent air con­di­tion­ing. De­spite com­plaints, we were un­able to change to an­other villa, and that ruined our hol­i­day. We vowed to never to book on­line again with­out a per­sonal con­nec­tion with the owner.

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