Financial Mail

Paris HomeExchan­’s top travel destinatio­n


with one another free of charge. But you can’t rent a room from someone or to someone unless you create a personal profile of yourself. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a recent article in The New York Times that the San Francisco-based company’s real innovation was creating a platform of trust where everyone can not only see everyone else’s identity but also rate them as good, bad or indifferen­t hosts or guests.

“This means everyone using the system would quickly develop a relevant reputation visible to everyone else in the system.”

While HomeExchan­ is based on a somewhat different business model to Airbnb, it also uses a mobile platform to connect travellers across the globe. HomeExchan­ge was founded in Hermosa Beach, California by Ed Kushins in 1992 and claims to be the largest online home exchange travel community in the world. In 2014, 60 000 members made around 130 000 home swaps across more than 150 countries.

The website’s SA membership stands at 220. HomeExchan­ge global PR manager Alexandra Origet du Cluzeau says though the SA exchange community is still relatively small, SA (along with other emerging destinatio­ns such as Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, and Argentina) is becoming increasing­ly popular among HomeExchan­ge members. She says SA listings are in particular­ly high demand because of the general quality of the homes.

“We think that the SA HomeExchan­ge community still comprises early adopters, with potential for strong growth given how popular SA is becoming as a global travel destinatio­n.’’

HomeExchan­ge’s selling point is that house swapping not only gives one a more memorable, authentic “live like a local” experience than that typically offered by traditiona­l hotels but it is also far more affordable.

A flat one-off yearly membership fee of $120 provides access to an unlimited number of exchanges, allowing you to open your own home to fellow members. The website also hosts a collection of high-end luxury abodes available for a yearly membership fee of $500. Members contact one another directly via e-mail to explore options for a potential exchange.

The site allows members to Yurts in the Kirghiz Republic Live like a local

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