Supercharged House Swapping with Hostshare

podcast_Sean Wilkinson

By The Hospitable Team

Are you trying to figure out how to fill gaps in your booking calendar and prevent your STR property from sitting empty midweek and during a slow season? Why not turn those vacant nights into vacation nights and travel to locations you have never been to yet?

In the latest episode of the Hospitable Hosts podcast, our special guest was Sean Wilkinson, one of the co-founders of Hostshare. This innovative travel platform allows short-term rental hosts to share last-minute, unbooked nights with each other. Sean shared his story about creating the company, its mission, and how hosts can leverage last-minute vacancies across the platform to travel at virtually no cost.

Press play now to discover how to turn unbooked, last-minute nights into opportunities for free travel.

If you prefer to read the highlights, we’ve got a summary of the key takeaways below.

Hostshare: A New Way to Travel for Hosts

Sean starts by explaining Hostshare and points out that the platform is “exclusively for short-term rental owners and hosts. It allows them to travel for free for three weeks per year utilizing last-minute vacancies across everybody’s properties.”

Sean had “a kind of an entrepreneurial gene from early on,” so he got into real estate when he was only 17 and built a portfolio of short-term rental properties. He had owned and managed STR for eight years, but when he realized that hosts always have to deal with a vacancy factor, he and his brother came up with the idea of Hostshare.

“I think there’s about a 60% vacancy factor globally, right? Depending on whether there are 7 million or 10 million short-term rentals, 4 to 6 million sit empty every night. And that was when we were like, okay, there’s a problem to be solved,” Sean explains.

That inspired the idea of creating a short-term rental platform where hosts could trade their last-minute vacant nights with other hosts and turn them into vacation stays to maximize the value they receive from their STRs.

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What Sets Hostshare Apart from Other “Home-Swap” Platforms?

Sean emphasizes that there are some key differences from traditional house-swap platforms out there compared to what Hostshare is:

  • Everybody who’s on the platform owns and hosts a short-term rental
  • The platform only supports last-minute travel, so hosts aren’t giving up revenue in future months or weeks
  • People who sign up can travel up to 21 nights, even if their properties are fully booked, without having to give anything because there’s no obligation to share.

But the main thing is that you can join a supportive host community.That’s the culture we’re trying to instill in our people, which is that these are all hosts doing the same thing, and you’re getting this perk because of all these other hosts. And so we even have a share pledge when you sign up where you’re saying, ‘I’m going to treat every home like it’s my own,’ just kind of like a code of conduct,” Sean clarifies.

How Do You Get Started?

Hostshare is live only within the United States, but they have waiting lists in over 40 countries. “Because this is last minute; you’re going within five nights, and you’re not going to fly across the ocean to most of these places at the last minute. So we want to roll out country by country and create the waiting list until it’s to a point where you can launch in those countries,” Sean further explains.

Hosts who want to sign up need to submit their listing, go through an ID verification, and sync their calendars. Once your listing is approved, it will be available for other users for last-minute bookings, and you’ll be able to stay at other properties within the network for free, paying only for cleaning costs.

The conversation also covers the challenges of property sharing, the company’s vision for the future, and the importance of creating a caring community of people.

Listen to the full episode of the Hospitable Hosts podcast to find out how hosts can travel for free and save hundreds of dollars on each stay.

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