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Home Sharing is on the Rise. Here’s Why.

July 30, 2019 • By Margeaux Gerwin


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Home sharing is disrupting the hotel industry.

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What is Home Sharing?

Home Sharing, in the context of the travel industry, is a marketplace in which private homeowners can rent or exchange time in their homes to travelers. Companies like Airbnb popularized the Home Sharing model for short-term rentals, but Home Sharing can also be used in Home Exchange models as well.

Rather than renting out time at a home for a rental fee, some owners deposit time in their homes to earn travel to other homes within a marketplace or network of other homeowners.

The concept of home sharing is becoming more popular and intriguing every day. Although many home sharing sites allow people to rent out primary homes and even bedrooms within an owner occupied home, a large portion of Home Sharers use their vacation home to rent or exchange.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the number of second homes was 7.4 million in 2016. Consumers make a large investment in a property in their favorite vacation spot. This investment can be great for families to make memories in those destinations, families have their favorite restaurants, shops and beaches. Even when they have that great second property to visit, isn’t it still nice to visit some new spots? Home sharing, specifically for second homeowners, is allowing individuals with vacation homes to venture outside the box when it comes to travel, but without the guilt of not using their second home.

Reason #1: More privacy and space for families or large groups traveling together.

The vacation rental industry has been booming over the last decade. Popular property management company, TurnKey’s 2019 Consumer Travel Survey says that 64% of travelers prefer staying in vacation rentals opposed to hotels, this statistic is up by 10% from their 2018 survey. Not only are these travelers preferring vacation rentals to traditional hotels, but they’re also traveling more than they thought they would. TurnKey asked people in 2018 if they planned to travel the following year, and 91% said yes. When they asked people in 2019 if they traveled this year, 96% of them said yes.

But why are people more attracted to staying in a home rather than a hotel? THIRDHOME member Carlene says, “Due to the fact that we have four kids, traveling to well-known destinations could be pricey! We would require multiple hotel rooms, and would not be able to all stay in the same room.” When traveling with a large group such as a family, hotels aren’t convenient. Not only can multiple hotel rooms get pricey like Carlene mentioned, but rooms can be scattered throughout the property, going out to eat can be expensive and spending time all together becomes less frequent. When staying in a home, meals can be prepared and enjoyed together, more time as a group can be enjoyed and all for a fraction of the cost. Colin Nagy of Skift spoke with THIRDHOME member Charles, who also prefers staying using home exchange rather than booking a hotel.

“Stoopack has been a member for just over four years, and he suggested he loved the idea of being able to house larger, extended family on vacation as opposed to the several expensive rooms it would take at a comparable five-star.”

-Colin Nagy on speaking with THIRDHOME member Charles S.

Reason #2: More travelers are wanting to discover new destinations.

To put it simply, there are more private homes in more destinations than there are hotels. The location of any given hotel is predicated on demand and how many room nights can be filled in a year. A private home, on the other hand, does not require year-round demand and can be located almost anywhere. Home sharing opens up a whole new set of destinations that would never be considered otherwise for lack of hotel inventory.

In the context of home sharers using THIRDHOME, owners who enjoy their vacation homes in their favorite destinations year after year are using home swapping as a way to visit new destinations, while still getting use out of their second property.

“[Home exchanging] opened our eyes to a variety of destinations we wouldn’t have considered otherwise.”

-THIRDHOME member Paul H.

Home swapping sites show availability all around the world. Instead of visiting the beach house in Florida every year, what about a trip to an estate by a small village in Provence or Umbrian villa in Italy?

While home-swappers are exploring new destinations, they also are getting a chance to live like a local when staying at someone else’s property. When speaking with a host during a home exchange, they are able to provide you with recommendations for restaurants, hidden attractions or things they enjoy in the area that guests simply wouldn’t experience when staying at a hotel.

What we love most about our THIRDHOME travels is getting a chance to stay ‘as a native’ and immerse ourselves in the local culture.

-THIRDHOME member John P.

Reason #3: Lower costs to explore the world.

Staying at a hotel for a 7-night stay can become pricey, especially during a peak holiday season. Accommodations are usually the most expensive part of a travel experience. Not to mention restaurant and bar bills add up when there isn’t a kitchen to cook in. Home sharing has allowed people to travel for a fraction of the cost when renting a home from sites like Airbnb or VRBO. However, those who own second homes sometimes feel guilty when renting out houses in other destinations. THIRDHOME allows its members to leverage their second home and use it as an investment for other travels, all while traveling for a fraction of the cost. Renting a home can cost thousands of dollars for a week, but home exchanging can reduce that cost dramatically. For example, renting a home in Kalafati, Greece can cost up to $98,000 for a 7 night stay. For a THIRDHOME member, they can exchange time in their home and pay a nominal fee of $1,095 for the week.

Home sharing will continue to rise as more people are traveling and are looking to leverage their second properties. THIRDHOME members not only are able to leverage their second homes, but they are able to feel comfortable traveling to other members’ properties who share the same mindset when it comes to how they treat the property itself. Member Paul says, “Staying in the most beautiful places all over the country and world, for less expense and less worry? Let me say that that THIRDHOME is our preferred way to travel now. Hands down no comparison.”

Interested in learning more about home exchange with THIRDHOME?

Click the button below to get in touch with our team and learn more about home exchanging and how it works with THIRDHOME.

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