Move over Airbnb, there’s a new accommodation option in town.
This particular service is aiming for millennials, offering more of a “sharing” experience that the cohort is rumoured to love so much. NightSwapping allows you to list your place (or just a room in your place) for visitors to crash in, but instead of dealing in the boring old regular economy of dollars and cents, NightSwapping works on the principle of sharing — give a night, get a night.
When someone stays at your place, you get credits to stay somewhere else. So let’s say you welcome a couple into your apartment in Calgary for two nights, you’ve then got two nights to stay wherever you want in the world at another NightSwapper’s place — and there are members everywhere.
This is a bit of a bridge between traditional house swapping (where you swap places with someone else) and Airbnb, where anyone can stay if they’re willing to pay, which could make renting out your place a lucrative money-making side business.
Nightswapping isn’t totally without financial cost, though. Bookings require a 9.90€ (approx. $15 CDN) “connection” fee each time you nightswap (regardless of the number of nights or guests), and if you don’t have enough credits, you can pay to stay, between 7€ and 49€ a night (approx. $10-$72 CDN), depending on the quality of the place. All of this revenue goes to NightSwapping, and none of it goes to the host (hey, start-up entrepreneurs gotta eat, too).
So why do it for free if you can actually make money off this sort of thing by going the AirBnB route? Because it ain’t all about the money…to some people. NightSwappers still gain something of value — the ability to stay anywhere in the world, pretty much for free. With enough credits, a week in Paris or New York City could cost you 15 bucks in accommodation, and that’s definitely worth something if destinations like that are on your bucket list.
The concept taps into the sharing idea, which has brought us things like bike sharing, Zipcar, Autoshare, Uber, TaskRabbit and even tool libraries. You get what you need — a bike, a car, a drill or, in this case, a place to stay — for considerably less than it would cost to buy it.
NightSwapping has 30,000 places listed in 160 countries and 110,000 members, with loads of action in Europe especially. Plus, they verify all listings and offer homeowners worldwide insurance up to 450,000€ (approx. $663,000). You can sign up or find out more about how it works on their website.