Have you ever wished for a home-like place awaiting you while planning a trip abroad or somewhere far in your own country? Well, peer-to-peer (P2P) home exchange platforms like GuestToGuest, HomeExchange, LoveHomeSwap, and Knok make this very wish come true.
Basically, these websites allow people to swap homes during vacations with homes of people traveling to their city around the same time. The concept of home exchange isn’t new, but these emerging marketplaces have added quite a flavor to it.
FATbit team conducted an in-depth analysis of this unique marketplace – the business model and essential website features – to prepare this post for entrepreneurs planning to build a P2P home exchange clone website.
Basically these websites are social network built by like-minded people who couldn’t digest the idea of spending thousands of dollars on accommodation during vacations while a home stay lies vacant in the vicinity as the owner too is out on vacations (probably facing the same situation and thinking the same thing).
For the solution, these websites act as a common portal where people can list their homes, check out homes of other members, and do the home swap during vacations as per their travel plans.
Another major highlight of this marketplace is non-reciprocal home exchanges. By letting other members stay at their homes, owners earn some points which can be used towards non-reciprocal home exchanges. (discussed later)
Below are a few revenue generation channels that you can include in your P2P home exchange website:
Now, let’s explore the world of home exchange more closely and check out what unique website features this unique marketplace should possess.
It’s not hard to comprehend that a person would leave his home in care of another person only if he trusts him. And the reason why a person wants someone else to live in his place in his absence is only when he gets something in return.
Your website should be built in a way that assures visitors that you are addressing both of the above-mentioned concerns for them. Here are some suggestions for the homepage in this context:
Additionally, the below-the-fold area can be used to accommodate following features:
The footer area can be used to provide quick links to content based pages like blog, about us, terms, policies, etc. and other prominent services offered by you.
Quick Suggestion: If you are planning to build your P2P home-exchange platform for a wider audience, then it would be a great idea to make your website in multiple languages.
Now let’s check out how users can actually do a house exchange on the site and explore features that your home-exchange website script cannot afford to miss.
Placing the home search tool box in the banner or top navigation bar is of course kind of a no-brainer feature. The home search feature can do just with one input field i.e. location. Results can be shown in grid view or list view, and should offer users following features and options:
In addition to that, you also need to introduce an extensive list of filtering options such as pet-friendly, availability of Wifi, garden, pool, personal cook, other such facilities.
The home profile page should provide users complete information about the home. Here are the essential features that you need to ensure in your home-exchange clone script for the home profile page:
The contact owner option should take users to the host’s profile, where following details & options should be mentioned:
The sign-up process itself should embed the creating house profile process because your target audience includes only those who have a house that they want to exchange. Since the process would require homeowners to provide a lot of information, you can divide it into following sections:
Once a member is logged in, he should be provided with several options to make the process of home exchange easier. There should be dedicated sections for listing:
In addition to these listings, following features should be provided to the users:
This is the much-needed service that these emerging marketplaces have brought to the peer-to-peer home exchange industry. Through this service, members will be able to find accommodation in the place they are travelling to, even when they can’t find an exact reciprocal home exchange on the website.
Whether a member is able to leverage this service will depend upon how many points he has earned on the website. The primary way to earn points is to let guests stay at your home. How much points a home should be awarded will depend on factors such as house location, size, number of beds, and other facilities & equipment available. Other ways to earn points will include:
Through this service, you will ensure that guests pay respect while they stay at a host’s house. The site should let members (hosts) decide a deposit amount for their houses that the guests have to submit temporarily as safety deposit. After the guests’ stay, if the host is okay with his house condition and agrees on that there has been no harm to his property, the guest is paid back the deposit amount with a commission cut for you.
You also need to offer members an insurance plan to cover cancellation or interruption of stay for guest at a host’s house. This is another value-added feature that will ensure that your customers make the home exchange with complete peace of mind.
You also need to maintain a blog on the site to offer your target audience a better service. Posts could be about tour destinations, travel experiences, and related tips. You can also divide the blog in different categories to deliver a richer experience.
You can also partner with other tour and travel businesses that can benefit from your home exchange platform. For instance, selling products that people need while travelling. You can charge a commission on the sales they made on your website and add another revenue channel to your business model.
The website should also have a comprehensive FAQ section which should be divided into suitable categories and subcategories to provide members convenience in finding the answers they are looking for.
You can also turn your website into a platform where people can also do the tenant search. If you want to add this feature, certainly you will have to make tweaks in the business model of your home exchange clone script. But on the other hand, it will help homeowners in earning some valuable points. So by and large, it will be a welcoming change.
GuestToGuest, HomeExchange, Knok and HomeSwap have introduced the concept of home exchange in quite a unique way. And by including the suggestion we have made in the post, you can refine your P2P home-exchange script further. It is also important that when building a P2P home exchange website, you take additional insights from top home exchange portals that we have mentioned in our post.
Since FATbit team has already done an in-depth analysis of peer-to-peer home exchange marketplace, we can help you come up with a superior home exchange clone website. Plus, our marketing and UX design experts can add real value to your portal.
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