Friends and Guests Preview Program
July 5, 2016
Friends and Guests started with a simple concept: How can we make the process of sharing vacation rentals and extra bedrooms amongst friends and family less awkward?
No host wants to tell friends, "sure you can stay at my vacation house, but I’d really like you to cover at least the cost of the maids." How can a host tell just select friends that they’re invited to use a vacation home? Or how do public B&B hosts tell friends that they have listings on Airbnb?
As we researched the idea, it became apparent that the big problem for hosts is how to let friends know about the host’s place. Sure, the host could email contacts one-by-one, but doing so would take forever. A proper mailing list is legit, but who’s got the time to set this up? And friends don’t want more spam. A host could post a link on Facebook, but how likely is it that the host’s friends would see it?
Then we started dreaming. What if we had our own social network that provided the best of vacation rental listings sites, like Airbnb, combined with the privacy and discovery features of social networks like Facebook?
Next, we decided that public hosts, those using sites like Airbnb and VRBO, could benefit as well from our new app, in that we can help public hosts with incremental sales by leveraging their social connections, including past guests.
After several years of work, we’re finally ready to start testing the idea with our friends.
We’ll be inviting our first hosts based on those that have personally expressed interest, either by email or Facebook messages. As a thank you to participant hosts in our preview program, we’ll be giving each a generous usage credit, once we finalize our pricing policy. You can also get access to listings simply by accepting an invitation to a host’s guest list.
Justin Gordon and the Friends and Guests team