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ShortTermHousing.com Challenges AirBnB & HomeAway/VRBO, Offers Similar Services but for Free
Jan 17, 2012 (03:01 PM EST)
DENVER, Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Recently launched ShortTermHousing.com, a short term housing website lets property owners earn money by listing and renting their place online with functionality similar to AirBnB or VRBO, but charges no fees or markups to travelers or property owners.
Online vacation rental websites are not a new idea, but offering these services for free is untested water. Sites like craigslist have been available since 1995 which offer basic listing services for free, but they do not give users advanced search or online reservation capabilities.
The 28 year old founder, Elia Wallen says he's not sure if his Denver based startup will ever turn a profit, but he wants to build an amazing site for travelers and vacation rental managers. He believes site traffic will be the key to the company's success.
The startup enters a crowded market with AirBnB and Homeaway holding the majority of the market share. AirBnB's recent $1 billion valuation and investment from Ashton Kutcher along with HomeAway's $216 million IPO in 2011 are clear signs that the online rental market is heating up.
When asked why he launched a short term housing rental website into a crowded market, Wallen responded:
"People are paying for online rental listings and I wondered, why? Would you pay to create a Facebook profile? Probably not. So, why are people paying to create a profile of their home on a property website? Because it's the only option. So, I created an alternative, ShortTermHousing.com, and we live by three rules:
AirBnB and VRBO are great sites and very useful, I just don't think it should cost money to create a profile for your home.
At the end of the day entering a crowded market is challenging, and we could fail miserably, but Facebook came in late and overtook Friendster and MySpace, so I'm hopeful."
Here's a short comparison of the services offered by the three online rental websites:
Property Manager Fee: 3% collected for payment processing
Guest Fee: 6% - 12% service fee
Property Manager Fee: $349 to list
Guest Fee: $0
Property Manager Fee: $0
Communication: Phone and email allowed