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Data Management // Big Data Analytics
Commentary
4/7/2016
09:30 AM
Ariella Brown
Ariella Brown
Commentary
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Swipe to Swap and Go

A France-based social site takes some of the cash considerations out of home sharing for vacation travel.

A high tech approach to barter promises to make getaways more affordable. That’s the concept behind Nightswapping.com . It allows you to offer your home in exchange for staying at someone else's without limiting you to staying in the town of the specific person who wants to come to yours.

The business was founded in Lyon, France in 2012, though it also has offices in New York, London, and Sydney. The listings on the service extend much further, with accommodations in 160 countries.

In a way, the service mirrors the monetary solution to the problem of barter. What if you don’t want the eggs your neighbor offered in exchange for your wheat? Likewise, perhaps you don’t want to go to London on the same dates the person in London wishes to come to your hometown. Through Nightswapping, all parties get a consistent medium of exchange, measure of value, and store of value through points. Points are earned by giving nights in your home, and redeemed by staying at another’s place. The service brings the two together and provides some information in the form of reviews from visitors and its own scale of ranking.

You go here... Credit: Pixabay
You go here...

Credit: Pixabay

The price for each night’s stay is determined by Nightswapping’s scale that ranges from 1 to 7. The number on that scale is based on the NightSwapping algorithm, which takes into account the popularity of the area, the square footage, the number of bedrooms, the comfort level, and the type of accommodation -- there’s more value in having a whole apartment than a bedroom within a house. A shorter stay at a place with a higher standard can cost the same number of points as a longer stay at a place closer to the bottom of the scale.

Though the idea is to save money, it’s not completely removed from the exchange. There’s a flat fee for each stay booked through the service. Money can also be used to make up the difference between the points a guest has earned and the ones they would be spending by a stay. It also can be used to pay for the stay altogether for people who have no points of credit. Still, the stay should end up much less costly than one at a hotel or even through Airbnb.

...They go here Credit: Pixabay
...They go here

Credit: Pixabay

I found a single review of the service dated Februrary 25, 2016, and entitled “NightSwapping is at the moment my favorite traveling concept” on Highya:

    It's a community that is between Airbnb and Couchsurfing. They have the non-money based system of Couchsurfing, but the professional interface and privacy (as guest) of Airbnb. When you host someone you get credits (nights) instead of money, which you can use to travel. It's a really convenient system because it's more peer-to-peer than any other money based platform, and makes it more community based. You are not even required to make any bureaucracy or tax declaration of course, because you are getting paid. To match guest and host, they even recently introduced a "swiping" system, where you can like or dislike a potential interested person, this makes it quite fast to choose.

Note: I wouldn’t take it for granted that you are not taxed on the exchange. American taxation does apply to barter, and so it may extend to swapping stays, as well.

The swiping system the review refers to is an app for serendipity by design. For people who feel they want to get away but are not sure where they want to go, Nightswapping invites them to enter their travel dates, where they’re leaving from, and how far they would like to go. It then shows possible places to stay. The prospective vacationers then swipe right for the ones they like and left for the ones they don’t. The prospective hosts, in their turn, swipe right for the travelers they would accept. If you get a match, then you have just worked out your stay without having to think through too much about where you will go and stay.

 

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