FlatClub, the London-based peer-to-peer rentals engine (TLabs here), now offers a new way to book shared spaces and rentals.
LiveDemand reverses the way that P2P rentals operate, so rather than the property owner posting a property to rent, renters post a desired booking with dates and location. Property owners can then make direct offers to potential renters using the platform.
FlatClub CEO and co-founder said in the announcement:
In the short stay market, the right match between guest and host is incredibly important. The main aim with LiveDemand is to open up a new side to our marketplace.
Many guests benefit from special discounted offers and many hosts enjoy the ability to be proactive booking their calendars and find trusted guests by browsing their profiles. Additionally there is no extra cost incurred for guests to post requests or hosts to make an offer.
We anticipate it will be very helpful for individuals leaving for specific blocks of time additionally hosts who use LiveDemand receive up to 30% more bookings. First time hosts are twice as active because they relish the opportunity to make offers to potential guests rather than having to wait for guests to come to them.
Users simply register as an owner or renter, and then either repond to offers or post a specific trip for bids. Segments of the bid include dates, budget, location and any other special requirements.
This changes the dynamic of the rental relationship, switching the time burden from renters to owners. At first glance, this seems insignificant, but this will be appealing for anyone that has spent hours trying to secure a P2P property.
Oftentimes, owners are unresponsive or don't keep an updated calendar. This means that the renter must message multiple listings in an effort to secure a property. Now renters can post once and allow competitive offers to roll in from prospective property owners.
This reduces the hurdle to adoption for those who want a more streamlined P2P rental experience, and also allows for open market dynamics to come into play. These dynamics offer potential savings for renters and most definitely can offer better price performance for owners who can leverage opaque pricing in the new marketplace.
Another plus for owners is the protection that opacity provides as far as security. There's less of a visible upfront commitment to sharing the space - especially with potentially angry neighbors and city authorities seeking to crack down on illegal short-term rentals. The ability for landlords to only bid for selected stays also empowers the owner to only select users who are reviewed well. This idea - that the owner is able to select who stays - is a key tenet of the sharing economy, but has just never been done like this.
Unlike many other cities' opposition to vacation rentals, London has recently abolished limitations on short-term renting of private homes. London mayor Boris Johnson launched the new feature at London's TechHub, "It’s a great idea, I like the concept very much and I can see why it’s great tool for homeowners as well as for visitors to London searching for a place to stay.”
The initial trial saw 400 hosts see more than 1,000 guest requests for an average of 61 nights. The company says that the owners using the service were professional hosts willing to offer discounts to fill calendar gaps, private individuals with a room or flat available seeking a guest they could trust, and regular hosts who offered discounts for longer stays.
NB: Auction block image courtesy Shutterstock.