Archives for posts with tag: HouseTrip

Though Tripping, a one-time social travel site, has begun to make a name for itself in metasearch for vacation rentals, the start-up has bigger ambitions.Tripping vacation rental

Now it will get a boost with the help of venture capital.

Tripping revealed via a Facebook post last night that it has received a Series A round of financing. The round closed on May 9.

A source told Business Insider that the round was more than $5 million, though the start-up would not confirm the sum.

Tripping, which launched in 2010 [see our TLabs profile], said the investment was co-led by an existing investor, Quest Venture Partners, and a new one, Recruit Holdings.

The later investment was by the RGIP Fund, whose existence Recruit Holdings revealed today. It’s a 4.5 billion yen venture capital fund in Japan.

RGIP says it plans to make additional investments in other travel companies to add to its existing ones in Jalan (one of Japan’s largest travel websites), PegiPegi (Indonesia), (Vietnam), and (Philippines).

A number of other new investors, including former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, Qunar founder Fritz Demopoulos, and NFL athlete Shawntae Spencer, also participated.

Succesful pivot

Tripping has 16 suppliers, such as HomeAway, HouseTrip, Flipkey, Interhome, and, and it says this coverage gives its users access to 1 million properties worldwide.

CEO and founder Jen O’Neal said in an interview that the company has a queue of about 40 suppliers that it wants to add to the system.

“There are a ton of regional players in holiday home and short-term rental that don’t have the resources to get distribution visibility, and we’d love to send traffic to them and also deepen our global coverage.”

Until last month, Tripping was a five-person team, though it has now added three more staffers to its offices at 111 New Montgomery in San Francisco.
O’Neal also plans to use the funding to boost marketing spend, to drive more traffic to the site. She says that, up until now, the company hasn’t done more than $1,000-a-month worth of marketing.

She declined to share her company’s traffic or revenue numbers.

Founder’s story

Tripping launched in 2010 as a social travel site connecting local hosts with travelers, a la Couchsurfing. It gained users in 150 countries within 30 days, but it never found a viable revenue model.

O’Neal decided to take her team to Lake Tahoe for an off-site brainstorming session. They tried to rent a place on Airbnb or VRBO. But the research phase was so painful that they gave up and opted for camping in Big Sur instead.

As O’Neal tells it, around a campfire, they realized that bringing the aggregator model to vacation rentals was a potential opportunity. Within 30 days they launched that as their new business plan.
In 2011, they received a seed funding round of $1 million, in a round that included Launch Capital and Tim Draper of DFJ Venture.

This month’s funding comes on the heels of’s launch last week of, a standalone brand in the market.

O’Neal says that the deepening market work by global brands has a halo effect for the vacation rental industry by helping to build consumer confidence in the concept, which boosts transactions for smaller players indirectly.

Now the big dream for Tripping is to scale. It estimates that the vacation rental market is $85 billion in the USA and Europe alone. Says O’Neal:
“The vacation rental industry is at least 10 years behind the hotel industry when it comes to online distribution.

It still takes an average of nine days to complete the typical vacation rental transaction, outside of metasearch. As one of our interns pointed out, we put a man on the moon in only eight days back in 1969.”

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Shifting of the sand in the vacation rental marketplace with confirmation that HouseTrip is scrapping all listings of private rooms from its database


HouseTrip informed hosts of the “important change” to its service via a recent letter in which it said as part of a new focus on couples and families it would be “removing all private bedrooms from our website” and in future only allow entire properties to be listed.

The letter adds: “During this time we will be taking away search functionality for private bedrooms in shared accommodation, and removing them from our search results so they can no longer found by prospective guests.

” Existing bookings or upcoming check-ins will not be affected by the change, HouseTrip adds. HouseTrip says it is currently running at a 95%-5% ratio in favour of complete apartments to shared spaces, so it does not anticipate any major erosion of its overall product spread.

An official says: “We want to be known for providing the best range of complete properties available for short-term rent. And we feel that this clarification of our offering is the best way to do it.” Including shared spaces in its portfolio was found to have “muddied the waters”, the official says. “The feedback we have received from many travellers is ‘yes, I want to get tips and advice from an owner. yes, I want the personal touch. Yes, I may even want to feel like a local.

But when the info is given and the key swapped, I want the apartment to become my space and I don’t necessarily want to become best friends or swap Facebook details with the landlord’.”

The company denies the move is anything to do with recent regulatory or taxation shenanigans affecting the likes of Airbnb or Wimdu which have a focus on shared spaces.

Nevertheless, issues such as these are clearly triggering a fair degree of strategic soul searching for a number of brands as they look to anticipate where around the world they may face hurdles over their ability to operate (or those of their product hosts).

Airbnb, for example, recently celebrated (and potentially breathed a huge sigh of relief) a regulatory win in France when a legislation was introduced allowing home owners to rent out rooms without seeking permission from local authorities.

Its head of global public policy, David Hantman, says some 83% of its hosts in the French capital Paris share their primary residence – in other words, let out a room OR only have the property available for a limited period of time.

HouseTrip’s move possibly illustrates how the main players in the rental/sharing economy are re-positioning themselves as providers of product in one particular area (shared vs complete rental).

A source who until recently worked within one of the main global players in the sharing economy says there is a wider trend emerging: “After seeing good traction and interest in the mass audience, the involved companies are trying to get out of a niche and attack a more established market, providing an experience closer to what hotel customers are used to.

“The peer economy is a nice thing, but there are reasons why hotels and other kind of accommodation facilities need to comply to specific rules… and the private accommodation market is probably trying to anticipate the regulatory movements so that they will be more ready when the time will come.”



Tripping, the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, just announced a partnership with leading European provider Interhome (it’s not the sole!)

The deal will make Interhome’s 33,000 vacation properties immediately available on Tripping.

The addition of Interhome is a boost for the already massive vacation rental platform, which hosts over 1 million listings across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Tripping currently aggregates properties from major rental sites including Homeaway, Flipkey, Wimdu, Housetrip…

Founded in 1965, Switzerland-based Interhome is the operator of 15 regional subsidiaries and is one of Europe’s premier providers of professionally managed vacation rentals worldwide, with a concentration of listings in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

“Partnering with Interhome allows us to expand the properties offered on Tripping, particularly within the growing European market,” said Tripping CEO Jen O’Neal. “Travelers now have thousands of beautiful new properties to stay in, all from a trusted source with decades of industry experience.”

Interhome COO, Jörg Herrmann said the deal will greatly expand its global reach.

“We’re excited to start distributing our listings on Tripping. Our properties will have greater visibility on an international platform, which is a good thing for travelers and hosts alike,” he said.

“By joining forces with the leading aggregator in the vacation rentals space, we’ll also be able to heighten Interhome’s global brand and remain competitive both in Europe and overseas.”

About Tripping

Tripping is a metasearch site for vacation homes and short-term rentals offering over 1 million rentals across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Travelers can use Tripping to easily compare the world’s best home rentals by price, reviews, ratings and location. Based in San Francisco, the company was founded by tech industry veterans from Expedia, Travelzoo and StubHub. You can search, compare and save on your ideal home rental at

“The clock could be ticking for businesses like Airbnb, Wimdu, 9Flats and HouseTrip (they forgot Roomorama) as new regulations gradually being introduced in some cities around the world begin to threaten their core business – but the problem is bigger than that.

In new York

While stories like Airbnb’s future in New York being questioned as a result of short-stay regulations have made headline news in the past, there’s a growing backlash against the sharing economy that could spread to other industries.

In New York, Airbnb’s major problem is a rule that clearly defines hotels and apartments (stays of 30 days or longer) as different things. Hotels have to comply with fire regulations and other safety rules while apartments do not. It’s not restricted to the US either, Airbnb has attracted its fair amount of attention in Amsterdam for renters letting out their properties without the appropriate permit.

A domino effect ?

The problems and scrutiny is not new and not entirely unexpected – new models of bringing a service to market have disrupted entire industries, and the incumbents in those markets, so a certain amount of resistance is unsurprising. But what started in New York two years ago is quickly becoming a domino effect.

With it, the pressure on companies like Airbnb, Wimdu, 9Flats and HouseTrip is intensifying; new laws that effectively cut off large swathes of their business, or worse, render them completely banned.

Roomorama Holiday Rental

In Berlin

On Thursday, one of these new laws passed the first rung of approval in Berlin. It will specifically limit the number of apartments that will be available for holiday rental within the city. Why? Because it said it wants to secure apartments for Berlin residents; the fear is that an influx in the number of people renting out their apartments in the short-term will drive up rental and housing prices in the long-term. Another clause in the law would mean that apartments could not be left empty at all, too.

The proposal is next expected to go to the senate for approval, before being passed into law officially.

Following the expected introduction, the city’s roughly 9,000 holiday rental properties will be reduced to around 3,300. Clearly the impact on these businesses is significant. Bear those figures in mind, 3,300 apartments in a city that has 1.9 million of them, that’s only a fraction of a percent of the total apartments available, quite how that could affect long-term rents in the city is a curious question.

The decision to crack down in this way is even more curious when you consider how Berlin has grown into a booming and recognisable tech hub, but Ryan Levitt, a spokesperson for HouseTrip told TNW that locals’ patience for outsiders was wearing thin:

They believe that there are too may people for too few apartments. The reality is the success of the tech industry in Berlin is bringing in 40,000 new people to move to the city each year, combined with the success of the German economy and the repositioning of Berlin as the capital of Europe. You cannot put investment into a city, establish a new capital of Europe, drive a new tech industry that brings in lots of people and then turn around and say ‘we don’t want you foreigners’… The tech hub is now a bit of a bubble.

It’s a more complex and delicate situation though. The truth is that house prices are rocketing in Berlin, and local residents that don’t have a foothold in any of the thriving industries are paying the price. And as is the case in other cities, politics can play a big part in the level of tolerance a city has. If it’s election year and your local residents don’t like the influx of new people, there’s a good chance that concern will be addressed, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense or really address the problem.

Berlin’s drivers have been the government, tourism and now tech. So yes, it is getting more expensive for the everyday Berliner who doesn’t have a tech education, who doesn’t work in the government, who is just trying to get by – yes, they see on the surface that the rents are going soaringly up but they’re not reaping the benefits of this tech investment, of this government investment.

What they see is [foreign] people coming in and buying apartments, and then selling them a year later because the price of residences has gone up [so much] … It’s like London was six years ago.

As was seen in New York though, where there is demand, there will still always be supply. So prohibitive regulation will simply drive the economy underground and into murkier areas; not a helpful situation for either party, as Roman Bach, a spokesperson for 9flats noted in a statement:

Considering how important tourism is for Berlin, we consider this new law incredibly short-sighted as it is trying to regulate a booming market that is driving a lot of Berlin’s new wealth. Driving this economy underground and into the shadowy areas of the legal system is not productive and takes a potentially great source of tax revenue away from city coffers.

A Parisian thing

The focus on regulation of holiday apartment rentals in Europe may have grown out of scrutiny in New York, but it landed first in Europe in Paris. One of the most visited cities in the world.

On the surface of things, the freshly amended proposals to the short-term rental law in Paris look more open than in say, New York, but it is in fact equally unworkable for anyone wanting to just rent out there apartment now and again. Like Berlin, the clarifications of the existing law have passed the first layer of government – with the next step set to be the debate of any amendments in December.

Holiday Rental Paris

Key to the tweaked regulations is the necessity for a permit, if you get one, holiday rentals are legal. Simple! Not so much. If you get your permit, your property is declared a commercial property instead of a residential one but in order to be allowed to do this, you have to find a commercial property within the same area of the city that can be turned from a commercial property into a residential one. So, while you’re free to rent out an apartment if you get a permit, actually getting one could be a bit trickier.

The concern driving the clarification of existing regulations is the same as stated in Berlin: there are too many rental properties on the market, meaning higher rents and too few apartments for locals. While this position is arguably more relevant in Paris – it has far fewer overall apartments than Berlin, so percentage-wise the number of holiday apartments is higher – it’s also arguable whether the proposed measures will do anything to appease the disgruntled locals and manage to return rental rates to a lower level. Housing is always a hot topic in an election year.

To sprinkle a little irony on the situation, the city of Paris also has aspirations of catching up on the tech game with the 1000 Startups @ La Halle Freyssinet project providing the largest digital incubator in the world.

It’s not just Paris, or Berlin either, Spain too is now taking a long, hard look at how it deals with holiday rentals.

Until May this year, there was no national law covering short-term holiday rentals. Instead, each region decided what was appropriate. By May 2014, a working group from four regions of Spain will have to come up with the new national law, but currently, HouseTrip’s Levitt tells TNW, the four regions are not talking to each other due to a difference in opinion on how it should be approached. On one side you have advocates for a simple registration and taxation system, and on the other you have representatives from areas that traditionally draw a lot of their income from hotels, like the Canary Islands – which already has complex holiday home rules. Make of that what you will.

Levitt told us that there are also now rumblings coming from places like Vancouver, Quebec and Malta about whether they need to look into regulation of services such as these.

A better way

All is perhaps not lost though, Amsterdam, as we mentioned right at the start, currently operates a permit-based system. However, it seems that the city has recognised that it’s an outdated system that’s not appropriate if it wants to make the most of the new opportunities, Levitt explained:

Amsterdam realised that the power of social travel is unstoppable and past the point of no return. They know people want this travel experience. So they decided to appoint a social travel specialist [who is] now sitting down with all of the platforms to find ways to make social travel work effectively for their city, that’s from nuisance complaints to taxation and finance to safety and security. Their view is ‘we can’t ban this’ and that it’s stupid to.

If you create laws that make it workable for the city and platform and the tourists and the locals, everyonecan benefit. The city can benefit from taxation. You can benefit because you’ll have a standardized [system] … If there is a problem with an apartment, or a noise complaint, it can be dealt with easily, as opposed to hiding it underground.

Currently though, right now you still need a permit in Amsterdam while they work through this process of adjustment to the new market models.

A bigger threat

Most of the attention to this point has focused on housing and short-term holiday rentals, but the threat to the wider sharing economy is writ large. You only have to look at the amount of resistance other services like the taxi-cum-ride-sharing service Uber has faced in some of the cities in which it operates to see that we’re likely to see the growth of new and more specific regulations to govern all sorts of different services. Levitt agrees:

This is just the first step. Housing is first, the next will be cars and car rentals and it’s just going to go on and on. It all plays into the hands of companies that want you to keep buying more and more and more stuff. What it always boils down to is money, what these governments want is cash. We’ve always said we’re willing to sit down to find answers and solutions, but because those solutions would probably require some time and some sort of investment from the city they just don’t want to deal with it.

With big business, local politics and all sorts of other pressures bearing down, companies operating within the sharing economy right now face an uphill challenge, but as has already been demonstrated by Amsterdam’s approach to holiday rentals, by consulting with all parties involved these services can bring benefits for government, travellers, and locals alike”.

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“HouseTrip and Tripping announced today that they have entered into a partnership whereby Tripping will show HouseTrip listings on its vacation rental metasearch platform. The partnership will allow Tripping’s visitors the ability to search and compare vacation rental homes, short term rentals, condominiums, apartments, and alternative lodging listings currently featured on HouseTrip.

“Our partnership with HouseTrip gives travelers access to some of the world’s most beautiful vacation rental properties. By integrating their listings into Tripping, we’re able to offer increased options for travelers along with authentic travel experiences that have become synonymous with HouseTrip,” said Tripping CEO, Jen O’Neal.

Tripping vacation rental

HouseTrip, a Swiss vacations rental company with a London base, will expand its already impressive global reach by listing with Tripping. “We are excited to partner with Tripping,” said HouseTrip CEO Arnaud Bertrand. “Distributing our listings on Tripping’s global platform will give our properties greater visibility while also heightening HouseTrip’s brand around the world.”

The partnership reinforces Tripping’s position as the world’s most comprehensive metasearch rentals platform. HouseTrip’s 250,000 properties will now be listed on Tripping and will be sortable by price, rental type, number of travelers, proximity to target destinations, amenities and more. This deal will bring a significant boost to Tripping’s already impressive database of over 1 million vacation and short-term rental properties.”

HouseTrip is not the first one to integrate this platform: Roomorama, Flipkey, 9flats … it’s never too late !!

German short-term holiday rental platforms 9flats and Wimdu and Switzerland-based HouseTrip have formed a network to lobby for their rights. In a media release, the network claims that as private rentals become a significant part of the tourism industry it’s important for the three companies to unite and communicate with one voice.9flats

Interestingly, US-based Airbnb has not joined the collective – potentially a deliberate effort by Wimdu, 9Flats and HouseTrip to band together and compete against their strongest rival.wimdu

The new network aims to bring more innovation into the market. It also wants to “support tenants and landlords with legal matters and participate in creating regulations and developing solutions to current issues” – clearly a dig at the discussion currently taking place in a number of cities, including Berlin, on whether using residential apartments for commercial purposes should be banned.images

The companies used the announcement to highlight the benefits of staying with local hosts, including increased cultural exchange, a more authentic travel experience and more tourism in less central regions of cities.

” I believe these companies can do something together as Airbnb wants to have the only voice !! ”

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