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Airbnb's fresh competitors: taking guests to the unexpected

The success of the famous platform and shared accommodations in general continues to be emulated, resulting in the development of particularly original niche concepts. Low-cost, dream or affinity tourism, discover them in a slideshow, and vote for the most surprising...

Collaborative camping platforms, another way to go green

Fresh air lovers did not wait for the digital revolution to start camping at people's homes... but sharing platforms have brought this phenomenon to a new level. Since 2013, Gamping makes it possible to rent a parcel of land at someone's home to set up a tent, and to rent out one's own lawn to host campers. In the same year, Hipcamp was launched in coastal California with a list of different campsites: for camping or staying in a mobile home at someone's home or in locations that are available near Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks. Shared camping concepts rely on a nearly unlimited supply of privately owned land, and the inexpensiveness of a concept that should appeal to budget-conscious consumers.

Yescapa (formerly makes it possible to borrow someone's trailer for one or more days; this is a market where Airbnb itself is increasingly present as well. Families and those who harbor nostalgia for the Volkswagen Camper may be steered to this kind of service, all the more that the current trend of C2C transportation encourages the diversification of the supply -for example Wikicampers is another peer-to-peer trailer-rental marketplace.

Medical tourism, also contaminated by the "sharing" virus

The website Medical Departures, which presents itself as an Airbnb platform for medical tourism, has just raised 2.5 million dollars. Created in Bangkok in 2014, the startup offers stays for treatments in six countries: Costa Rica, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam. Taking advantage of the growing interest in medical tourism, the service currently includes several hundred clinics offering a variety of specialties, that are located in destinations heretofore known for their sandy white beaches. Clearly they've been chosen with care.

Set sail together with boat sharing

Shared accommodations clearly have no limits anymore as new services make it possible to take off to conquer the oceans by renting a boat from another individual. The offer has the wind in its sails, with platforms such as Boatbound and Click&Boat. Whether it is to use a boat for a few days or share a yacht, lovers of the big blue have a broad array of choices - some of the offers on these sites even make a captain available to holiday makers who don't have a boating license. The competition is tough on this particularly promising market: SamBoat currently has close to 2,000 boats available for rent throughout France, while the GlobeSailor platform claims it has 10,000 offers for sailboats or motor boats in 150 destinations. This website also addresses professionals and fans of long cruises.

Also in the seafaring world, the website Swap & Surf focuses on another groove in the current wave of sharing platforms. Founded in 2008, the service is intended as a platform for exchanges for surfers worldwide; it offers surfing fans the possibility to find accommodations for a few days or a season from like-minded people. From islands in Hawaii to beaches in the Basque Country, as well as in India or -of course- Australia, the platform connects surfers who wish to enjoy the best surfing spots like a local.

Affinity sharing platforms for a LGBTQ-friendly holiday

Misterb&b adapts the Airbnb concept to focus on accommodations available from hosts who are open to sexual minorities, while not necessarily belonging to the LGBTQ community themselves. Logically, the platform's supply particularly targets gay-friendly neighborhoods like Castro in San Francisco, Soho in London, Le Marais in Paris, Schöneberg in Berlin... By facilitating contacts with hosts who are familiar with the local LGBTQ community and know the best addresses there, this type of service follows the current trend to personalize the guest experience. The platform also markets the advantage of guaranteeing its clients' security and comfort by ensuring an open and tolerant welcome at the accommodations. Indeed, the idea for this affinity platform originally developed out of an uncomfortable experience with the owner of an accommodation rented through a classic platform, since tolerance towards sexual minorities is not a given.

This same idea of facilitating encounters by looking for affinities also led to the creation of Wimbify, a couchsurfing-style platform dedicated to sexual minorities. It also enables travelers and locals to connect (for free; for now it's more of a social business) and to explore many destinations together.

KinkBNB, a newcomer bound to grow?

This original platform especially targets bondage enthusiasts, making apartments available to its clientele for a quite explicit use. Some of the apartments available on KinkBNB are "suitably" equipped, and some are even marketed as veritable "dungeons". The service probably responds to a certain demand that struggled to be met, as news reports and chain emails between apartment owners have multiplied in recent months, complaining about the particular evenings organized in certain Airbnb locations -some owners did not suffer the usage... The platform also makes it possible to connect with kinksters of all origins and local "sex positive communities", naturally insisting on the imperatives of mutual trust and security inherent to the community's practices. This US-based website is only just beginning, but it could very well become a worldwide hit.

All these new concepts are original... but will they find their public? Now it's your turn: vote and pick out the best!

Also read:

  • Behind the scenes of shared accommodations [Report]
  • Private accommodations (AirBnB, Homeaway...): what are the regulations in Europe?
  • Airbnb to collect tourist tax for its Parisian hosts
  • The sharing economy to be taxed from July 1, 2016

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