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Peer-to-peer travel: Disruptive, local, unstoppable – genius!

The Spanish were clearly ahead of the game with the humble principle behind the saying “Mi casa es su casa” (my house is your house).  Today this has taken on a life of its own, creating a win-win platform for both travelers and locals alike.

Locals can now generate additional income on the side – whilst sharing their passion for their city – and travelers can be exposed to more authentic, off the beaten track experiences that can often be cheaper than booking via the more traditional channels.

So what is peer-to-peer (P2P) travel?

In a nutshell, P2P travel means that on your next holiday you could be sleeping in someone’s spare room – instead of a hotel room; enjoying a home cooked meal at a locals kitchen table – instead of eating at a restaurant; being guided around town on a bespoke tour with a local – instead of booking a tour through a travel agent…. and a whole lot more!

If this sounds like your idea of a nightmare, you can be reassured by the fact that Forbes magazine estimated that across all sharing and P2P companies, almost $3.5 billion could be generated by the time we shout ‘Happy New Year’ at the end of 2014.  Impressive.

Meeting the locals in Vietnam

Meeting the locals in Vietnam

What is driving this trend?

Nowadays, consumers are more empowered than ever when it comes to making an informed decision when planning and booking a holiday overseas.  As technology continues to evolve, we are firmly in the driving seat of each stage of the ‘Travel Life Cycle: Dream – Plan – Book – Visit – Share‘, enabling us to choose exactly what we want when we arrive at our destination of choice.

Above all, travelers are increasingly looking to get off the beaten track and connect with like-minded individuals, valuing tips and recommendations from the people the know the destination the best – the locals.


Top drivers for P2P Travel:

> Authentic experiences – travelers are starting to move away from the tried, tested and tweeted ‘tourist traps’, by actively seeking authentic experiences that are off the beaten track

Desire to connect with like-minded individuals – travelers are looking to enrich their holiday experiences by connecting with locals who share their common interests, adding a new depth to exploring a destination

> Explore neighborhoods – travelers want to get to know a city better by understanding and exploring the various neighborhoods – diving deeper in a destination by identifying with the buzz and feeling of the local areas

>  Peer trust – it is no surprise to hear that we are more likely to trust a person, than a brand message or campaign, valuing ‘peer trust’ over ‘big-brand trust’

“It’s a shift from institutional big-brand trust, to peer trust”. Rachel Botsman, co-author of ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’.

Who is booking?

P2P travel is predominantly booked by the younger generation, aka the ‘Millennials‘ (aged 18 – 34).  These early adopters have seen the value of moving away from the more traditional channels in order to fulfill their changing needs.

Millennials, abbreviated from millennial generation – represent a segment of the population that matured around the year 2000.  They are often referred to as ‘Generation Y’, arriving on the scene after Generation X.

Popular P2P travel websites – accommodation, dining, tours and experiences


Win (traveler) – Travelers can book a room or an entire property from a local host, at various price points throughout towns, cities and smaller neighborhoods
Win (locals) – Homeowners can rent out their property, spare room or garden at any time


Airbnb (founded 2008, USA) – With over 800,000 listings, book a wide range of accommodation with local hosts in 34,000 cities.  Airbnb caters for all budgets with accommodation available in a shared room, private room or an entire home, in addition to unique travel experiences such as spending the night in 600+ castles.



HomeAway (founded 2005, USA) – Well established in the market, HomeAway serves the vacation rental market, with over 1 million + listings available in 190+ countries, ranging from cabins, castles, condos, villas, farm houses or barns.



Camp In My Garden (founded 2011, UK) – Cited as the only ‘online garden camping community in the world’, it provides a platform for people to rent out their back garden as a campsite, on a temporary basis.  Choose from “bamping” (basic camping) or “glamping” (glamorous camping).

Dining with locals

Win (traveler) – Get to know a city by enjoying a home cooked meal or food experience with a local
Win (locals) – Hosts are able to meet and dine with travelers from all over the world


Cookening (founded 2012, France) – Cookening is a platform that connects travelers with locals over a dinner table, allowing for a friendly and relaxed dining experience in a hosts home.  Your host will cook and share a meal with you – choose from amateurs to professionals.


Example of dining options available in London, UK



EatWith (founded 2012, USA) – With hosts in 150+ cities worldwide, EatWith provides a global community offering a wide range of dining experiences – simply contact the host and have a great homemade meal with a local.


Example of dining experiences available in New York.







Bookalokal (founded 2012, Belgium) – Available in 40+ countries, however the large majority of hosts are based in the USA and Belgium.  Bookalokal was founded with one simple aim – ‘To make it easy and safe to share an authentic food experience with people anywhere in the world’.

Tours and experiences

Win (traveler) – Avoid the tourist traps by getting up close and personal with locals from your destination of choice, participating in activities and tours that are led and hosted by locals
Win (locals) – If you love your city, share your passion with travellers from all over the world, connecting with like minded people


TripBod (founded 2009, UK) – Based on the concept that you have a ‘friend at the other end’, TripBod (acquired by Trip Advisor in May 2014) connects travelers with local experts in 80 + countries.  Locals provide impartial recommendations, based on what the traveler has expressed an interest in.



Trip4Real (founded 2013, Spain) – Community driven platform that offers a varied selection of tours and activities in over 50 towns and cities throughout Spain and Portugal (London coming soon), hosted by over 2,500 locals.


Popular tours include a paella cooking class, tapas & wine tour and Gaudi bike tour






Vayable (founded 2011, USA ) – Online marketplace that offers travelers 3,600+ unique travel experiences, ranging from adventure, romance and after dark to family, shopping and dining – run by over 5,000 insiders.  You also use the ‘Vayable Concierge’ service for a customised experience.


Popular tours in Rome include a food crawl, Vatican museum and expresso and gelato tour


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