The Super Bowl is fast approaching and hotel rooms in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area are in high demand. Don’t be the guy who fumbles his Super Bowl travel plans by packing in with 4 buddies at the Motel Six or settles for a Holiday Inn Express in Waco, Texas, 96 miles from the stadium.
iStopOver is a new Canadian based start-up with hotel alternatives in all price ranges that leverages the power of the Internet to connect people with housing options, similar to its more well known U.S. based competitors, Roomorama and AirBnB.
“iStopOver truly lets you live like a local by providing the opportunity to pick the type of accommodation that suits your budget and personal tastes by allowing you to interact with like minded people. And you have the added security of knowing you won’t get scammed,” CEO Anthony Lipschitz said.
iStopOver has specifically tailored a part of its site to offer Superbowl sports travelers a cost-effective alternative to hotel price gouging and sell outs while allowing Dallas homeowners to generate income through short-term rentals of rooms in their homes or entire homes.
iStopOver’s site includes an official list of amenities that the hosts offer, such as your favorite beer in the fridge, snacks in the pantry and rides to and from the stadium. Hosts make all the arrangements with their guests before they arrive via messaging and iStopOver acts as the connecting marketplace and financial clearinghouse.
On iStopOver, guests simply search their city of choice, select the accommodation they want and then interact with the host to make the booking. Social media authentication through Facebook helps establish a sense of trust between hosts and guests before the transaction is completed. The website also lets hosts review their guests and lets guests rate their hosts in the same vein as Roomorama and AirBnB.
On the social media front, iStopOver at least offers Facebook log-in unlike Roomorama, but AirBnB wins pulling in Facebook accounts seamlessly, including your photo and information. From a housing perspective, Roomorama offers rooms in 100 different destinations with over 60,000 members on the site. AirBnB offers the best of the best, including a total of 30,000 housing listings ranging from couches, air mattresses, private rooms, entire apartments, villas, boats, treehouses and castles in 8,000 cities in 166 countries.
iStopOver has a competitive number of listings, although no treehouses or castles could be found and there were a startling number of sponsored real estate listings. But at its base, iStopOver has a growing number of users and I except they will be a great third alternative for 20-somethings and grown-ups whose Couchsurfing days are long behind them.
Bottom Line: For Superbowl accommodations, which neither Roomorama or AirBnB are running a promotion for, iStopOver scores a touchdown.