Tripping has carved a sizable niche for itself in the online accommodation-booking space, and now offers more than 850,000 rentals in 36,000 cities around the world.
Founded in 2010 by veterans from Expedia, Travelzoo and StubHub, Tripping has evolved as an online travel site and is now what you’d call a MetaSearch engine, or an aggregator. Indeed, it trawls the likes of HomeAway, Wimdu and Flipkey to pull in listings and compare by price, reviews, ratings and location. So, if one property is listed for a cheaper price on one platform over another (which does happen), Tripping will tell you. You could call it a Kayak for home rentals and, indeed, many have.
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Now, Tripping is integrating ZenRentals vacation rental software for its new Instabook platform, letting property-owners list directly on Tripping, and guests book instantly without having to wait for confirmation. Ultimately, it’s designed to narrow the gap between online hotel and private vacation rentals.
ZenRentals originally specialized in hotel booking software, but it seems they were inundated with requests by property owners and managers asking if they could tweak the software for vacation rentals. This is what they did. And result of this ‘tweaking’ has enabled Tripping to spread its proverbial wings.
While the likes of Airbnb is synonymous with this type of booking, founder and CEO Jen O’Neal says that Tripping’s new feature is instant, with property managers contractually obliged to give any booking made through Tripping priority. Indeed, with many properties on Airbnb you could be waiting up to 24 hours to get a response from the owner, only to discover that they’ve already listed it on another site and, well, it’s not available. However, it is worth adding that Airbnb does actually offer Instant Book for some of its properties too.
Also, Tripping manually approves its Instabook properties prior to listing, to ensure everything is above board. The one obvious downside to this, however, is that it will take time for Tripping to gain a sufficient number of Instabook-enabled properties. But given this is an add-on service for users, any search that is carried out will still throw up all the usual alternatives from the likes of HomeAway.
An Instabook rental can be clearly identified by the label emblazoned across the main photo as you can see here.
At launch, Tripping will only host a handful of Instabook properties, however 700 hosts are signed up who have thousands of properties between them. Plus, ZenRentals will be distributing its own properties on Tripping, so there should be thousands available shortly.
It’s also worth noting it will only be available in private beta for select hosts in the US, but it will be rolling out further afield in the next few months. So this is still very much a work-in-progress from a content and availability perspective.
“The vacation rentals industry is years behind hotels online, so we wanted to find a way we could work together and bridge that gap,” says O’Neal. “We wanted to make vacation rentals more like hotels from a booking perspective. So by using existing software, and integrating it into Tripping, anyone could make a vacation rental instantly.”
In addition, Tripping is also launching a guest verification service, which is essentially a safety check that taps national and international crime and fraud databases to verify would-be guests are of a sound disposition. We’re told it takes seconds to carry out during the booking process.
So, Tripping is trying to make the short-term property booking process instant and seamless, which could see it appeal to the lucrative last-minute market. Though it will obviously need to ramp up its catalogue of properties to gain a reputation for this over its contemporaries.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock