In a Nutshell: HomeExchange is one of the oldest and most respected membership-based home exchange platforms in the world. Through its network of more than 65,000 vacation homes in 150 countries, members can choose the perfect place to stay on their next adventure getaway. And the best part about the HomeExchange platform is that these are true exchanges, not rentals. So members will avoid one of the biggest expenses of any vacation trip, the cost of lodging. This means families can travel anywhere in the world and live like locals, staying for free and enjoying all the comforts of a real home.
The expansion of interactive social media platforms in recent years has brought about new ways of looking at everything from how we shop to how we drive and how we book our airline travel. The idea is to streamline the traditional processes, and to bring about more flexible and affordable solutions. That’s exactly what HomeExchange does for vacation lodging.
Members of HomeExchange can easily build a profile of what their home and locale has to offer, post it on the membership website, and begin searching for listings in areas they want to visit. Once their home is listed in the HomeExchange database, members will also start receiving inquiries from others around the world who want to exchange homes with them for an agreed-upon length of time. At that point, based on interest, they can start a conversation or politely decline the offer.
The idea for a membership-based HomeExchange network has actually been around for a while. Ed Kushins, a pioneer in the home exchange industry, began this venture in 1992 as a printed and mailed catalog. Soon after, as the internet became more prominent, he took his idea online.
Popularity for this type of vacation lodging has steadily grown, but it really took off after the 2006 romantic comedy “The Holiday” was released. In the movie, which starred Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, two women swap homes using the HomeExchange network, and end up finding the men of their dreams in different corners of the world.
While a home exchange won’t necessarily lead to love, meeting new people and making new friendships is certainly an advantage of HomeExchange. However, the biggest benefit to vacationers is the savings. According to Alexandra Origet du Cluzeau-Humbel, Global PR Director for HomeExchange, “Families save an average of 58% on vacation costs by using the HomeExchange network. And the longer the vacation stay, the greater the cost savings.”
Of course, another benefit that can’t be overlooked is the value of traveling and seeing new cultures and lifestyles. As Alexandra puts it, “HomeExchange allows people to discover the world for little more than it costs to stay home.”
Join a Network of More Than 65K Homes in 150 Countries for Only $150 a Year
The membership cost to join the HomeExchange network is quite reasonable, at only $150 per year. As travelers know, this is less than the average stay at a resort hotel for a single night.
For this nominal fee, members have access to a network of more than 65,000 homes in 150 countries around the world. Through the easy-to-navigate search feature, members can browse countless listings in almost any corner of the globe. If you find a place you like, send an inquiry using the “Get in Touch” button, and the secure messaging system will start the communication.
In recent years, the HomeExchange network has grown into a popular way to travel for families, retirees, and those on a budget. By joining HomeExchange, members can travel to as many locations and exchange homes as many times during the year as they wish.
There is also built-in flexibility with HomeExchange. Alexandra reminds us, “You don’t have to find someone who wants your home. They can have you stay and earn a balloon that they can use for a different location in the future. Whatever type of exchange, whether it is reciprocal or nonreciprocal, no money ever changes hands. This is an important consideration for our members.”
Creating Trust Between HomeExchange Members through Social Media
For anyone considering joining the HomeExchange network, establishing trust and ensuring the safety of your family and property is likely a paramount concern.
To make sure that everything goes smoothly, the HomeExchange team has established guidelines and developed a set of tools to make the home swap process as easy and transparent as possible. Communication between parties is done via social media-like interactions, with privacy and anonymity ensured until trust is established. Some members even choose to meet up before the swap to get to know each other better.
Detailed member profiles and HomeExchange reviews are another way that members share information about potential exchanges. Home locations are only displayed in general terms. Only after you feel comfortable sharing personal information and specific details with your exchange partner are you asked to do so.
The HomeExchange support team is available 24/7 to help with any question or concerns. Local representatives, who speak the languages of each area, can help by giving advice or assisting with issues. Lastly, members are told that it’s OK to say no to a home swap request at any point if they feel uncomfortable or the exchange partner is not providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision.
HomeExchange Guarantees a Successful Exchange in Your First Year of Membership
One of the unique features of HomeExchange is its guarantee of a successful exchange within your first year of membership. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to complete a successful exchange, you will be given your next year of membership free of charge. The company also works with you to determine why you were unable to arrange a swap, and to help you in whatever way possible to ensure your success.
In some instances, a HomeExchange member is unable to complete a successful exchange because of a lack of detail or information about their property. They simply get few, if any, inquiries.
Alexandra puts it this way, “If after becoming a member, you don’t complete an exchange, we think it’s really a shame. We want to give these people a second chance, and will have someone on our team contact them and try to understand why it did not work out.”
Acquisition by GuestToGuest Primes HomeExchange for Continued Growth
In March of 2017, HomeExchange was acquired by rival GuestToGuest, which is based in France. The purchase created the largest home-swapping market, with more than 400,000 homes in its collective network. Charles-Edouard Girard, Executive Chairman and Emmanuel Arnaud, CEO of the much newer GuestToGuest platform believe there is great synergy between the two companies and have expressed their commitment to maintaining the independence of each of the brands.
Although it has listings in 150 countries, the HomeExchange network has its strongest presence in the US and Canada. GuestToGuest, on the other hand, is particularly popular in European markets. With the combined listings of each of these two major platforms, future growth and expansion between the two regions seems highly likely.
HomeExchange continues to grow year over year, and the team has created 15 other websites in 15 languages to serve local populations. These websites use the same database of available properties, but the interface is tailored to the needs and desires of the membership community it serves.
The advantages and cost savings of the HomeExchange membership model are clear. When families can save up to 58% or more on their vacation expenses, everyone wins.