GuesttoGuest, the largest global community for home exchange, has announced that it has acquired US-based international home swapping company HomeExchange. The acquisition marks a turning point in the travel industry as the two join together to create the world’s undisputed leader of the home swapping market with more than 400,000 homes in their collective inventory.
Looking to revolutionize the travel industry by making home exchange the mainstream vacation alternative, GuesttoGuest founders Charles-Edouard Girard and Emmanuel Arnaud raised more than $35 million for the acquisition of HomeExchange as well as the external growth and product development of both platforms.
ÒGuesttoGuest has already seen spectacular growth since it was founded in 2011,” said Mr Girard.Ê”In just three years the number of homes on the website increased six-fold (from 38,000 in 2014 to 280,000 today). HomeExchange, a key player in the US home swapping market for almost three decades, will help unify and grow this community with their domestically and internationally recognized trademark brand.”
While there will be strong affinity between platforms, both brands will remain separate and continue to function within their own targeted spaces and membership base. GuesttoGuest boasts 280,000 home listings in 187 countries and is particularly popular in European markets while HomeExchange boasts 67,000 home listings in 150 countries and is strongly established in the United States market. The combination of GuesttoGuest and HomeExchange will allow expanded, synergistic coverage of the travel market. GuesttoGuest will remain free for users and target a younger audience while HomeExchange, which charges an annual membership fee depending on level of access, will continue pursuing a more established type of traveler in search of premium experiences. With the purchase of HomeExchange, GuesttoGuest is now in a position to internationally serve a wide range of users, from young urban professionals to families with kids and active retirees.
By combining these two global communities, the two French entrepreneurs establish a game-changing alternative to platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.ÊThrough home exchange, travelers can benefit from completely free accommodations around the world without any money changing hands. Staying in a real family home and having the chance to live like a local makes the experience completely different and unique.ÊMoreover, home exchange does not have any of the drawbacks which have led to pushback against rental platforms including taxes, bans, and other issues currently plaguing large cities and touristic areas.
ÒWe are convinced that the practice of home exchange is reaching a turning point and will soon become the next big thing in tourism,” said Mr Girard.Ê”The acquisition of HomeExchange will create the largest and most active community of home exchangers in the world. In two years’ time we plan on having more than one million travelers organizing their vacations through home exchange.”
GuesttoGuest‘s continued success and purchase of HomeExchange has been made possible through its partner MAIF, a French mutual insurance company and longstanding advocate for the development of a collaborative society. “When we first came across GuesttoGuest a couple of years ago, we were immediately attracted to this original project, aimed at giving hospitality the power and scale of a peer-to-peer platform,” said Pascal Demurger, CEO of MAIF.Ê”It is now a great pleasure to keep supporting GuesttoGuest in strengthening its position as the world leader in home swapping.”