Homestay.com Pioneer New Video Tool to Revolutionise Travel
Video chat reinforces point of difference for brand that puts people at the centre of travelling Homestay.com, the digital marketplace for hosted accommodation, is set to revolutionise the travel and accommodation sector with the launch of a new digital platform.
The tool, called Homestay Communicate, sees video call technology integrated into the Homestay.com website, allowing guests and hosts to see and speak with each other as part of the booking process.
The new innovation highlights the brand’s point of difference – with Homestay.com the host is always present – and reinforces the importance Homestay.com places on the relationship between guests and hosts.
The first phase of Homestay Communicate launches today (March 16), with phase two, the integration of the tool into the new Homestay.com app, set to happen next month. Homestay Communicate has been designed with simplicity in mind. All that’s required to use it is a webcam and an up-to-date web browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera). Guests and hosts can choose to video call each other once an initial booking request has been sent, though there is also the option to just use audio. After a booking has been made Homestay Communicate enables users to stay in touch, if they wish, to discuss the finer details of an upcoming trip e.g. airport pickup, best places to visit etc.
Since 2013, Homestay.com has provided a frictionless digital interface, connecting guests with their ideal homestay. In a homestay a guest will stay in the home of a local while they are there.
The homestay model transforms the guest experience from ‘visit’ to ‘live it’. Homestay Communicate is the latest move from the company that is committed to putting people - guests and hosts - at the centre of the Homestay.com experience.
Homestay.com CEO, Alan Clarke, said: “At Homestay.com, we know that people are at the heart of a great homestay experience. Homestay Communicate is just one of the tools we’re launching this year to put our guests and hosts at the centre of the Homestay.com experience, creating a real point of difference from our competitors.”
Homestay Communicate was developed on TokBox’s OpenTok Platform. TokBox CEO, Scott Lomond, commented: “We’ve supported a number of major innovations and industry firsts, and we're excited for Homestay.com in bringing this evolution to the shared economy travel and accommodation sector. TheOpenTok Voice and Video Platform is used by hundreds of leading companies around the world, including Mozilla, Bridgestone and Double Robotic, and now Homestay.com.”
There are 30,000 Homestay.com hosts around the globe, based in 140 different countries. Guests have booked more than 100,000 nights on Homestay.com to date.
Launched in 2013, Homestay.com provides an established global community with the digital marketplace for accommodation called homestays - staying in the home of a local while they are there. The fact that the ‘host is always present’ sets Homestay.com apart from its competitors as it transforms the guest experience from ‘visit’ to ‘live it’, recognising the importance of people (guest and host) in making homestay experiences. Moving this globally known and long-standing offline industry online, Homestay.com provides a frictionless digital interface to connect guests with their ideal homestay host. To this end, it is a leading player in the emerging ‘shared experience’ economy.
Homestay.com has also pioneered the “pop-up” homestay network, designed to solve acute accommodation shortages, mitigating price rises, and to help local communities benefit from large-scale local events. Homestay.com is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. Homestay.com chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay, and former Chairman of Hostelworld. CEO is Alan Clarke, formerly of Yahoo!, McKinsey and Company and Paddypower.
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