The membership fee, along with required profile, picture and proof of identification, provide a security check. And all hosts must be verified with a phone call from The Freebird Club.
According to an article in The Telegraph, The Freebird Club allows members to view profiles of hosts and guests and the property listings include specifics about preferred level of interaction with guests and their home’s accessibility. The site allows members to contact hosts but they can not initiate a request to stay without an invitation from a host, forcing members to engage and discuss their travel plans before booking lodging. Also of interest is the ability of members to set up alerts for someone else (a friend, child, etc) who will then have access to some information about their bookings to keep an eye on the member’s activities, presumably to help ensure safety.
Hosts in The Freebird Club decide what price per night to charge, and since I can’t join I don’t know what the pricing range looks like, but I’d imagine it’s similar to AirBnb. Hopefully someone who joins can comment on this review and fill us in on more details about how many listings they have and how it works.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the benefits of hosted home exchanges and other peer-to-peer lodging options that involve significant interaction with hosts. I think it’s an incredible opportunity for travelers, and I like the social travel approach of The Freebird Club. I’m happy to see a network focused on older travelers although I wish I could be a part of this and get to know these hosts/travelers myself. At least it’s something to look forward to as I age!