When you’re traveling it’s nice to pack light but this means it’s hard to fit in much adventure gear. I like to get around using just a carry on size backpack (my current luggage is a Tortuga pack) which works just fine for long term travel, but makes it a challenge to carry gear for some of the activities I enjoy (climbing, snorkeling, diving, snowshoeing). Renting gear from commercial shops can be expensive, so it’s a trade off between luggage (often with surcharges from the airlines for the larger stuff) and rentals. This is where peer-to-peer gear rentals come in as a useful service, especially for those of us who like adventure sports.
Benoit Ichard is one of the founders of el needO, a new peer-to-peer gear rental website based in Europe. I talked to him about the inspiration for his very new company and the future of equipment rental as a sharing economy business.
Share Traveler: What inspired you to create el needO?
Benoit Ichard: Both of us (co-founders) have been frustrated during a trip while thinking of renting something we needed without being able to find it easily!
ST: How long ago did you start working on el needO?
Ben: 4 month ago only.
ST: Do you think the market for peer to peer equipment rental for travelers already exists or is this something that will grow over time?
Ben: Peer to peer equipment rental already exists locally but that will be growing in the near future for travelers because local shop offers are not matching with needs.
ST: Tell me more about why you think people will use peer to peer rentals over local shops.
Ben: I think you go to a shop to rent common equipment like a bike or skis because it’s something that is usual for people. What happens if someone, that measures such as you and has the same size shoes, rents his ski set for 10 € in a peer to peer platform when here in Europe it costs around 20 € a day in a shop ? It’s about money but also about time in this case. Rentals ski shop are full of people when you arrive in the morning before the ski resort opening. When this guys i was talking about is only waiting for you!
ST: I see you collect a security deposit, do you think this will be sufficient insurance against theft or damage?
Ben: As many of the items are not so expensive, a security deposit can be set up at the equipment price, so yes we think it’s sufficient. But maybe users will ask for something more. We love to have feedback from our users and we are listening them!
ST: Where do you see the peer to peer gear rental business going in the next five years?
Ben: It will be big because it will be something normal for travelers as well as owners.