Holiday Swap is making another publicity push to expand their travel hospitality network. And they’re making some bold claims: 240,000 users worldwide. That’s the count from founder James Asquith in an interview with TODAY. Or maybe they have 100,000 members in 184 countries. That’s what it says on the Holiday Swap website. Either number represents astronomical growth from their claim of 10,000 just seven months ago. A claim which, at that time I found impossible to verify and likely filled with fake listings.
The good news is, a few more of the Holiday Swap listings now appear to be real. At least some in the app are more convincing. But still, just browsing through a few cities I see odd pictures in many listings and lots of very brief and uninteresting home descriptions.
If they are real, it looks like a lot of these listings were not created with the serious intent of swapping homes or even hosting guests. There is a requirement to upload photos when creating a profile. It’s possible the profiles are real, but these folks are all just looking for hosted lodging.
None of these pictures give me a lot of confidence in the listings. And the number of listings I’m shown just doesn’t match up with their membership claims. If they really have 240,000 users, with a quarter of those in the United States, I would expect to see more than 3 homes in Seattle. In San Francisco I found more listings, but almost all of them look fake, with pictures of couches or bed mattresses, blank walls, and toilets, just like I found last time I checked the app.
There’s a section in the app to see who has liked your home. This works like Tinder: if they like you and you like them back then you can chat about setting up a home swap. A few of mine look like real listings. A few appear to be dating requests. And a few are just obviously fake listings of nothing.
There’s no way to verify their membership claims, but I continue to be very suspicious of Holiday Swap. They seem to be just making up bigger and bigger numbers in an attempt to manifest a huge membership. The app is not easy to use to find places you might stay, and certainly doesn’t engender trust in their system.