Lots of people are nervous about letting strangers stay in their home. That fear is probably the biggest hurdle to getting people to try out home exchange. MyPlace is embracing this hurdle. In 2019 MyPlace launched a network that facilitates home swaps, limited to your chosen community. But it’s not exactly home exchange. MyPlace is a hybrid between hospitality stays and Airbnb just for friends. They’re calling in home sharing.
There is no reciprocity in this home sharing system. Essentially MyPlace is taking the idea of hosting family and friends for a visit a step further. You open your home to your select community on dates of your choosing. Members can also choose to host friends of friends, as a part of their community.
You link in your friends by connecting your email or social media account. I have no friends (see below) because I didn’t link any accounts. It’s a bit of a privacy leap to allow a new website access to all of your contacts. But to find out who you know on the network, this is an efficient solution.
On MyPlace home sharing isn’t necessarily free. It’s up to each user to decide how much they want to charge guests. Financial transactions are not processed through the website. But there is a default tier system that sets up prices based on categories of guests: family, friends and acquaintances. The idea is to recover costs, not make a profit. So if you are paying rent on a fancy NYC apartment while traveling for a month, you might offer it to your friends at a price that covers your expenses. Or maybe you just want to recover the costs for utilities. Or you have the option to just host everyone for free.
MyPlace isn’t the first to build a hospitality network for friends. Friend Theory launched back in 2017. The website is still there, but their social media accounts are gone and the app no longer exists. Horizon was another similar hospitality network that shut down a few years ago.
Right now MyPlace is the only network I know of that’s tackling this hospitality niche. And for a pandemic launched travel company, they’re off to an impressive start. MyPlace raised $4.3M in funding in 2021. The network is in a closed beta, with about 500 listings and a waitlist of more than 7500. I hope to get access soon so I can try out the network and report back in more detail.