Trampolinn launched a new home exchange service in March, entering the rather crowded field of house swap sites which now includes 67 others. But their take on the home exchange is a bit different; they are focused on a points-based system. Only a few other home exchange programs use points right now, though there seems to be a trend in that direction. The basic idea is that you earn points for letting others stay in your home while you are away, and then redeem those points to stay in any of the other homes participating in the program (see my interview with the GuesttoGuest founder for more on points based swapping). And Trampolinn has added a new dimension to this by encouraging people to host guests on their couch or in a spare room, while they are home, similar to Couchsurfing. This greatly expands the availability of housing and makes it much easier for hosts to earn points.
While Couchsurfing, and other similar services, rely on the generosity of the community to ensure that hosts end up finding places to stay when they need it (aka karma), Trampolinn formalizes the return on your hosting investment with this points system. Those opposed to points based house swapping will not like Trampolinn anymore than they like GuesttoGuest or LoveHomeSwap, but for people open to this new approach in home exchange Trampolinn offers an innovative take on the system.
Trampolinn also allows people to purchase points. As the Ambassadeur chez Trampolinn explained to me: “We wanted 100% free exchanges to be possible just by creating a listing and hosting Trampolinn members. But if a member lacks point for a more ‘expansive’ destination or didn’t have the opportunity to receive another Trampolinn member, he can compensate by buying the missing points in order to book the desired location.”
It is free to join the site, and Trampolinn currently has about 5000 listings, a decent showing for such a short time with a live public site. These listings are concentrated in Europe, mostly in France. They do seem to have a number of people listing just a room or bed, rather than an entire house, which is in keeping with the couchsurfing/swapping hybrid concept.
Trampolinn also told me about their concierge offering: “When a visitor doesn’t find the place he is looking for, he can fill a ‘vacation plan’ form to tell us what his wishes are. Then, we will find a place that suits his needs.”
As I’ve written before, selecting a home exchange service can be a daunting task. Trampolinn expands the options and brings some innovative ideas to this growing and evolving sector of the sharing economy.