Wimdu to check-in with global insurance, traveller protection to follow

Wimdu is to follow rival Airbnb with the introduction of a policy to protect property hosts in the next few weeks.

wimdu SF

The company says it’s currently talking to insurance companies to devise a “global solution” for all its markets. The move comes just weeks after Airbnb created a similar “guarantee” scheme for hosts to claim for damage to properties.

UK chief and co-founder Michael Riegel said the plan was to come up with a scheme that would help hosts and not just be a ‘random guarantee.’

In the short term the insurance will protect hosts, but in stark contrast to its arch rival, Wimdu is planning in the longer term to also add protection for travellers.

In the meantime, Riegel says the company has a number of checks and measures in place to help protect property owners.

Not only does it run credit checks on guests but, more interestingly, it uses its 400-strong team to go out and meet many guests.

“It’s sustainable to do this from time to time. We will never say we want to meet every guest but we randomly select a few.”

Other measures include an owner-set deposit system. In addition, Wimdu does not pay the host until 24 hours after check-in so the traveller has some recourse.

The company also says that on average travellers and hosts exchange eight messages before a booking is made.

“Things can happen. They’re very unlikely but we need to make sure that if something does happen we can deal with it.”

As for that $90 million Wimdu bagged in June, Riegel says it will go towards expanding the concept further internationally. The company wants to tackle India as well as North Africa.

“We want to offer the traveller the ability to go anywhere so a major part of the money will go on ensuring a global presence with human resources in each country.”

Marketing will not be a big cash burner because the community is building itself nicely, he says, although there will continue to be investment in online such as Facebook marketing and other social networks as well as a newly launched affiliate scheme in the UK.

One final word on the sellers of travel debate that is raging within the sector – Wimdu has checked legislation in its home market of Germany and doesn’t believe it breaches laws elsewhere.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.

 

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  1. Nicole

    In line with the comments here, as a Roomorama employee, I’d like to add that Roomorama prides itself on its preventive measures. We require that all hosts are validated before their listings go live, and we also do due diligence on guests when they book. The security deposit requirement on Roomorama is also set in a way that has kept folks accountable and respectful of host properties. Since the beginning, Roomorama has not traded safety for volume. We want to make sure our community is safe and secure, before the bad things happen. That being said, we are also working on an insurance policy to cover hosts in cases of damages. This, coupled with our preventive measures, will make Roomorama a more secure and reliable community.

     
  2. Chris Martin

    Has anyone used the company Deposit Guard to book their vacation. Looks good. Thinking about using them for Thanksgiving family trip. Please let me know.

     
  3. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    I concur with Murray here. The protection has to be with the consumer. The laundry list of items that are covered by various regulations are there for a reason. The P2P model has a great number of attractions. But if the risk factors are too high then no money or insurance policy can provide true trust.

    It is important to sensitize the consumer to the basic facts of what a P2P “booking” means and the differences with conventional hotels are.

    The business question will be whether the model will actually scale. IE In looking at leveling the playing field between the conventional hospitality options and private rentals, when all things are considered, that differential may not be attractive as the investors first thought.

    Looking at the comments on the prior post https://www.tnooz.com/2011/08/16/news/why-the-belle-has-no-clothes-at-the-rental-marketplace-ball/ – makes it fairly obvious that there are significant legal challenges that must be overcome before a normalized P2P marketplace can be truly competitive with conventional lodging options.

    Sometimes if something sounds too good to be true. It just maybe. For all concerned. Caveat Emptor applies.

    Cheers

     
  4. Murray Harrold

    They really don’t get this, do they. It is not about the owner, it’s about the customer, who is booking. It’s the guarantee that the customer gets as to a) What has been booked, is booked and b) That they have an assurance that the person who is renting them the property, is not either a homicidal maniac or that the whole place has been rigged with cameras and c) That the lovely place which appears on the site is well, the lovely place that appears on the site and not two cardboard boxes, third arch along.

    These people have a fixation with insurance. Oh! It’s all right, we have arranged an insurance policy … No, it isn’t. An insurance policy is there in case something goes wrong… and the idea is, that things do not go wrong in the first place. It’s an assurance in that sense, not a panacea.

    It’s about vetting properties, vetting owners. It’s about surety of a booking and it’s about knowing who to turn to if things go wrong. It’s about taking possession of the responsibilty for a booking.. which, unlike these cowboys, *responsible* “vacation” property letting firms (such as Interhome or English Country Cottage etc) do.

    Somewhere else, there was talk of someone being told at a Dragons Den not understanding the market. They don’t… I would add (and much more importantly, perhaps) they do not understand the customer in any holistic sense nor do they understand “the booking”.

     
 
 

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