The British home swapping marketplace lists more than 75,000 homes in 160 locations and the takeover of its Dutch counterpart is part of an ongoing plan to absorb other businesses operating in the space .
Love Home Swap’s model requires interested consumers to register for a fee of £12-40 a month – the price varies depending on the chosen membership – to connect with likeminded people and trade homes for holidays, rather than use hotels.
Of course, Airbnb is a prolific travel industry disrupter, but those looking for accommodation are required to pay each time they want to stay somewhere, whereas Love Home Swap users pay the monthly fee in exchange for unlimited swaps.
The HomeForExchange takeover comes after Love Home Swapping secured what has been called a “strategic partnership” with hotel group Wyndham Worldwide – which translates into a reported investment of £7.5m. The merger now provides users access to some 100,000 properties globally.
Wosskow said: “We’re delighted to welcome HomeForExchange to the Love Home Swap family. They’ve built an impressive community of swappers over the past few years, particularly across mainland Europe.
“We have ambitious plans to expand the business globally and expect today’s deal to be one of a number of acquisitions we’ll make over the next 12-18 months.”
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Despite the merger, both firms will continue to operate under the existing brands. It marks the second acquisition Love Home Swap has made after taking over 1stHomeExchange back in 2013.
Wosskow was instrumental in allowing the UK to receive a government-backed trade body with the launch of the Sharing Economy (SEUK), which she is the chair of, back in March and has been trumpeting the industry. It’s resulted in an increasing number of members over the past nine months.
A notable development came in July when the SEUK struck a partnership with Oxford University to build consumer trust into the sector, ultimately to increase adoption that can lead to further scale and business growth.
Wosskow added: “We’ve seen a sharp increase in people signing up to Love Home Swap in 2015, as the Sharing Economy becomes part of the mainstream and more and more people look to stay in homes when they travel.
“We’re well set for home swapping to become a major part of the alternative accommodation scene as we move into 2016.”
Love Home Swap was inspired by Christmas film The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz – given the time of year, it’s perhaps likely the company can expect to see an increase in bookings.
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