Photo credit: Bruno Girin/Flickr

Brief: is the latest addition to the growing home accommodation industry, joining Airbnb, Couchsurfing and others circumventing the traditional hotel/motel/hostel industry.

The concept involves home owners or tenants offering either a room or their whole house to guests for no charge. The incentive for the host is that their generosity earns them free nights at someone else’s home the next time they travel.

The website is selling the concept as “responsible tourism” and says that it encourages people to “travel alternatively”, providing the opportunity to stay in real neighbourhoods and get exposure to areas outside the typical tourist zones.

“This new ‘back to the roots’ way of travelling is enjoyed by many for its friendly and humane aspect, the authenticity of the experience and the fact that no money is involved,” a press release said.

All homeowners and tenants are protected from damaged property and other problems by insurance policies, privacy policies and contracts. The creators admits there is an element of risk, but that the values it encourages are “respect and reliability”. Hosts can also speak with potential guests online and approve or decline guests as they see fit.

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