Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will This Be Another Emerging Accommodation Sector?

I must admit having an unhealthy disrespect for motel-dodging, road hogging caravans and campervans. I consider them to be a blight on the landscape and generally inhabited by mean-spirited misers that are too tight to pay-up for decent accommodation.

So please don't tell anyone, but I think a new proposed startup company that plans to act as a catalyst for owners of unused caravans and campervans languishing in Kiwi backyards to rent them out to others is onto a winner.

No doubt the idea for the new start up company was influenced from the apparent success of AA's Bookabach and TradeMe's Holidayhouses that operate a similar concept by matching owners of private holiday homes with short term renters.

Judging by the growing web traffic generated by Bookabach and Holidayhouses (and the excitable buzz amongst my wife's 40-something friends), it would appear that there is growing demand for alternative accommodation such as holiday rentals. It doesn't seem to be such a stretch to expect a similar success with a web-based business reselling private campervans.

The overall concept seems to fit-in well with the Kiwi psyche of trying new holiday experiences to save a dollar: ie most Kiwis have short arms and long pockets ;-)
Kiwis with a campervan in the driveway can soon earn income from renting out the holiday-on-wheels to other travellers, while they are stuck in the office.

At "54 hour startup sprint" Startup Weekend in Wellington from February 16-18, local IT sales executive Dean Goble's idea for person-to-person motor home rental and letting service WagonShare won from 30 ideas pitched.

Startup Weekend is a global initiative where concepts for companies are tested during an intensive period of brainstorming, networking and business planning under the guidance of experts such as professional angel investor Dave Moskovitz.

WagonShare, where people can rent caravans directly from the owners, was just an idea on Friday but now Goble has won prizes including $10,000 of Trade Me advertising, a domain name and $500 cash from Hyperstart to get the business off the ground.

While touring California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona recently on the trip of a lifetime with his wife, Louise, and three children, Rosemary, Matthias and Charlotte, 46-year-old Goble found the rental process for a temporary RV overly sterile.

"When it came to dealing with the big corporate motorhome vendors, I just thought there has got to be a better way, a nicer way, for someone to rent a motorhome from someone else who cares about the person's motorhome experience."

Motorhome owners cannot list their own vehicle for rent in New Zealand without a Transport Service Licence to operate a rental service, which WagonShare deals with. It will also handle insurance, roadside assistance services and payment processing on behalf of consumers and vehicle owners.
At the Startup Weekend Goble got his ideas down on paper, formulated a business plan and was given some background about running a business. Market validation came back with results that three-quarters of people surveyed would use WagonShare's service and another 19 per cent would consider it.

WagonShare's main income would come from a percentage of the rental fee but vehicle owners would set their own prices, letting the market decide what renters were prepared to pay. The website would have a rating and comments system for owners and renters to indicate satisfaction.

Goble would require motorhome owners to meet certain standards to have their vehicles certified.

Source: Click HERE

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