September 21st, 2009

Second Porch: Thanks to Facebook ‘It’s complicated’ no longer applies to vacation rentals


Second Porch: Thanks to Facebook ‘It’s complicated’ no longer applies to vacation rentals

While my blogging empire hasn’t reached the level where I’ve got a “home away from home,” there’s a good chunk of the ever-aging Facebook demographic that does. Maybe it’s a house at the coast. Or maybe it’s a cabin in the mountains. Whatever the case, as the economy continues to tank, those owners are looking for ways to make sure that someone is using those properties—as much as possible.

And that’s where folks like me come into the picture. I’ve got a great deal of interest in renting those properties from time to time—especially if they’re affordable. And when I do, where do I go for recommendations? That’s right: friends and family.

If only there were an app that connected the haves with the have nots. You know, socially. Well, now there is. A Facebook app from Portland called Second Porch.

How’s it work? I’m glad you asked.

Second Porch integrates with Facebook’s wall stream messaging, which allows friends to discover their friends’ vacation rental homes (and the application) through tasteful updates, photos, and teasers. Simple to use filters help users to find homes using standard features, including rate, number of bedrooms, and location; along with unique filters for relationship and whether available for rent or trade.

If you’re an owner, you can let your contacts know when your property is available. If you’re a renter, you can keep an eye on the stream and find some good deals on somewhere to stay. Or forward information to a friend who may be looking. Win win.

And who knows? Maybe that friend finds something big and cheap—and then suddenly you get invited along. Oh my. Another win.

What’s that? Think vacation rentals sounds like a limited market? Well, think again. According to Second Porch, it’s a $50 billion industry. Yes, with a “b.”

As I always say, you’re much better off finding a good technical solution for a seemingly boring target market than you are chasing the next shiny object. And it seems like Second Porch may have done exactly that.

And if Second Porch can pull this one off, something tells me the model would work equally well with properties that have longer leases—like rentals.

For more information, see Second Porch or the press release announcing the open beta. Or you can always follow @secondporch on Twitter. Already convinced? You can head over to Facebook to install the app.

Background that may help (or may not)

7 Responses to “Second Porch: Thanks to Facebook ‘It’s complicated’ no longer applies to vacation rentals”

  1. Jmartens says:

    I like this idea….installing now! (nope, I’m not an owner, yet)

  2. Nice writeup of our facebook application by silicon florist – thanks!
    http://bit.ly/YOucd

  3. Jason Frome says:

    We’re on board. it’s a great site and simple to navigate for the renter. we look forward to growing as the app grows and gets even better.
    http://apps.facebook.com/secondporch/properties/44

  4. As both a vacation rental owner and a vacation rental user, I think Second Porch offers all the advantages that social media in general offers. In a nutshell, the biggest advantage is honest communication.

    As a VR owner, my profile on Facebook literally lets my “friends” (which can be true friends, friends of friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.) know who I am. And I am also able to discern when I get an inquiry if this is for real since I see immediately who is contacting me.

    Right now, the biggest open question on Vacation Rentals from a renter’s perspective is whether an owner is truly the owner, and from an owner’s perspective the question is whether the inquiry is sincere.

    Rental guests will know who it is they are contacting and property owners will know who is contacting them. It’s an unbeatable formula for starting a dialogue with transparency as its base.

    I am on Facebook/Second Porch, both free, and also advertise on a dozen paid for vacation rental portals.

    Social media channels like Facebook and Second Porch may or may not knock paid for advertising right out of the box. But I have no doubt at all that they will give them some real competition and simultaneously offer an improved process for finding, renting and communicating.

  5. [...] that embraces the world of social media—and makes it business worthy. Like Jive Software, Second Porch, and Webtrends, ShopIgniter is at the forefront of making the social network the next bastion of [...]

  6. [...] that embraces the world of social media—and makes it business worthy. Like Jive Software, Second Porch, and Webtrends, ShopIgniter is at the forefront of making the social network the next bastion of [...]

  7. [...] Not bad for a company whose open beta started in Q4 of 2009. [...]


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