September 21st, 2009
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.
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.