New web-based accommodation portal developed locally

A NEW web-based accommodation portal targeting touring professionals, set to rival Airbnb, has been developed locally and should be running for Bluesfest next year.

The new sharing economy accommodation portal is called Indie Homes, and will reduce the guesswork and risks involved with choosing short to medium term accommodation over the internet, innovator Tess Hall said.

The film-maker and communications specialist has recently settled in Byron Bay but spends hundreds of nights a year on the road.

She has had plenty of surprises along the way.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Ms Hall said she booked a room in a house for 12 nights but arrived in a heat wave to find a pile of rubbish littering the kitchen and a flatmate who was "quite unstable".

She said she couldn't stay there and instead had to spend a small fortune finding alternate accommodation at short notice.

"Hotels and homeowners have a tendency to overstate exactly what they offer," Ms Hall said.

"I have first hand experience of this, and I saw a gap in the market about 18 months ago," she said.

On her new site the descriptions of what is on offer and the advantages of the location will be assessed independently.

It is also based on a business to business model, which will help develop a more professional relationship between the parties.

Ms Hall already has a pilot website (http://indiehomes.com/) up and running and hopes to have 10 accommodation sites available by Easter next year for Bluesfest, and 20 sites ready to go by July.

The website is being marketed to musicians, artists and other touring professionals who spend a lot of time on the road, she said.

Indie Homes is for members by invite only and features personally vetted clients and accommodation.

Indie Homes was voted as one of the best new business ideas at a recent Startup Weekend put on by StartInno.

The 54-hour event held in Byron Bay aimed to "educate, support, and empower people to become entrepreneurs".



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