Let us introduce the Freebird Club: a peer-to-peer travel website for the over 50s that connects travellers with spare rooms. The Telegraph describes it as “a more personal, more sociable Airbnb for the senior generation.” And we like the sound of that!
Peter Mangan, the 45-year-old founder, discovered the idea after his father began welcoming his guests on AirBnB. He found that the closer in age the guests were to his father, the more likely it would be that they all ended up at the pub together.
Mangan realised that what was lacking in AirBnB for his father’s peer group was the social structure. This emphasis on the social aspect is a key component to the Freebird Club, as guests are “always staying with somebody, not just getting the keys to their apartment”.
Mangan notes that because of improvements in life expectancy and health, “We are living, on average, 15 to 20 years more than our great-grandparents. Which brings up lots of challenges and opportunities.” It also brings more time for holidays!
Far from being a sleeping giant, this generation has already begun to make the most of a digitally connected world. In fact, AirBnB noted that the number of hosts aged 60 and above grew by 128 per cent last year, making it the website’s fast-growing demographic.
The company takes 12% commission from guests and 3% from the hosts per booking. They also ask members to pay a £21 joining fee, which acts as a security check. Travellers must then make a profile, with a picture and submit evidence of identification. All hosts are vetted by the Freebird Club and both guests and hosts can see the profiles of other hosts, rather than only their properties.
The Freebird Club also asks hosts their preferred level of interaction as well as details on the property’s accessibility – handy for travellers with mobility issues. Mangan is also looking at creating a discounted Interrail pass, so it won’t just be 20-something backpackers zipping around Europe in the years to come!
Are you ready to meet new friends? Why not give the Freebird Club a try for your next adventure?
Remember, wherever you end-up, don’t forget to take your travel insurance. For a fair and swift quote, compare your medical travel insurance.