A new startup called The Winston Club is offering travelers the opportunity to book hotel rooms at just 50 percent of their cost. Obviously, there’s a catch – they have to be willing to share the room with complete strangers.
“We started Winston Club because we felt there should be an easy way for people to connect when they’d like a low-cost way to access the comfort and convenience of a hotel,” said founder Byron Shannon. “We wanted a safe, reliable, economical solution that provided a better experience than hostels or CouchSurfing alternatives.”
Photo: The Winston Club
Byron said that he came up with the idea after he listed his own property on Airbnb when he was out of town for two days. “(My guest) needed to stay there for three nights, and I was only going to be out of town for two,” he said. “I assumed it couldn’t be too difficult to find another host downtown for me to spend one night at.”
“I set out looking for a low cost option. I messaged a few clean, close Airbnb spots I could find, and had no success. I certainly didn’t want to dish out $150 or $200 on a hotel room,” he added. “Frustrated, I wondered why there wasn’t a way for me to split the cost of a room with someone else at one of the nice hotels nearby. There were plenty of open rooms available, and surely a good portion of them had two beds.”
Later, Byron met with a friend who worked at a hotel, talked about his vision, and came up with the idea of getting random strangers together to share the cost of expensive hotel rooms. He eventually worked out the details, and is all set to launch the service in select cities along America’s West Coast – Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland.
Photo: The Winston Club
Safety is naturally a top concern, but Byron assures everyone that his screening procedure is quite stringent. “Safety is a top priority and it goes right along with ensuring we have a well-vetted community of members,” he explained. “All of our members must produce five forms of verification – phone number and professional email at account setup, one verified social media account and credit card at booking, and one photo ID at check-in. Members must pre-approve pairings before the reservation is complete.”
“Rather than staying with an anonymous stranger, you’re sharing a space with someone who has been screened and is accountable for their actions,” he said, admitting that the concept is unconventional and not for everybody. “Room-sharing isn’t for everyone – or all the time. We get it. We personally wouldn’t want to share a room with someone who we wouldn’t click with either.”
“Winston appeals to the growing segment of consumers who are comfortable and familiar with the sharing economy and operate on a self-funded travel budget.”
The company is currently accepting membership applications online. Several people have apparently signed up, mostly between the ages of 20 and 35.
Source: FOX News