What is iStopOver All About?
When we started this business, our focus was on doing something new. We wanted
to solve “problems”, both in what people care about, and how they were doing
things. We wanted to be relevant. And we wanted to do something that would make
We also want to
create a real viable business that works well with the Brightspark model.
iStopOver was born from a number of different global
– The economy was
starting to falter in the fall of 2008 and the real estate crunch in the US was
starting. We knew that people needed to find new ways to make extra money and
we knew that people were looking to save money.
– People still want
(and need) to travel, and were looking for new alternatives. At the bottom end
of the market, couchsurfing is flourishing. Aimed at a mostly young and very
budget minded travelers, couchsurfing lets people stay over on a couch at each
other’s homes while traveling. Its not something that most people would
consider, but is a phenomenon that should not be ignored. At the other end of
the market, the vacation condo rental market is also growing. Dominated by
companies such as Homeaway, they are a great way to rent out vacation property
when not being used by their owners.
We identified a large
gap in between the two – a market for people to rent out excess capacity in
their homes. After speaking to many homeowners with available space, working
closely with new and established bed and breakfast owners and domain experts in
travel, we learned that there are many potential “hosts” considering renting
out excess space in their homes as an alternative to hotels.
Most people who are
already in the business of renting out excess rooms in their homes use listing
sites such as Craigslist. When we spoke to these hosts, we found that most are
really unhappy with these listing services. And when they try and launch there
own website, they are overwhelmed with having to focus on traffic, search
engine optimization (SEO), technology, credit cards.
So, we decided to
create iStopOver as a focal point of all these phenomena. With our extensive
experience of Internet businesses and using new Internet marketing tools such
as social media, we quickly realized that this business is ideal for the
current Internet marketplace.
The focus on
iStopOver is to become a focal point for travelers, looking for an alternative
to hotels, to meet homeowners looking to rent out excess space in their homes.
We have spent our time learning what travelers (we call them guests) are
looking for, and what homeowners (we call them hosts) are looking for.
iStopOver is the result – we are the facilitator of the process.
iStopOver is also currently focusing on bringing soccer fans from around the
world to World Cup 2010 by providing them with World Cup
Accommodation via connecting them to South African