From an award-winning converted winery in Austria, to cave houses in Thailand, and cliffside mansions in Phuket – a new era of designer travel has emerged that fuses hotel sophistication with a ‘live like a local philosophy’.
Last month’s Australian launch of Roomorama, a fast growing online peer-to-peer short-term travel accommodation platform, is set to herald an array of new options for astute travellers.
“We came up with the idea while working full-time, being stuck between our professional obligations and persistent wanderlust,” says chief executive officer Federico Folcia who, along with chief operating officer Jia En Teo, co-founded and Roomorama in New York, January 2009.
“We began to rent out our New York apartment to subsidise our holidays and we realised there was a real appetite for this sort of platform to be created in a secure and convenient environment.”
The concept quickly proliferated and today Roomorama boasts a portfolio of 30,000 properties across the globe including 750 Australian dwellings predominantly in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns.
Folcia says with the couch-surfing phenomenon often limited only to backpackers there existed a need to serve a wider travel populace.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
“We recognised there was a gap in the market for the sophisticated traveller who wants to live like a local but doesn’t want to share an apartment or sacrifice the style, luxury and convenience of staying in a hotel.”
Today’s discerning ‘tourists’ seek to immerse themselves in the instrinsic style of the country they’re visiting with people moving away from “sterile, impersonal hotels” to homes in “authentic” neighbourhoods En Teo says.
“With that in mind, we especially look for host properties that are unique and unusual and have particularly special design and architectural features.”
Roomorama centres on bringing together home owners, property managers and travellers searching for a local experience. The result is affordable worldwide accommodation via a standardised, safe and secure platform where hosts and guests are privy to a signature Perks Programme providing users with local deals and worldwide discounts.
Prices typically range between $150 and $300 per night with stays varying from one to 90 days.
The company also provides accommodation under a series of novel travel themes, some of which include Urbanite, History Buff, Adventure, Spiritual, Romantic, Wine Country, Sea Lovers and Events.
Australians are already among the site’s top five most frequent users and En Teo says the company is confident the concept will have widespread appeal across the nation.