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The trouble with holiday rentals and how a British company is making a difference

Attending a conference in London recently we decided to forgo a hotel and instead stay in an apartment with one of the growing number of holiday rentals companies.

These companies have become increasingly popular so we decided to sample HouseTrip’s ‘living like a local’ philosophy.

It’s this philosophy that has, in part, fuelled the popularity of holiday rentals. The fact that your accommodation amounts to more than just a hotel room, and you have space to spread out in a house or apartment. It’s also a chance to spend time in an area where ‘real’ people live – rather than a city centre hotel.

Living room of HouseTrip holiday rentals apartment, London

Living room of the London holiday rentals apartmentOpen plan dining in HouseTrip holiday rentals luxury London apartmentThe O2 and Docklands from Emirates Airline

We wanted good quality accommodation close to Excel, London. And that is what we found in a luxury two bedroom town-house in Greenwich Peninsula.

It was a spacious, modern property over two floors, with under-floor heating, a good Wi-Fi connection and three bathrooms – two of them en-suite. It could easily have slept six people and there was also a large open plan living area and fully equipped kitchen.

The property was set in a quiet, safe location, close to a mini-market and public transport, but there was also secure parking five minutes walk away.

Modern kitchen of HouseTrip holiday rentals apartment, London

One of the bedrooms of our HouseTrip holiday rentals apartmentHouseTrip apartment in London copyBath in one of the bedrooms of our holiday rentals apartment

 

Holiday rentals with HouseTrip

We found it very easy to make ourselves at home and our HouseTrip stay was a good one. However holiday rentals are not without their challenges.

One of the main issues affecting holiday rentals is the lack of a hospitality standard. Hotels have the star rating system. This is, of course, not without its flaws – different countries award star ratings for different criteria – but at least there is a standard to which they are rated. There is no standard for guests to judge holiday rentals by.

HouseTrip, founder and CEO, Arnaud Bertrand acknowledged this issue and said: “Our standards are high – we turn down around 30% of applications to list properties with us.

“We have a commitment towards the guest experience that is unsurpassed – after all, myself and the other founder of HouseTrip trained at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, the finest hotel management school in the world.

“So we also try to ensure hosts know how to provide great service. We have a training section on our site for them, where they get higher scores when they respond to guests promptly, provide ample photography in their property profiles, and make the HouseTrip experience more enjoyable.”

When booking a holiday rental be sure to check the property’s photos and its amenities – do they match your requirements and preferences – for example is the property family friendly?

With HouseTrip you can also ask the owner questions via the chat tools on their website, you can even ask the host for tips and advice on the local area. But you can also examine maps on the profile page to see what the neighbourhood is like.

Flying over London aboard the Emirates Airline, close to our HouseTrip holiday rentals apartment
London-based HouseTrip, which has over 280,000 properties in destinations across the world, also verifies every listing to ensure photo quality and that the description of the property matches the images.

Bertrand said: “We especially value reviews by previous guests of the property and encourage people to read through them when making selections.”

As an added protection to guests, HouseTrip also retains the rental fee from owners until 48 hours after guests have checked in, allowing them time to report any issues.

Our accommodation was excellent quality and based on our experience we would certainly use HouseTrip for holiday rentals accommodation again – it’s a great alternative to a hotel. But we’re also keen to see how this burgeoning area of accommodation develops and which companies will make a difference to the guest experience.

About

LiveShareTravel's founder and editor Sarah, has long been passionate about luxury travel and, with a nose for a deal, has helped many friends book trips as affordable as they are stylish. As a journalist and travel magazine editor with expert knowledge of shared ownership, starting LiveShareTravel was a natural progression. She can't live without her smartphone, loves dancing (especially salsa), wine and massages; and is never happier than when she's wandering the world. She is co-author of The Luxury Traveller's Handbook.

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