It’s exactly why home sharing sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are so successful: finding a home away from home offers a more authentic experience than staying at the same hotel you’ve visited in a dozen other cities. But in reality, most people’s networks aren’t that far-reaching.
And when it comes to vacation rentals, for women traveling alone, the idea of checking into a home run by a stranger, wherever it may be, isn't always an appealing choice. Golightly, a recently launched private home-sharing platform for women, hopes to bridge the gap—and make women feel safer on the road.
In essence, it’s a highly organized—and revenue driving—version of the various travel Facebook groups you may already be a part of. The goal is to create a community that connects female travelers with likeminded people, creating a global network they feel safe in. To do so, Golightly started small, with a plan to grow out the number of users by way of friends of friends. A person joins, and after being vetted and accepted, they can invite five friends.
Once users are logged in, they can then browse homes around the world and see how hosts are connected to them before booking a place to stay. This network adds a layer of accountability when it comes to actually staying in someone’s home, says Golightly Founder Victoria O’Connell. Travelers are encouraged to leave reviews to note places in the neighborhood they enjoyed and felt safe at, too, whether it be a café with solid Wi-Fi or a restaurant with great food.
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