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50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2022

Holiday Swap – Creating a Hassle-free Travel Experience through Its Revolutionary Home Exchange Platform

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“We constantly strive to be the best in what we do, create transparent systems and practices within our business so that the customer ultimately benefits.”

Arranging a family getaway can typically be quite an expense, and with big suitcases, baby prams, bikes, sheets, and other miscellaneous items, it seems like an entire relocation. And sometimes, all for an accommodation that doesn’t even suit your family’s needs is horrifying. Those times are now over, thanks to Home-Swapping. By choosing to swap homes rather than booking a hotel, you can dramatically cut the cost of your family getaway, and it comes with great peace of mind.

Holiday Swap is one such company that continues to make it possible for individuals and their loved ones to enjoy a memorable, safe, and affordable vacation through its signature app. Heralded as a pioneer in this space, Holiday Swap works globally rather than locally, meaning you can see properties in more than 185 countries across six continents the app currently covers.

James Asquith, CEO of Holiday Swap, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review on how his company is helping people to enjoy their vacation.

Interview Highlights

Q. What was the motivation behind starting Holiday Swap?

Holiday Swap was never pre-planned, I used to work in investment banking, and after setting the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person to visit every country in the world, I wanted to create a platform that allowed people to travel for less.

I kept getting asked by many people how they could travel more. I was randomly on a flight from Romania to London and thought that traveling could be cheaper by creating a TRUE sharing economy platform, where users can remove the highest cost of travel (the accommodation) by using the accommodation they live into exchange and swap.

That’s how Holiday Swap was born, and we’ve become the largest home swapping platform in the world by users. Platforms like Airbnb aren’t what they once were for budgeters. Their prices have gone up; they’re expensive now. It used to be a case of renting out a spare room - now people are buying second properties to profit from it.

For us, it was genuinely: create a platform to save people money. I’m so inspired by the concept of genuinely saving people money to travel and making a platform I love, and everything we try to do at Holiday Swap inspires travel.

Q. Can you explain about your services in brief?

We are worldwide, in 185 countries now. People match their homes and swap. This means that the highest cost of travel, accommodation, is removed, allowing us to save money and travel more. Holiday Swap has been called the ‘travel tinder’ by Business Insider as people match based on their homes and then can be hosted or directly swapped. Much cheaper!

Hotel prices and homestays continue to go up in cost, so we wanted to make way for people to use the bed they sleep in to travel more and take away most of the expensive cost of accommodation. At Holiday Swap, we wanted to build a sharing platform that saves us money for things like flights and tours.

Q. How successful was your first project? Share the experience.

We’re continuing to see huge growth in user interest, and we have a lot of exciting new projects coming up as well. We like to think we are unique in what we are doing. Home swapping has been around for many years, but no one has really managed to scale it globally and with a strong tech platform behind it. There are homestay platforms where users have to spend money, like a hotel that we certainly compete with, but we are instead a trustworthy sharing economy platform where users swap their accommodation to save the price elsewhere that they’re traveling to. We want to keep growing the platform at Holiday Swap to offer even more options worldwide. No user has to swap when they match with someone, so there’s no reason why everyone can’t have their house on there to wait until they really want to use it.

The pandemic has hit hard, but we’re seeing a Renaissance in travel, and domestic and regional travel is on the rise. People will now still want to travel but be more cost-aware in the new economic climate. Not only is Holiday Swap affordable, but it’s a great community as well.

Q. “Earning the trust and respect of consumers all around the world is possible by delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?

When dealing with people’s homes, trust is paramount in the process of onboarding new users and giving them the confidence that we can deliver our promise to make accommodation cheaper for everyone and open up travel for those who want to see it. That is why we constantly strive to be the best in what we do, create transparent systems and practices within our business so that the customer ultimately benefits.

Q. What are the various technologies leveraged by you in your lead generation?

Our main channels for lead generation are Email, social media, Paid Ads, Influencers, PR, Ambassadors & Referral Codes. A great marketing strategy begins with identifying your target audience and understanding their needs. Therefore, in our lead generation campaigns, we recognize and reach our target audience through the right channels, in the right way, at the right time, aiming to turn leads into active users of our app where we can satisfy their needs.

Q. How do you protect the interests of the app users?

Home swapping has been a tried and tested concept for decades in Europe and expanding quickly around the world as a new and authentic way to travel and discover more of the local culture. We understand this, and our international team has collectively traveled to every country in the world, thus providing an authoritative perspective on how best to build an app around the traveler’s needs.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

Yes! We just launched Tokens, our brand new in-app currency to be earned and spent easily by our users. We listened to customer feedback and are delighted to offer users the option to swap and make instant bookings. New users earn tokens for signing up and building their profile, and they can redeem these with future travel, so your home becomes your key to the world. Since we launched Tokens, the number of homes on the map adopting this instant booking offering is 25% and growing, and we predict big things in the future!

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

We continue to offer even more options for more people to travel every corner of the globe affordably, bringing people together and connecting people regardless of borders. And a larger sharing economy that could offer more than exchanging homes in the future. Stay tuned!

The Visionary Leader Upfront

James Asquith is the founder and Chief Executive officer of Holiday Swap. He is the Official Guinness World Record setter and holder for being the youngest male to visit all 196 sovereign nations worldwide.

After traveling to South-East Asia on a gap year, James took an around-the-world tour lasting five years. He completed the challenge at the age of 24, and in 2015 James became a best-selling travel author with his biography about his record-breaking travels to every country in the world.

Having taken over 1,600 commercial flights over the last 10 years, James had a successful career in Investment Banking in London at HSBC, becoming Vice-President at Deutsche Bank and then Head of Corporate Bond trading at Sumitomo Mitsubishi (SMBC).

James has also featured as a keynote speaker at The New York Travel Show and has recently become an ambassador for the Mars Space Mission. James has also worked alongside UNICEF to raise money and awareness for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, and he personally visited Yemen recently to highlight the devastating situation to young people.

“For us, it was genuinely: create a platform to save people money. I’m so inspired by the concept of genuinely saving people money to travel and making a platform I love, and everything we try to do at Holiday Swap inspires travel.”