The Room Xchange is a vision Ludwina is so passionately drawn to for many reasons. It’s a concept that not only provides a solution for a few problems people are experiencing on a day-to-day basis; it’s also going to have an effect on the world in a really profound way.
A few years ago when my son left home, I remember every time I walked by his room I had an empty feeling. It’s commonly known as the ‘Empty Nest’ feeling.
After some time I then began to see the empty room as a cost centre. It was a spare bedroom, sitting idle, like many bedrooms across the world, costing money whether it’s your mortgage or rent.
There are actually 7,000,000 houses with empty rooms in Australia, (Finder.com). Which is crazy when you think of the high cost of living in Australia and the shortage of affordable rentals.
I did what many people have done and listed the room on Airbnb. I spent about $2k on getting the room ready, ensuring it was comfortable and inviting for any potential guests who might come our way. A couple of months later we had our first guest and in that year ended up with around 10 guests in our home. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the excitement and companionship of those people, I began to realise that I had created another cost to my life – my time. It took me around 4 hours each time I had a guest booking in to make sure that my home was ‘hotel ready’. When you have a guest stay, it’s not just about their bedroom; it’s about the entire house. The return on investment wasn’t there for me so I ceased.
A year or so later, my adult daughter was at a music festival. She received a lift home with a friend she met there called Guilliame who was on a travel visa from Canada. Upon their return, they were planning on spending some time together. We invited Guilliame to stay for dinner and then realised he was going to be sleeping in his van. I said ‘no, you can’t sleep in your van; stay in our guest room’. He was a little reluctant at first so I made him an offer. If he could do a couple of hours of help around the house each day, I would provide him with free food and accommodation. It was a win for him as he reduced his living expenses and it was a win for us because we got our evenings and weekend’s back.
In October last year, after many positive comments from people we knew and their desires to have their own ‘Guilliame’, we decided to build a business model around the idea. A year later, $200k of our own money and a lot of hard work and we’ve begun the journey.
Millennials are redefining what is important in terms of life experiences. They tend to have different financial priorities than the baby boomer generation, spending more than any other age group on overseas travel.
Millennials have also been reluctant to buy homes, cars, music and luxury goods. Instead, they’re turning to a new set of services that provide access to products without the burdens of ownership giving rise to what’s been called the ‘Sharing Economy’. (Goldman SCHS 2016)
Busy people with a spare room in their house, (cost centre) get matched up with guests/travellers who provide a couple of hours of help around the house each day, in Xchange for food and accommodation.
It’s that simple.
The host gets their evenings and weekends back and the guest/traveller massively reduces their cost of living/travel.
There is no money Xchanged hands between the host and the guest. The host provides their space and the guest provides their time. The Room Xchange provides the online marketplace for Xchangers to connect. We also provide an insurance policy for all our users giving them peace of mind. We operate on a ‘pay per use’ model. We charge a small fee of $2 a day, per user, per Xchange.
It’s such a wonderful thing to know that a life passion can produce global change.
We are going to change the way people live, using resources that already exist, so people can get more out of life.
Spread the word!