The Winston Club is a new startup that provides travelers with the opportunity of booking hotel rooms at only 50% of their cost. What’s the catch? The travelers will be sharing the room with complete strangers.
Founders of this unique startup, Byron Shannon said, “We started Winston Club because we felt there should be an easy way for people to connect when they’d like a low-cost way to access the comfort and convenience of a hotel. We wanted a safe, reliable, economical solution that provided a better experience than hostels or CouchSurfing alternatives.”
As per Byron, he came up with this idea after listing down his property on Airbnb when he was headed out of town for two days and it turned out that his guest had to stay there for three nights. He concluded that it wouldn’t be too difficult to look for another host downtown where he could spend one night at.
He says he started looking out for a low cost option and had no success at all. He wasn’t willing to spend $150-200 on a hotel room and wondered why there wasn’t a way of splitting the cost of the room with someone else at any of the hostels.
Byron talked with his friend that worked in a hotel and they both came up with the idea of getting strangers to share the cost of an expensive hotel room. He worked out the details and is ready to launch this amazing service in selected cities along America’s West Coast – Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco.
As expected, safety is the major concern here but Byron was reassuring in that his screening procedure is quite stringent and aims at providing quite a safe experience to the users. He said, “Safety is a top priority and it goes right along with ensuring we have a well-vetted community of members. All of our members must produce five forms of verification – phone number and professional email at account setup, one verified social media account and credit card at booking, and one photo ID at check-in. Members must pre-approve pairings before the reservation is complete.”
He further says that instead of sharing a room with complete stranger, you’d be sharing the space with someone that has undergone screening and is accountable for his/her actions. He further said, “Room-sharing isn’t for everyone – or all the time. We get it. We personally wouldn’t want to share a room with someone who we wouldn’t click with either. Winston appeals to the growing segment of consumers who are comfortable and familiar with the sharing economy and operate on a self-funded travel budget.”
The company as of now is taking membership applications and a number of people have signed up, mostly aged 20-35 years old.