The Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall put it so well when he wrote the lyrics “the rooms in these hotels are the same around the world”. Hotels, particularly big hotels, tend to be much of a muchness wherever you go these days, offering plenty of comforts and consistency but little in the way of atmosphere or local flavour.
Enter hotel alternatives, a rapidly growing sector aimed at those who want to have a taste of living like a local rather than a visitor. Companies offering travellers the opportunity to stay in real homes and apartments are popping up all over the place and say they are doing a roaring trade with Australian travellers.
The New York-based Roomorama, which has just announced a merger with competitor Lofty.com to become a leading provider of short-term accommodation, says Australians have become its second biggest market, just behind the US. The site launched in Australia last year and now offers more than 1500 alternative accommodation options around Australia, along with its overseas offerings.
Another website, onefinestay.com, which is currently limited to London but preparing to launch in other world cities, also puts Australia in second place for usage. The point of difference with these websites and others like them is… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)