Short-term rental sites such as Airbnb can save you a few bucks on your lodging costs, but now a Seattle marketing producer has created an online company that may cut your hotel bills in half.
The catch? You have to share your hotel room with a stranger.
Bryon Shannon, who founded the Winston Club in November, said he created the website so that travelers who are visiting the same town can split the cost of a hotel room. Joining the club is free, and you get to accept or reject the roommate that the club chooses for you, based on biographical information provided by club members.
Winston Club makes its money by collecting a share of the room charge just as do other hotel booking sites. So far, the club has agreements to operate in hotels in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Shannon declined to say how many travelers have used the Winston Club so far.
Although saving money is the primarily goal of club members, he said many members join to make friends or meet new travel companion. The service is popular, he said, with business travelers, especially self-employed workers or owners of startup companies who are on a tight budget.
"We've noticed that business travel is one of the loneliest things," Shannon said. "It's a great option for people who are frustrated by that."