The catch with Kindred is that it’s not actually free, which is theoretically the main point of house-swapping. Membership costs USD $300 per year, plus guests also pay a cleaning fee of about $250 (or more) and up to $35 per night in service fees to the platform. The host sees none of this money. Plus, you have to have a whole house on offer to participate, which means the most likely beneficiaries of house-swapping—cash-strapped Millennials and Gen-Z-ers living with housemates—aren’t eligible for the service unless they can convince all the housemates to skip town at the same time.
Even still, the market appears ripe for exploration. So far this year, LoveHomeSwap and HomeExchange—two other swap platforms—have announced 76 percent and 181 percent increases in swaps and daily exchanges over the previous year, respectively.
Kindred’s co-founder told Skift earlier this year that rental platforms like Airbnb are too commercialized for the individual user who doesn’t want their actual, lived-in home to become inventory.
“Airbnb and VRBO have increasingly professionalized their supply,” Justine Palefsky told Skift. “By and large, their inventory is coming from full-time investment homes,” she said. “People aren’t comfortable joining Airbnb or a similar company with their primary residence as it’s become more professionalized. That’s where it started, but (now) it’s not where the host lives day-to-day.”