Travelisfree wrote an article a week or so ago regarding Trampolinn, a French-based home sharing network, similar to AirBnB. Unlike AirBnB, the active currency is points rather than money. You can easily earn points just by signing up, and could buy a set of 3500 points for as low as $99 euros (for reference, you could get a nice apartment in an ideal city location for around 400 points). It looked like an incredible opportunity for us travel hackers. I tried it out, and my experience shows that it sucks.
The Trampolinn website is a little finicky. It often glitches out, and takes some time to make it work property. Once you get it to work, sign up is relatively quick, and if you list your property on the system, along with some additional information sharing, you can get 1300 points. When you list your property, you can make it “unavailable” for as long as you wish – I did so until 2020.
Browsing the site, there are some really amazing properties available, at a stunning value. Here are some examples in Paris and Rome, both downtown locations. The points cost is a per-night reflection. Considering that you get 1300 points for signing up, and can buy 3500 points for 99 euros, this reflects amazing value:
Stunning, eh? If this worked, I would never stay in hotels (unless it’s on an IHG BRG ;P). This would make travel incredibly cheap, and I could actually afford to live on the road 24/7, 365-days a year.
To book the units, you have to submit a request to the property owner. The property owner lists their availability.
The worst part about Trampolinn is finding a willing host. There are about 80 properties listed in Paris (using a general view – there may be more if you drill down the map). If you filter it by those properties showing any availability, that list goes down to 11. Further, of those 11, many only show a few days for the entire year, and almost everything is last minute.
And even those apartments that show availability, seem impossible to actually get. I submitted 5 requests for units that showed as available. 4 people never got back to me, and 1 person cancelled:
What do I think about this? It’s a cool idea. Theoretically, you can get amazing value out of Trampolinn. Properties are dirt cheap, and some beautiful units are listed. However, actually getting the property is an extremely difficult experience. I have a feeling that most listings are forgotten by the owners. The value proposition to a property owner is basically zilch, so I can’t blame them.
If Trampolinn created more of a binding process, and if they kicked non-committed property owners of the system, this could be a good alternative to AirBnB. As it is, even if I got a rental approved on the system, I would be way too wary of it falling through last-minute and being left without a place to stay.
In conclusion, Trampolinn sucks. The idea is great, but it just doesn’t work. I was really excited when Travelisfree posted about it. I am taking a trip with my family to France soon, and this could have saved us oodles of money. But it didn’t do anything but waste my time.