With almost 10,000 luxury homes worldwide already on its books, a US-based global home exchange that's taken the sharing economy to the international luxury home market, is gathering momentum Down Under.
THIRDHOME Business Development Senior VP Roger Conner said the company was preparing for a national blitz during the upcoming holiday season, when they'll be scouring the nation for the best privately-owned homes, particularly in tourism hot spots like south-east Queensland, Tasmania and the West Coast.
"We see tremendous opportunity to add significantly more members and homes in Oceania locations, which are in very high demand by luxury travellers around the world," Mr Conner said.
"We have a list of top hotspots to check out, but we're also putting it out there to Australia to show us a few hidden gems," he said.
THIRDHOME was founded in 2010 by one of America's top resort real estate development executives, entrepreneur Wade Shealy, who recognised major opportunity after the global recession to help owners whose properties had lost significant value tap into a new concept at the time, the 'sharing economy'.
He found that regardless of how wonderful his clients' second homes were, after a few years they were ready to try somewhere else.
"Home exchange was the answer, and THIRDHOME was born," Mr Conner said.
The club membership is comprised of like-minded individuals whose homes have an average value of $2.2 million. Each home must meet high-quality standards including location in a desirable area, luxury furnishings and amenities. Those accepted simply offer unused time in their home for other members to reserve, earning them travel credits - referred to as Keys - which they then can use to reserve time in other homes in 93 different countries, without paying rent.
"We have evolved into a community driven by a desire for options, however we're also all looking for more value. THIRDHOME brings the two ideas together, giving owners the chance to leverage their holiday homes to enhance their lifestyle and travel the world at a fraction of the cost," he said.
Technology has made it more accessible and economical than ever for people to participate in the sharing economy trend. THIRDHOME believes the luxury market shouldn't be any different.
"So many people in this demographic want to extract additional value from their second homes but are quite hesitant to list them on a public platform and hope for the best.
"We've created a concept that enables people in this demographic to leverage their unused time to create virtually endless possibilities for luxury, global travel," he said.
Members describe their experience with THIRDHOME by saying it provides an opportunity to travel in a way that is safe and unique. Many tell us it has changed the way they travel, perhaps pushing them out of their comfort zone to visit new destinations and try new experiences.
"And we believe the time is right to open this up even further within the Australian market," he said.