So you’ve bought that fancy second home, and you’ve spent a few vacations in it, and now, well, you’re bored.
Is your vacation home boring you?
That’s what ThirdHome founder Wade Shealy found he was hearing the most. The one-time Hilton Head real estate agent started the company to address a common complaint he kept getting — that after five years or so, people wanted to vacation elsewhere, but also wanted to continue enjoying the benefits of owning the roof they were sleeping under.
The concept was simple — join a network of fellow vacation homeowners, and trade stay. Shealy started the company in 2010, and by 2020, more than 11,000 properties in almost 100 countries are available to members.
To be on the ThirdHome platform, you have to own a high-end second home. Being on the platform allows members to stay in other members’ homes all over the globe without paying anything more than the small exchange fee.
“The Exchange element is simple – when members join, their home is assessed and assigned a Key value based on several factors, including how much the home is worth, desirability of location, and if it rents, weekly rental rates,” the company explained.
To earn stays elsewhere, property owners deposit a couple of weeks into the platform and earn travel credits called “Keys.” The number of keys a member can earn depend on how desirable the time they’ve offered up in their own home — the more desirable the time of year, the more keys you can earn.
The concept has intrigued many, because of the way it has avoided some of the issues that Airbnb and other companies have faced.
“The company has skirted the regulatory issues that have plagued Airbnb due to the fact that no actual money is changing hands between homeowners,” said The Skift’s Colin Nagy. “Moreover there’s a revenue model that can scale.”
For members that wish to also earn rental income on their homes, but want something a little different from Airbnb Luxe, ThirdHome also offers a rental program. Members in the exchange pay no commission or listing fees for sharing their home on the rental website, and there is a comprehensive screening for all guests.
Due to the popularity of the exchange and rental programs, the company added Thirdhome Adventures that create small-group luxury trips with set dates and itineraries, and My Private Adventures, for those looking for perhaps travel with just family and friends.
And just in case the Thirdhome exchange isn’t exclusive enough, the company also just launched a Reserve level for properties valued at over $5 million. Often the homes also come equipped with a staff and more amenities. Becoming a member of the Reserve is by invitation only.
“The Reserve came about from members who loved the concept of Thirdhome and of a private home exchange, but felt like they wanted even more exclusivity on who would be staying in their homes,” Shealy told the Robb Report. “Additionally, they wanted to know that the homes they would have access to exchange with were equitable to their own,” which, if rented on the open market, “can go upwards of $25,000-$50,000 a week.”
Accordingly, the homes in the Reserve collection have an average value of $5 million (with some coming in at $50 million), and often come with staff, lots of bells and whistles and unique design elements. All bookings are handled by the Reserve team, and becoming a member of the Reserve is by invitation only.