Savvy Surf Travelers Prefer Unique Places To Stay (and Why You Should To)

Funky Cottage Live Swell Surf Trip Raglan NZ

How people travel and stay today is changing dramatically, have you noticed?  If not, its totally cool, but you may be missing out.

“The only thing that is constant is change.” ― Heraclitus

For example, companies like Airbnb and SurfBreakRentals, both online platforms that allows users to list, rent and find lodging are growing in popularity everyday.

Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries” is Airbnb’s tag line.  Renting unique places from local hosts is accurate, yet this concept is not new, it is a resurrected concept applied to today’s society that leverages modern technology.  As a caveat –  it is certainly a concept not for everyone and that is OK.  If you, like us, agree that unique places to stay and like-minded hosts can add a lot of value to a travel experience to beach towns, keep reading.

Why Savvy Surf Travelers Choose Surf Rentals

It’s important to take a quick look and understand why travelers in general are choosing alternative accommodations.

Since the start of the Digital Revolution and Information Age our societies have been changing faster than ever before, we are all witness to this, long gone are the days of rotary phones and most groms would have difficulty operating 8-tracks players.  Among a myriad of applications, our smart phones allow us to access the internet at lightening fast LTE speeds, send e-mail, deposit checks, scan documents, check the surf report, record video’s & share them instantly, light up dark spaces and snapchat for a goof.

This was our bag load of whelks, set up at the Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow OBX

This was our bag load of whelks, set up at the Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow OBX.   Local insight goes a long way for guests seeking unique experiences.

The Information Age has been a catalyst in increased market efficiencies and in the ability to connect with others, setting the stage for the rise of the “Shared Economy” aka “Collaborative Consumption.”

In a society like ours, the information industry facilitates the process where individuals can explore their personal wants, like renting a room in a surf town in San Diego or hiring a personal driver with UBER.

As a result, the decision making process is simplified for transactions and lowers costs for both the providers and consumers via more direct connection.

We realize that may sound like a mouth full, here is the break down:

In the 1990’s people got comfortable online, in the 2000′ people started to connect online and today people are taking the online connection offline. For many reasons….here are a few key ones;

1.  Harsh current economic realities, travel can be expensive, in the sharing economy the per person travel costs are lowered for travelers

1a. Offering space for rent (as a host), both in primary residence and second homes, has helped people looking to earn extra income cope with the harsh economic realities, by becoming micro-entreprenuers almost overnight.  It has empowered and helped people, avoid losing their homes to foreclosure, job loss and for some it can mean the creation of an additional income stream to exit the rat race, we refer to these people as Savvy Beach Bums  — their main motivation is usually lifestyle freedom.  

2. “Shared Space” & “Vacation Rentals” offer more value, space and amenities then their main competitor, hotels.  Try requesting a full private backyard and grill, modest living area, fully equiped kitchen and multiple bedrooms at a hotel for the same price as one room.  Good luck.  Guest see more privacy and value with short term rentals.

3. Added “Social Value” – Social Value refers to the additional value a host can provide to a guest as a result of their local expertise and knowledge of a destination – after all they do own a property there and must have loved something about the location, could that make an impact on your experience?

Airbnb’s concept is really not novel or new – as mentioned a bit earlier, in fact “staying with strangers” is the oldest form of traveling.  Its how folks traveled in the old days, yet as our society became more complex and crowded and people had less time and vehicles, like the internet, to connect.  Clearly that is no longer the issue today, yet when folks plan a trip they are conditioned to thing of traditional accommodations, like hotels.  Some features of hotels are great yet they do come with some problems and limitations….

The problem with hotels on surf trips

  • Less authentic & unique experience
  • Feels like a tourist – not like a local experience
  • Less affordable (per room hotels can be more costly)
  • Typically uninspiring & unhelpful staff
  • Lack of space and privacy – sometimes you feel packed in like a sardine
  • Lots of “nickel and diming”  corporate policies – like $10/day for internet access
  • Lack of normal home amenities (fridge, kitchen, yard, living area, public amenities)

Just to be clear, we are not suggesting, short term rentals are a perfect solution, but they are better than no solution and Savvy Beach goers realize this and have been open to giving it a try……and yes even these type of accommodations have concerns as you will see shorty, keep reading.

After participating as guests at various types of short term rentals and developing relationships with awesome hosts,  we decided to participate as hosts ourselves and purchased the Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow OBX in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow OBX 2016 Reno

Chill Beach and Surf Bungalow in Kill Devil Hills OBX

At first we thought it would be awesome to host just our friends and family, but later realized the potential could be so much more by sharing it with cool folks, like us, seeking a local experience in a rad surf destination.  It has been an opportunity to share our unique bungalow along with the local experience at one of the best surf towns of the Outer Banks.

Despite, all the positives and growth in the “Shared Space” and “Vacation Rental” space there are some challenges;

We have seen and know firsthand as the short term rental and shared space industry continues to grow in popularity and become more socially accepted, more folks will decide to participate from both the guest and host sides, yet this type of experience is not for everyone.  One big concern with connecting guests and hosts is the different “world views” they may have.  One of the worst feelings during a stay is a host and guest “energy mismatch” as a consequence of a different worldview.  We have experienced this energy mismatch as both hosts and guests.

Everyone has a different perspective and expectation for what creates their ideal vacation or getaway, that is okay.  We believe by better connecting guests and hosts with similar world views, it adds an element of “social value” takes the surf travel experience to the next level.

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