After the question of how we’re different than Couchsurfing, the next most common question I receive is how Horizon is different than AirBnB. Given both help travelers find a place to stay while traveling, it’s a perfectly valid question.
The core difference is that AirBnB is focused on places to stay, while Horizon is focused on people (to stay with).
There are many hospitality exchange networks, but AirBnB doesn’t happen to be one of them. AirBnB is a peer to peer accommodation marketplace allowing individuals to monetize their couches, rooms, or homes by renting to anyone with an AirBnB profile and credit card. When you pay to stay at someone’s house, it’s a fundamentally different transaction and experience than staying at someone’s home for free. As a paying guest, your expectations are higher. As a host, there is more pressure to live up to those expectations. There was a recent article in The Guardian about this exact topic.
Virtually everyone hosts out of town friends and family from time to time, but they aren’t hosting for money. They are hosting because they want to spend time with people they care about, help their friends, and have great social experiences (deeper dive on incentives here). Horizon facilitates hospitality exchanges within existing trusted communities. Community is different for everyone. For many, community is family. For others, it’s a mix of family, friends, and like-minded connections. We allow you to host only people from your trusted community in your home (rather than anyone willing to pay), and give the option for those travelers to say thank you by donating to a charity of choice.
As I recently wrote, the best experiences (when traveling solo) have little to nothing to do with the specifics of accommodations, and everything to do with the connection with the people. We built Horizon for those who place more importance on the connection and friendship, than on the details of accommodation.