[Credit: Trustr]

Trustr launches recommendations-based STR marketplace

US: Trustr has announced the launch of a “first-of-its-kind” vacation rental marketplace that is designed to enable property owners and renters that know each other to book and share recommendations for listings that they own, or have vetted and stayed at themselves.

Co-founded by serial entrepreneurs and seasoned executives Bill Cummings and Brent Hieggelke, Trustr claims to be the first travel platform that combines the dependability of word-of-mouth with the scale of established social circles making it easier to find or share great places to stay. It is booking platform-agnostic, allowing both renters and property owners to benefit from trusted connections.

Prior to starting Trustr, Hieggelke co-founded and was CEO of vacation rental startup Second Porch, which was acquired by HomeAway [now Expedia]. Meanwhile, Cummings’ career has focused on developing innovative and compelling solutions to challenging and painful problems in many industries including luxury goods, building materials, supercomputing, and healthcare supply chain.

The new startup helps property owners by making their homes available to private guest lists or broader circles of people that they know and trust, therefore giving them complete control over who knows about their property, who can access their detailed listing, and who can stay there.

For renters, Trustr gives them the opportunity to book properties that their friends, family and colleagues and have seen firsthand and recommend, without relying on anonymous, inflated or fake reviews.

Bill Cummings, co-founder and CEO of Trustr, said: “Reviews are so much more useful when you know something about who wrote them, what their taste is, and how they like to travel. And as our world becomes increasingly automated and AI-driven, the appetite for, and peace of mind provided by recommendations from real people that you trust is only going to increase.”

Brent Hieggelke, co-founder and CMO of Trustr, said: “Most second homes are purchased primarily to enjoy with family and friends, so they are very personal, and are usually not regarded as investment or rental properties. Yet since most of them also sit empty 10-11 months a year, many second home owners would be open to sharing or renting them, but only to people that they know and trust.

“Trustr is the first platform built for these owners — allowing them to create a listing visible only to their curated guest list, which provides the peace of mind they need to share and rent their property,” he added.

Cummings and Hieggelke co-founded Trustr after booking “disappointing” places, before later discovering friends had great recommendations for better places to stay. At the same time, they also heard about the large number of second home owners who were underutilising their properties because they did not want to rent to strangers.

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